Monday, May 6, 2013

Fear and Trust, Part 1

I just had one of those times when God shows you over the course of several days and in several ways that He is trying to get your attention and teach you something. If I can just be smart enough to learn the lesson.

I've been mildly freaked out about having a baby since I was 4 years old when my mother caught me crying and got me to admit that I didn't want to ever have a baby because it would "hurt". She comforted me by telling me I didn't have to have one if I didn't want to. That solved that for quite a few years. Of course, I probably got the fear from overhearing her description of birth at some point in the first place. Be careful what you say around small children; they don't miss much!

When I was pregnant the first time, I immediately worried about labor. Would I be able to handle it? I was determined to avoid pain relief for fear of the complications it can bring about, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle it. I never once worried about anything going wrong in an intervention-free labor. I never once worried I would have a c-section. I was healthy, exercised, ate well, and was low risk in every way I knew of.

A week before my due date, we discovered the baby was breech. There went all my plans for a home-birth. I was having a c-section unless the baby turned. Two days later, I went into labor, and, 7 hours later, when the doctor finally showed up, had my abs cut open and my child lifted out, quite safely, but unnaturally and without any participation from me, either physically or emotionally.

No big deal, right?. People have c-sections all the time.Wrong. I was emotionally detached from the experience and experienced a year of postpartum depression in which I was numb. I operated mechanically, but felt very little motherly affection for my child. She didn't really feel like my child. I didn't feel like I gave birth to her. I was pregnant, then I wasn't. I felt violated, but none of that even registered for the whole first year. I just thought that this whole motherhood thing was sure not what it was cracked up to be...It was just hard. Frustrating. Exhausting. Difficult.

I processed it and healed a little bit when I realized I had been suffering from PPD and had been traumatized to some degree by the birth experience.However,  that whole second year I was scared stiff of doing it again. What if I had to suffer all that emotional detachment again? What if I had another disappointing birth experience?

Then God stepped in. Well, maybe I let Him in. During that second year I also went through an intense period of dealing with fear, not in relation to birth, but other things, mostly unreasonable, but real fear, nonetheless. I knew God was trying to show me that I was not TRUSTING Him. In the midst of it, I knew perfectly well, that this is what I needed to learn to do. I learned  a few things about faith at a deeper level. Faith is not about 'feeling' something. It is not even about feeling like you are trusting. It is just about trust God IN SPITE of emotions that say otherwise.

Still, although I wanted another baby to be on the way, I was sick with anxiety at the thought. One month, I literally spent three mornings sick with anxiety, thinking I was pregnant. I wasn't, apparently... but the experience showed me just how scared I really was. The next month, I literally made a willful decision, in the face of the familiar emotions of fear and anxiety, to go ahead and try, rather than avoid as I had been doing for the whole last year. I positively could not let fear drive me any longer. I knew it was not right, but, boy, was I scared!

Sure enough, I got pregnant, and this time, I had zero anxiety. None. I knew that God had this one in His hands. I had left it there when I made the decision to get pregnant in the face of my fear and with all my emotions absolutely NOT wanting to do it. God was blessing that decision.

No comments:

Post a Comment