Grace, acceptance, release


Yesterday I burned my journals.

Decades of stories that I no longer remember; sadness that I’ve long since healed; struggles I still work to overcome. It felt symbolic, doing this on Mother’s Day. As the pages fluttered in the flames I caught glimpses, memories. And then they were gone.

The grace and acceptance we give our children is a gift we rarely give ourselves. And these were stories I didn’t need to retell. Stories that I’m ready to thank and let go of. They shaped me, but I don’t need to carry their weight any longer. Grace. Acceptance. Release.

I also recycled a beautiful baby book with lovely prompts like “our midwife“; “our homebirth story”; and “family bed”. I had desperately wanted to pour myself into those pages as I had into my teen journals, but never did. And those mostly empty pages left me feeling a twinge of inadequacy every time I saw them for 16 years. Unlike my youthful journals, there wasn’t space on these beautiful pages for my struggles and my grief. For motherhood in all of its complexity. So it was cathartic to finally let it go.

With it went a weight of old ideas of the perfect vision I once held for what motherhood would be. Because in truth, it was harder than anything I’d ever done. Especially those early days! And I didn’t have the capacity to write down milestones when I was simply trying to keep my head above the surface.

Another release. Another long overdue Mother’s Day gift to myself.

The second baby book I released yesterday was empty as well. This one was free of guilt, because after the first I had no false expectations that I’d pen even a word. We added this one to our “cutter bin” for art projects. Transform awaits.

Today, my sense of self is not defined by who I was, or the assumptions and mistakes I’ve made along the way. My quality of motherhood is measured not in my perfection (nor in a predetermined collection of milestones lovingly penned for posterity) but in my unconditional love; in tenderness and laughter; in presence and apologies.

So here’s to embracing our own messy truths, to letting go of what no longer serves us. Here’s to grace and forgiveness and the messy magic of our own imperfections.


3 thoughts on “Grace, acceptance, release

  1. Jackie Clawson says:

    Thank you. I think I’m ready to do this myself. Had not thought about it in quite awhile and previously feared I would regret the loss. Your motivation is beautifully expressed.

  2. Eva says:

    Thank you Rachel, as always deep truth and wisdom beautiful expressed! I am sure many of us moms needed to read this. I myself am also working on embracing my imperfect motherhood and releasing what doesn’t serve me or our family despite of what much of the world around may think. It’s being a heck of a journey…but well worth it! 🙂

  3. Joan in California says:

    I did the same thing! Your blog post said everything (EVERYTHING) I felt when I burnt all my journals and even the baby books! Your post healed the quiet and private guilt I had felt for some time . Thank you dear one!

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