a beginning

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I wrote briefly about my choice to give birth naturally twice, without pain medication, over a year ago after giving birth to Elsa. I never did post it when I wrote it because, well, it's kind of intense.

I could point you to research about the health of the mother and baby, about labor times and c-section rates, but if I'm being honest, there is more to it. I found my answer deep in my gut, in the strength of all the mothers who came before me. I needed to meet my maker in an open field and will my baby into this world. Scream and grunt and cry my way into motherhood. I wanted to look my baby in the eye and tell her that I would go to the ends of the earth for her and know it was true. Because I did.

It strikes me that I couldn't write with that intensity today. I am too removed from childbirth, a year later, to feel that kind of raw emotion about it. It's just not in me anymore.

It's both good and bad that our memories soften with time. We simply cannot carry all of it with us, and wouldn't want to. But there are lessons in each stage: pregnancy, childbirth, the first couple months, the first couple years. I want to leave a record of this life while in the thick of it. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share thoughts on parenting the first year, while it's still fresh. I'm not an expert, but I've given this mothering thing a lot of thought, and maybe I have some insights worth sharing. And there are so many special parts of the beginning that I don't want to forget.

If you have older children, what aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and the first year of parenting have stayed with you, and what memories are fading? I'd love to hear.