Wednesday, April 22, 2009

20 weeks, 6 days: The Journey Continues

I realized as I awoke this morning that this month (or possibly last month) marks the four-year anniversary of our introduction into the childbearing world. What an incredible, varied, tumultuous time it has been! And it started so simply, so naively: "Hey, hon - Laura's having a baby; looks like fun, want to have one too?" "Sure, why not?" And off we blithely went, with no clue of what was before us, spiritually or physically or emotionally.

We started off with the ups and downs of a first pregnancy followed by an eight-week miscarriage. Then hardly had we recovered from both that and our move that summer when I found myself pregnant again, and had two weeks of divinest bliss before we were plunged head-first into the hellish world of hyperemesis which became our existence, waking and sleeping, for the greater part of the next year. Then the life-changing experience of natural birth, followed by the boot camp of breastfeeding, baby care and parenting (all 100% new to us) - and now we're doing it again! (Thankfully, though, without hyperemesis again!!! Thank you, God, and thank you, Zofran!!)

Along the way I discovered one of my life's greatest passions - working with and promoting homebirth midwifery and natural birth. I've discovered Phoenix's birth community and am loving every minute of it. I've experienced my greatest triumph in life - childbirth. And I've also had the greatest spiritual struggle of my existence - dealing with the fall-out of post-hyperemesis, a journey that is still on-going.

Who would have guessed that all of that would come from, "Hey, hon! Want to have a baby?" My goodness!

Did anyone else experience this?

I was talking with a dear friend of mine the other day.... We both began our exploits into childbearing at about the same time. Ours led to the above, and hers has led to the discovery of permanent infertility. She and her husband have had just as tumultuous a journey as we have, spiritually and physically, but in a completely different way. It's interesting how God hand-selects the journey for the person. And I had a thought which I shared with her - that being, that I don't believe HG would have bothered her spiritually as much as it bothered me (because she is very focused on the end-goal of children), and vice versa with infertility for me (as I'm not the overwhelmingly maternal type). God specifically chose the path for each of us that would bring us to spiritual crisis, and thereafter to a deeper faith. Not pleasant, but possibly comforting. Thoughts, anyone?

I have also been surprised to learn that spiritual journeys (from rebellion/despair/anger/etc. to deeper faith) are not the work of days or weeks - they are the work of months and years. When I hear people give testimonies, they generally say, "God gave me cancer and I was upset, but then I decided to trust him and never doubted him again!" For me, at least, that's not how it works... and I suspect for many other people as well. Things take time, and spiritual things take LOTS of time.

As a side note, I find it interesting how birth and hyperemesis contrast through the lens of time. Immediately post-birth, I could not settle the debate within myself of which (birth or HG) I would choose to go through again if I had to choose one. HG had been suffering, and birth had been pain - and I couldn't pick. But now, having some distance from both of them, the thought of another birth is of cheerful excitement and planning, while the thought of repeat HG fills me with the deepest fear, something akin to panic. It's interesting how they've sorted themselves out in the three years since I experienced them.

Anyhow, I feel like a completely different person from who I was before this journey started. I have a different type of faith, different interests, different pursuits, a different knowledge-base.... Everything has changed. I don't think I can say that about any other period in my life. Who knew that adulthood could be so shattering? My world-view conceptualization has always been that character development, etc., developed until high school graduation and then were pretty set for life. Ha! It seems to be quite the reverse. But if the first 10-years post high school have had this in store for me, what about the next ten? Or twenty? Or forty? An interesting thought.

I'll do a proper update next time. Love to all!

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