My fears of Childbirth

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Fear. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot today. I didn’t think I was afraid of childbirth. And I guess I’m not in the traditional sense of what one might think about in terms of fearing the pain of giving birth. I don’t fear the pain.

I am actually looking forward to the sensations that my body will experience during this incredible process. I look forward to feeling the surges roll through my body and I look forward to using the skills I have been practicing for months to help me breathe through those surges in a way that embraces their coming instead of fighting against it. I look forward to the sensation of the baby moving further down in the birth canal and that pathway opening up to accommodate him. I look forward to breathing my baby down, feeling his head, knowing that any moment a new life will begin, a new person will enter this world.

I look forward to those moments when the sensations, the adrenaline, the oxytocin and all the other hormones that my body will be producing will overwhelm my senses and leave me with no other option than to completely surrender to the experience. I look forward to feeling the baby pass from my body into this world.

I can’t wait to hold him, to cuddle him in my arms, to see Joseph in him and a bit of myself as well. I can’t wait to see his skin color, his eyes, his fat little legs, his fingers and toes. I look forward to so much!

So why do I feel fear as this time approaches? I’ve been thinking through this a lot today because I feel that my fear can keep my body from functioning in the best, most effective way. Those things that i am holding on to can potentially keep me holding on to this baby longer than I need to. Tomorrow marks 40 weeks and my body is aching and tired and heavy. It’s time Preston joined the rest of the outside world.

I have a very strong belief in my body. I believe that it knows how to birth this baby. It was designed and prepared to birth this baby. But there is always the what if. What if my body fails me. What if when I depend on it the most it doesn’t function as it should. What if the dreams, beliefs and anticipations that I have looked forward to in regards to birth don’t happen for me?

The answer to that question is that it might. And I might go to a hospital and have interventions, perhaps even a C-section like thousands and perhaps even millions of other women have had. And the world won’t end. Those things that I believe will still be true it just will have not worked out that way for me…this time. And I will be ok. The only way to ever know is to try.

Another fear, and perhaps my biggest is Joseph. I know he won’t be here for the birth. Even if I could wait several more weeks, he still wouldn’t make it in time for the birth of our baby, and it wouldn’t be healthy or a good thing for any of us to try to wait. I thought I had resigned myself to that reality. We have plans to Skype him in for the birth, plans for how he can help and be a part of the process. But by having this baby now I have to give up on hope. As irrational as I know it is I was hoping that miracles would come through and that Joseph would be here to give me a hug, to comfort me when things get hard and to remind me of what I know when I am tempted to forget. I had hoped that he would surround me and our baby in his arms when Preston was born and our little family would experience that joy together in those precious first moments of life. I had hoped to see the tears in his eyes when he first became a father, to see his trembling hands as he cut the cord. 10168927_10153984629515344_1116563071_n

I wanted to watch him hold our baby and marvel at his perfect features I wanted to watch him fall asleep with the baby on his chest. I wanted him to be here for all of those first moments. The moment I give in to birth the hope of all those things is gone. How will I look him in the face so far away with no way to change his circumstances and know that he has been robbed of those precious moments that will never come again? How can I enjoy them knowing he is in Uganda alone? How can I be ok with that?

I guess its important to know that fear or not, losing hope or not, it’s still going to happen. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. This baby is going to be born, Joseph still won’t be here no matter how long I try to wait. False hope is no better than no hope. It’s also important to know (and I do) that Heavenly Father has a plan, he hasn’t forgotten us, he knows what we are facing and he doesn’t feel that this is too much or too hard for us. He will be here with us as he has been all along. I know that’s true.

And that’s all there is to say about that one.

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One final fear that I sense in myself is a fear of how this baby will change my life. Because I know it will. I will be a mother and with that title comes an eternity of overwhelming love and responsibility like I have never known. I think I am ready for it but how does when ever REALLY get ready for that.

I guess this is just another moment in life when you step over an edge, and trust that the Father who brought you this far will finish what he started. I’ve been strong, I’ve been patient, I have been faithful. I have also cried, and questioned, doubted and worried. I guess all that is left is to move forward one step in front of the other and see what this grand adventure we call life has in store for me and for my family.

I love you Joseph, I love you Preston, soon both of the important men in my life will be together in the same room and I will be able to put my arms around them both and introduce them to each other. It will be a great day.10168382_10153984682860344_1292442757_n

 

THIS is how it Should be.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately. Feeling sorry about all the things that I DON”T have. For years now I have been watching my friends and seeing all the things, and opportunities that they have and feeling bad that I haven’t had the same. I had one room-mate who got to participate in all kinds of sports and extra activities throughout college and high school. I did high school alone in my bedroom without even a teacher. Even in college I was supporting myself, working, and couldn’t afford to do anything except just what I needed to do to graduate.

