I grew up watching the Fresh Prince of Bel Air so pretty much anytime Will Smith pops up on my Facebook feed, I click. (Also, I happen to live near West Philadelphia, so you know, there’s a lot of theme song singing. My husband finds me hysterical.)
The last time I clicked on a Will Smith video, he was telling a story about when he went skydiving. He had made the decision to go with his friends, and then spent the whole night and morning leading up to it terrified, envisioning all the things that could go wrong.
When he was finally up in the plane, the guide explained that they would jump on the count of three. “One… two…” except they push you out on “two” because everyone throws their arms out and stops themselves at “three.” So before he knew it, he was flying.
And he found it to be absolutely amazing.
He said, “The point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. It’s bliss. The lesson for me was, why were you scared in your bed the night before? What do you need that fear for? You’re nowhere even near the airplane. Everything up to the stepping out, there’s actually no reason to be scared. It only just ruins your day… the best things in life [are] on the other side of [fear].”
Motherhood is skydiving.
If someone came up to you one day and said, “Hey. I have this job for you. You are going to grow a human in your body, kind of like it’s an alien. And then that human is going to come out of your body—and that process is really intense. And then the human will be really helpless and you will have to turn it into a fully functioning adult with an important place in this world. Okay… go!”
You’d smile politely and
walk run away as fast as you could.
Because if you think about it, the idea of doing all of that—motherhood—is pretty terrifying. The amount of responsibility and work is sort of incomprehensible.
The grand scheme of motherhood is scary.
The thing is, though, that the grand scheme of motherhood is actually made up of millions of tiny moments in which you will be a total boss.
Whether it’s a jump-out-of-the-plane moment, or a get-the-toddler-out-of-the-car-seat moment, you will face it with bravery.
Remember, being brave isn’t the absence of fear, it’s being afraid and doing it anyway.
Being brave is taking a pregnancy test—and seeing that it’s positive. Or seeing that it’s negative, again.
Being brave is waiting for the adoption agency to call you and tell you that she’s here.
Being brave is watching your body change in a hundred ways, and lovingly rubbing your belly as it does.
Being brave is giving your body over to the process of bringing your baby into the world—yes, even if you cry, or complain, or cry and complain. You’re still brave. Promise.
Being brave is bringing that baby home for the first time. Oh, so much bravery needed for that one.
Being brave is giving that first bath, going to that first pediatrician visit, spending that first full day at home, alone, with the baby,
Being brave is your first day back at work—or making the phone call to tell them you won’t actually be coming back at all.
Being brave is ignoring all the noise around you, and parenting your child the way youknow is best for your family.
Being brave is letting go of her hands when she takes her first steps.
Being brave is sitting next to her and smiling when you’re in the emergency room for croup—and then sobbing when you get home.
Being brave is bringing her to her first day of school—and going home without her.
Being brave is saying “yes” to her first sleepover and “no” to her first car.
Being brave is hugging her the first time her heart breaks, when your heart might possibly hurt even more than hers does.
Being brave is listening quietly when she tells you she plans to “travel the world.”
Being brave is bringing her to her first day of college—and going home without her.
Being brave is watching her commit her life to another person, who is not you.
Being brave is watching her become a mother.
And one day, sweet, brave mama, you’ll look back and realize that you just jumped out of an airplane—you raised a child.
All of the things that seemed terrifyingly impossible—you just…do them. One at a time. You will wake up every day a little bit braver than the day before. And before you know it, you can look back on any aspect of motherhood and realize that little by little, you just increased your flying altitude.
Things that was seemed daunting are handled with ease. Ideas that once seemed impossible have become your reality one thousand times over.
So yes, motherhood is incredibly scary. But you are incredibly brave.
One... two... jump!
Diana is Motherly’s Digital Education Editor. She is a midwife, pediatric nurse and founder ofGathered Birth. She loves all things birth, and is passionate about empowering women to trust themselves and embrace their inner rockstar. Diana lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and 3 amazing, goofy kids.