Recently, in a shared space of sisterhood, I was asked to reflect on my definition of beauty. As the women before me delivered their responses, I immediately thought of community and the power and beauty that is created when you are surrounded by individuals who are willing to help you grow and support your needs. I had my whole answer thought out and was ready to share with the group. I bet at this point you know exactly what happened: of course the wonderful woman before me expressed the same sentiment about beauty in community. This moment brought with it a feeling of panic and knots starting to turn in my stomach. I wanted to be able to say something that no one had already shared with the group. With my hands beginning to sweat, I thought about the nature of the fear that was overcoming me. If I didn’t interact with it, this moment would be over. The openness and rawness that this space had created for all of us would lose its momentum.
Taking that all in, when it was time for me to speak, I stumbled with my words for a bit and concluded with the group that there can be beauty in fear. In situations where we are able to absorb the fear we are feeling, becoming active in being uncomfortable from the fear, experiences shift for us. We are no longer burdened by the fear. Instead we are able to see the process of that fear. In the end, we realize that working through it, beautiful and enriching things may manifest from it.
I think the same can be said about the process of parenthood. Initially when you find out that you are expecting, excitement and joy engulfs you. As the pregnancy continues, you reflect on the fact that you are accepting a new body, maybe a shift in what you are able to do, acknowledging the change this will have in your family dynamic and even thinking about what and how birthing your baby will feel like. These shifts can cause fear. Fear of the unknown. Yet if you are able to take that fear and understand that it’s all a part of the process, it allows you to see the big picture. There is no book, manual or one person who has all the answers to parenthood. Everyday is a learning experience and fear is a feeling that occurs often. Fear is there to challenge us, help us grow and humble us. And that in itself is a beautiful perspective from which to parent from.