I wished I had, had the same opportunity that she had through those experiences.

I had another room-mate whose parents paid to put her through all of her schooling including graduate school so that she could just focus on classes and grades. She had time to cook meals, sit at home and read books just for fun, and had a nice relaxing schedule with out the stress of worrying about how she was going to make the rent or her car payment. She had money for nice clothes and all the extras.

I wished I had, had that. But I had to accept that my past was different from theirs. My family was different from theirs. And it was ok because I had things they didn’t have. I knew my way around a kitchen because I had done so much cooking when I lived at home. I knew what if felt like to have dozens of brothers and sisters that I would do just about anything for. I had experiences and memories that were different from theirs but no less meaningful. In fact I wouldn’t have traded them for the world.

Know one else got a family like mine.

Know one else got a family like mine.

My family knows how to play together.

My family knows how to play together.

But I thought my future would be different.

One by one I watched my friends get married. They each had the beautiful wedding dresses, were married in the temple, were greeted by cheering family and friends when they came out. They had beautiful receptions and romantic honeymoons. And I thought that one day I would have all of that too.

I imagined myself marrying a handsome, return missionary, with a degree, and a good job. I imagined settling into our own home and starting a family. I imagined Sunday dinner with the in-laws who would probably get on my nerves by being a little too involved in our lives. I imagined coming out of our bathroom one morning and announcing to my husband that we were expecting a baby and seeing the surprise and joy on his face. And it didn’t seem too far out there.

Then I fell in love and got married. I got married in Uganda. No one in my family was present and none of my friends were there. We were married in a chapel instead of the temple because that is the way it is done in Uganda. The wedding, the reception, everything was beautiful and I was so happy but it was nothing like I had imagined.

After the wedding we went back to Joseph’s apartment and he went back to work. There was no honeymoon, in fact in that first week it seemed I rarely saw him before 9 pm. Next thing I knew I was squatting in a dark dingy outhouse trying to pee into a tiny dirty cup while keeping a terrified eye on the many cockroaches by the light that the small crack in the door afforded. I prayed the test would be negative. Not because I didn’t want to be pregnant but because I didn’t want to find out in this way.

“Hey!” the doc shouted from the other room. “Do you guys want to know the results of the test?” Joseph and I stood by expectantly. “It’s negative, there is nothing there.” the doctor said callously. “Now where is my money?”

Joseph paid and we left.

We found out later that we were in fact pregnant and the situation surrounding that test was much better. As I became sick and then returned home to carry the baby and prepare for its birth here I started feeling really bad about all the things that I didn’t have.

I watched my friends with their husbands and it didn’t seem fair. As the pregnancy progressed and I heard the heart beat, saw the ultra sound all with out Joseph, I felt sorry for myself. When I continued to get bigger and the weeks went by one at a time and I realized that Joseph was going to miss all of it. I wanted to cry. When we passed our six month anniversary I felt cheated. I wanted to spend my first year of marriage with my husband. I wanted him to get to experience all these things with me and I wanted time with him before our baby was born. I see my pregnant friends resting and focusing on taking care of themselves and their babies, and I am doing 13 credits of school and working trying to support myself, prepare for our baby, pay visa fees, and plan for our future on my own.

When we were denied the visitors visa and I realized that I would give birth to this baby without him and might not see him in a very long time I felt abandoned and a little angry.

But today I don’t feel any of those things. I realized today that all those things are hard because I am comparing my circumstances to others. I am looking at what other people have and assuming that somehow I deserve the same things. I realized that it’s all part of a package. I can’t demand all the same things my friends had growing up without giving up my own upbringing. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world. All the financial support and extra curricular activities in the world would never match up to what my family gave me.

You can't replace family.

You can’t replace family.

And they mean the world to me.

And they mean the world to me.

I couldn't possibly trade any of it.

I couldn’t possibly trade any of it.

The path I am walking now with Joseph comes as a package as well. Our experiences in Uganda, the sweet love letters that my husband and I write to each other on a regular basis, the strength and experience we have gained from this separation, everything about our marriage and our lives together is ours. It all comes together, the good with the bad.

Joseph and i chose to start a life together.

Joseph and i chose to start a life together.

And when you stop looking at others and thinking about what SHOULD be. You can start to see the beauty of what IS. So when I do see my husband again, and have the opportunity to place our first-born child in his arms, I will know that this is OUR experience and that THIS is how it SHOULD be.