It's miraculous. It's marvelous. It brings me to my knees. I feel closer to God when I see my children play, when I really stop and breathe it in. That we get to be part of bringing forth life, that we get to be part of shaping and molding little people....is wondrous.
I am undeserving of the joys of motherhood.
But then there are also sorrows of motherhood. You see, bringing forth life, from my body, is very hard. Everything about the journey of becoming a mother demands so much of me physically that I often wonder how we've done this 4 times over. Over 1200 injections, 36 months of pregnancy, more than 72 hours of labor, 2 bouts of postpartum thyroiditis, 1 bout of liver hepatitis, 4 major surgeries and 2 incision complications later...
I wish I could say I was braver for it. I wish I could say that I was stronger for it. But most often I have felt scared and weak. This last time has been beyond challenging.
I wanted so badly to have my babies without major surgery. And this last time was no exception. I drank the teas and made the appointments. I did the physio, the exercises, booked the doula, stayed fit and maintained my posture. I read the books, I talked to every working professional, did the extra ultrasounds and prayed harder than ever. "O God, would you do the impossible this time. Please, would you change my story. Please can I avoid the pain and difficulty of a C-section recovery this time?"
I accepted the risks. I made the plans. I hoped for the best. I dreamt of the impossible.
And my miracle birth didn't happen.
For many of you, you might not understand the grief I must carry with my births. But for any of you who have hoped and dreamed for something, that you will never have, you do understand.
The question is, is God to be trusted? Is He faithful? When you pray, step out and have faith, and trust Him completely with an impossible hope, what do you do when things don't go as you envisioned or expected or hoped for?
You see, I will never know and always question if I did all I could do to have my babies naturally. I will question if I had been just a little bit stronger, if I was just more pain tolerant, if I had pushed the limits more and just 'held on,' might I have gotten my heart's desire? It might even always feel difficult sharing around a table with other moms and hearing about their birth stories. I might always feel a bit left out, weak, and not 'womanly' enough.
But, like a rushing wind, like the rising sun, truth comes roaring in and I see with my spirit what I cannot see with my flesh. What if, what looks like pain and difficulty, is actually God's grace to me? What if, what the Bible says is indeed true and God is always good, always faithful, and always sovereign? What if I believed it for real?
We named little baby Naomi with the middle name Eliana. And it means "my God has answered." That name was ringing in my head for weeks before she was born, before her birth happened. Is it any less true if the outcome was different than I hoped? The thing is, I cannot see completely, what He can see.
If I trusted God with the outcome, and believed His best for me no matter what, then my response to her birth should ever be "Praise God." Who knows what the outcome would have been if I tried longer to have her naturally. She might not be here today. I might not be.
The death of my dream might be the reason my babies are alive. It might be the reason I have children at all.
And I wonder at what it means to have faith. It's so easy for little seeds of lies to take root in my heart that say "God isn't for me" and "God is not good" and "God has better plans for others than me."
But the Bible says in Psalms 25:10 "All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful."
As an anchor to the soul, in these times of my life, I must cling to that truth. That God is always loving. That He is always faithful. That His heart towards me is good and He will never let me down.
And so, with tears welling and a big shovel, I must bury my desire for a 'natural birth.' I will grieve my story, but I will celebrate it at the same time. Joy and sorrow meet at the cross where what appears to be a perfect tragedy is actually a tremendous victory. I will choose faith instead of doubt. That my story is, as it is, for a reason. A good reason, which I may never know.
Naomi's other middle name is Renae which means "reborn." It too was a name chosen in faith. Perhaps her birth will be a new birth for me as I reflect on this journey of motherhood- its sacrifices, its lessons, and what it has revealed about who God is. He is unchanging. He is always good. He is always for me, even when my dreams die, He is still faithful.
Her name will always be a reminder for me that with the death of dreams, comes life in Christ. As I surrendor, as I let go of my expectations and embrace what actually IS, only then can I live fully and most alive, in Him.