The Pain of Childbirth???
Before McBaby #1 was born almost six years ago, my grandmother told me “life is going to get very bright”. Oh, I had no idea what I was in for. “Sito” (Arabic for grandmother), as we call her, was so right. Until you’ve come to the other side (that’s parent-speak for becoming one of us), you can’t fully know the experience of parenthood of course. Unspeakable joy, unbridled wonder, unconditional love; loads of laughter, heaps of hugs, countless cuddles.
What she didn’t share was that it would be coupled with intense darkness. I wonder often why, upon asking, none of our grandmothers seem to remember darkness. Is it me? Is it my inadequacy? I’ve landed on the fact that it must be them. (When in doubt, blame someone else…) Maybe times were simpler? Maybe demands were less? Likely, they simply have
amnesia... no wait, Gramnesia. (Wocka wocka.) Somehow, the good Lord has allowed them to forget the sleepless nights, the never-ending laundry and dishes, the worry about a sick-with-what-exactly child, and the bone-weary fatigue that comes in droves when multiple littles are at home – and none of them can wipe their own rear. For me, the darkness of post-partum anxiety and depression has fallen over me like an oppressive cloud hanging dangerously low at times. Light and dark. Isn’t this the way? The only way to truly appreciate the sun, the dawn, is to have wandered around after dusk and stumbled around through the night before?
My heart hangs heavy tonight. I am left to my own demise as all the McBabies are asleep and McHubz is upstairs reading. Me and my thoughts and the good Lord Jesus in this sacred room where children sing, toddlers play, and babies stare at their hands and find the one dangerous thing left out to put in their mouths.
As we started to talk through the specifics of our summer plans, one mention of the calendar and vacation and it’s like a game of Jenga or pick-up sticks. You move one piece and you’re nearer to collapse. No plan is an island… or something like that. We talk about the calendar and it reminds me of the looming date… August 1. The day McBaby #1 starts kindergarten. Mention summer and about 8 Jenga pieces have been pulled out simultaneously. It is heavy. I am fearful. I already grieve time without my Grandmother – playing cards, playing piano - multiple times a week. I tear up at the thought of not seeing my Jido (Arabic for Grandfather) again on this side of the thin places – baking bread, gathering around the table all the time as well. Will I have this heaviness upon sending my five-year-old-McBaby to school and miss what was for the last nearly-six years? I’m scared. And no matter-of-fact, circle-o’-life, get-your-head-out-of-the-sand, it’s-your-job-to-raise-your-child-independent-of-you, pullin’ it together talk will set me better. This is the pain of childbirth.
Genesis speaks of this pain. And I’ve alluded to it before too on blog posts. Does childbirth hurt? Duh. Does Dolly Parton float? Is the Pope Catholic? I’ve had 2 natural births. Yes, that means no drugs at all. It’s intense - yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s also why I had my 3rd with an epidural. Jury is out on what I would choose if there is a next time. Surely, that alone isn’t the pain of childbirth though. That is short-lived, relatively speaking to the scope of a lifetime. For me, right now, the pain of childbirth is watching each McBaby be reborn into a new season every time I turn around. Light and dark. Bitter and sweet. I am preparing to help birth my child into her own new season this fall and I am pregnant with the weight of it. I am unsure about the delivery of it. I am ill-equipped for the newborn state of it because I’ve never done this. This is light and this is dark. In the beginning, God created the light and the dark; every tension comes back to this dichotomy now; childbirth is one I will have to face as long as I am a mother, which is as long as I live. Come Lord Jesus into these tiny cracks and guide me as You conceive all new things.
Would you consider posting below and answering what has carried you in these transitions?