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Why Moms Can't Do It All

How 1 Snowstorm Shattered How I Saw Myself as a Mother

I'm going to say the thing that not enough mothers say about themselves: I've done a lot of things right. One of the first good decisions I made as a mother was when I decided to do a home delivery. Despite the many stories you hear about the trauma of home birth, I chose excellent midwives who saw me through a very difficult, three-day first labor.

During that first year, my husband and I made mistakes, of course, but for the most part, I rocked the entire process. Our daughter made us more confident, and the impending birth of our son brought even much joy to our family. We were pros, we thought. Until that February snowstorm hit.

The whole experience taught me the harshest of lessons about motherhood: I can't control everything.

I had no idea when I climbed into the car that fateful Winter morning that a simple visit to the midwife would end up testing my thoughts on my ability as a mother to the breaking point. While I had rocked motherhood so far, I made the bad decision that day to drive 45 minutes across town, alone and six months pregnant, with almost a foot of snow starting to fall. I chose poorly, as did my husband who let me go (and then hated himself for it). But I'd missed my last appointment and had been canceled on by one of my midwives already. I had to get there.

Once it became clear to me that this journey was going to last a while, I decided to pull over and fill all the way up (I had a half tank) and go pee. That turned out to be the best decision I made that day . . . followed by the worst.

At that same gas station, I bought a bottle of juice, a granola bar, and string cheese. See how I remember exactly what I bought four years later? Because I was idiotic to think I could get by on so little. I was extremely pregnant and hadn't eaten much before I started my drive.

I was in the car for more than eight hours that day. I did have a backup plan, which was to park and wait the storm out until morning. If the snow got too deep, an unsafe road became my only option, or if I ran out of gas, I would need to just sit tight. But none of those things happened, so I kept going.

Thankfully, nothing bad happened that day, but the whole experience taught me the harshest of lessons about motherhood: I can't control everything. Would I repeat the experience of driving through a blinding snowstorm by choice with a precious baby in my belly? No. The silver lining to learning that I'm not some invincible mother is that I learned so much more than I would have if I continued to live in a naive bubble. Yes, I am and will always be a rock-star mom, but I will always get knocked down. Now I know I can just get back up again, even in a snowstorm.

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