I learned that the wiggly child inside my belly is now at the full length she will be when born. Considering I still have nine weeks to go, I found this surprising. I guess I just thought as long as she was in there she was continuing to get bigger. Well she is, not in length but in girth. From this point forward she will be gaining weight and "thickening" up.
I have mentioned having themes for my daughter and I to explore this summer. This week's theme is Life Cycles. It will help give perspective on the garden we planted two weeks ago that is now sprouting. But also we read some fun books yesterday about the life cycles of butterflies and dogs.
Receiving this new information last night about the growth that is happening with my child inside me brought to mind images from the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My child is "bulking up" to prepare for her transition.
Butterflies have always been a beautiful symbol of rebirth to me. When they have reached their full potential in one form, they take time to "go inward" inside their chrysalis and then emerge as something completely different, new, and beautiful.
This child is preparing to emerge as the beautiful and unique expression of herself. She will have her own looks, her own personality, and her own way of interpreting the life that unfolds before her. And while I get the blessing of guiding and nurturing her through the next stage of life, I will no longer be her chrysalis that can shield her from everything.
If my other daughter has taught me anything, it is that you cannot hold on to something while it is trying to fly. I am the safe perch for her to return. I am the arms open and waiting if she falls. But she is the butterfly, the explorer testing out her own path.
There is a saying, "A mother holds her child's hand for a short while, their heart forever." There is another saying that "Being a mother is walking around with your heart outside your own body." I do not know who said either of these quotes but they ring very true to me.
I am not sad that my girls will grow up and "fly" away to create their own lives. This is what they were born to do and I wouldn't want to stop them from that beautiful opportunity. But I do hope to always be the perch they can come back to if they need reprieve.
It also reminds me the importance of my own self-care, both for myself and to model it for my girls. Unlike the butterfly that emerges once; we have the opportunity to re-emerge as many times as we need. We can recreate ourselves, readjust, and be reborn over and over to reach our full potential. And perhaps, with number two on the way, this is the perfect time for me to also do some reflecting and re-emerging.
I'm grateful for the beautiful symbolism of the butterfly. I'm grateful to be the mom of an amazing little girl who is full of adventure. I'm grateful she seems to have gotten a healthy dose of both sugar and spice. I'm grateful for all I am learning about what it means to me to be a good mom. I'm grateful to learn this new beautiful fact about the child growing inside me. I'm grateful to try to enjoy our last weeks physically connected. I'm grateful for the excitement of wondering who this new little one will be. And I'm grateful to see the importance of my own self-care as I prepare to give another piece of my heart to a child walking free in this world.
What growth cycle are you in right now? Perhaps different areas of your life are in different cycles. Which areas are needing time to go inward and which areas are ready to be reborn, emerging ready to fly?
May today support us no matter which stage of the cycle we are entering. May we know in our hearts when it is time to emerge. And may we have the courage to do so with the comfort of knowing we are supported. Have a beautiful day!