Growing Confidence (and a Baby or Two)

On some level, we all struggle with confidence. Our insecurities eat through our protective layers and find a way to make themselves seen. Insecurities can be ugly and destructive as they break down lines of defense and manifest into weird things…like pimples, stomach aches, and more importantly (and seriously) debilitating anxieties.

I’ve always had some sort of faith in myself. It’s looked different throughout my life, but I am someone who likes to tackle new things, meet new people, learn new lessons. However, I’ve also spent a decent amount of time being really unsure…about a lot of things. High school and college were easy enough. I made good grades and checked off all of my boxes but I still found myself hiding in my own shadows of doubt.

It wasn’t until I became a mom that any part of me felt like a bad ass (the one I think I always knew I was). My first pregnancy was high risk from the beginning: twin boys and weak cervix. The pregnancy, the bed rest, the rocky hospital stays were terrible, but this time of my life caused me to dig deep and find faith in myself. I had no idea what to do as a mom, but then some strange instinct kicked in and took over.

When I was 26 weeks pregnant, the doctors thought I was going to deliver our twins. I have a very distinct memory of sitting in my bed the day I was admitted into the hospital. I was in a dark room with lots of blinking lights. I was tied up to what felt like a million monitors as the nurses attempted to keep track of both babies and my contractions. Doctor after doctor entered my room and gave us the low-down. Babies born this early have a low chance of survival and a long, hard road ahead if they do. Complications and extended hospital stays would change my quality of life, and any baby (not to mention two) would surely never easily walk away from a delivery this early.

Somehow tranquility settled in that emotionally tight room. I told myself that I was ready. If these boys are born today, they need someone who knows they’ll make it and who will help them burn through every negative statistic I had been told that day. It was oddly comforting to throw on my metaphorical mom pants (because we all know I was rocking a hot hospital gown that day) and believe that I was going to take on the world for these two tiny, barely one-pound boys trying to bust out of my cervix.

Luckily, (even to my doctors’ surprise) I did not go into labor that night, and I actually stayed pregnant for seven more weeks. Can sheer determination keep a baby inside his mother? I’m sure others have willed the same in the past, and damn did I pray. Maybe it was the strict bed rest with my superhero husband as my referee. Maybe it was the team of praying family members my mother-in-law immediately lined up, or maybe it was that James (my first born) decided to get comfy and stay in a while longer (to this day he is VERY determined). When it was all said and done, my watermelon shaped body teamed up with my stubborn will and no babies were born for another month and a half.

Besides the eight minute helicopter ride to the high risk hospital, my twin delivery was nothing out of the ordinary for babies born six weeks early. Of course, I had moments of trembling panic but I was surrounded by a group of nurses and doctors who helped my confidence blossom as I became a mom for the first (and second) time.

From this day on, there was no point in looking back. I had a new, hard, but most important job. These two little boys gave me a place in the world, and taught me that if you’re going to play this game we call life, you better do it with gusto. The inspiring responsibility of creating their everyday realities and seeing life through their faultless eyes is a happiness that washes away any possible lack of confidence. How can I not look down at them and be so very sure that I am doing something right purely by the fact that they are here?

So every July 2nd when we celebrate another winsome year of our boys being earth-side, I am humbled by what their births have done to me. James and Elliot, I owe you more than you’ll ever know. Thanks for sharing your birthday with the beginning of my self-reliance.

EJ

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