Birth

A Week With My Wife – A Mother’s Day Tribute To A Warrior Of Love


The week leading up to Mother’s Day 2014 has highlighted time and time again the incredible power my wife has as a mother and the effect her strengths as a woman have outwardly beyond our children, on myself and other mothers and families and friends.

When we got married about 4 1/2 years ago, all we really knew what that we wanted to make a family and care for other people and we really wanted to do it together. God gave me perspective on how this girl who thought herself weak and incapable would become someone who would boldly encourage others to have confidence and hope against their own fears. We were young and people told us before we got married that it would be really hard. We often struggled to wade through difficult seasons of our early marriage and some friends even said that they felt like we were changing for the worse. While I knew before I married her that my wife was designed to nurture others and that growing through really hard experiences would make us both more available to care for others, it still sucks to live through the actual hardships and try to maintain the belief that it’s worth it.

In the past couple of years we have started to hit our stride a bit more. We’re coming into our own identities as a family and as individuals in a way that makes us secure enough to pour out into the lives of those around us. Here’s a quick overview of the past week to give a taste of why I’m so blown away by who my wife is becoming.

On Sunday, when she was about 42 weeks pregnant, I sobbed on my wife’s shoulder because of how strong she is and how much stronger she is becoming. This is the first time this has ever happened. If she keeps growing like she has been it probably won’t be the last. On Monday, labor started around 4pm. It lasted through the night. In the midst of the insanity of hard labor, she suggested that I go take a nap so I could be rested(!?) Tuesday morning around 5:30am, after roughly 14 hours of sleepless, emotional, physically torturous labor, my wife gave birth to our third child, our first son! On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we had countless helps from my visiting parents and friends who have dedicated themselves to making our home less stressful. Throughout this, my wife was more engaging and involved than I would have thought she should or could be. Her mind consistently went to making sure our two preschooler daughters felt like she was still interested in them. On Thursday, she started venturing out to sit in the living room. On Friday night, she started cleaning around the house again. On Saturday, she asked to go out for a drive to get some fresh air. This morning, on Mother’s Day, she was up with all three kids before I had a chance to know what was going on. She expresses worry that she won’t be able to handle three kids, but the truth is that there is no stopping this woman.

I expected her to be in bed for at least a week or two; I thought that was more than fair. She has been blessed with a pretty quick recovery, but her eagerness to get back into the game has alarmed and humbled me. She is doing things that she never thought she could do and recovering from them ready to do more. She’s pushing through all sorts of pain and she’s aware enough to be looking after the lesser needs of others. She is a seriously powerful mom.

The Tragedy Of Childbirth: If It Hurts, Embrace It


This morning, around 5:30, my wife gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. This baby ended up coming 15 days after his original due date and was born at home, my wife’s first VBAC. Mother and child are both in absolutely wonderful, if exhausted, shape.

The 14 hours or so of labor were utterly depleting, surreal, and some of the most emotionally moving experiences I’ve partaken in. There are a few human experiences which draw out our character and beliefs through situational responses and participating in the birth of a child is one of the most moving and least discussed of these experiences.

I think we often shrug away from this sort of experience because of the amount of hope investment and lack of control available through such a trying time. People can argue statistics day and night about the safety and ethics of homebirth v. hospital birth or vaginal v. C-section, but in the end I think our prefered stance really comes out of our capability to accept life-threatening and potentially tragic situations without attempting to control them. No one wants to stand by and watch tragedy befall their loved ones, but it is a constant and real possibilty. While we understand a lot about the human body and how to “successfully” modify its efforts at the birthing process, the truth is that it knows what it’s up to and often our attempts to improve upon its effects can just as easily thwart an ideal outcome.

So why do we insist upon an ever more informed and proactive approach? I would agrue that it is generally out of a fear of experiencing the emotional gravity of a situation out of our own control. We would rather trust a professional and work to create the outcome than trust fate or nature, though the professional always knows less than what the natural body is capable of.

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As we slowly labored through the evening and the night, we experienced all available emotions. My wife was eager then scared, prayerful and penitent, cursing her existence and submissive to God’s will. She prayed for strength at time and at other times she prayed to die. She accused us of lying to her and of not trying to help her. She was a wreck and then she was utterly calm. She kept believing that she was incapable of birthing and it would never happen. Overall and through this, she was like a warrior whose battle was within her own mind and body.

I was there to help her as best I could through every contraction. Even though I didn’t experience any on the birthing pain, I got a front row seat to see the physical aspects of the pain. I shared in all her emotional fears and more. The sheer exhaustion of physically fighting a body as it tries to work a baby out creates insanity. Mostly I assumed that all the midwives thought I was a terrible husband. At times I thought of telling my wife to suck it up. I wanted to run away because I knew I wasn’t good enough. I sat in awe of her resolve. I decided that she should have tried to deal with the pain more efficiently. I knew at some point that my muscles would literally give out. Overall, we both went back and forth between having hope and losing faith. We had times of trusting each other, the birthing process in her body, the midwives, and God. We also separately experienced times of condemning one another, the entire experience, the people we had chosen to rely on, and the will of God.

Human beings need these definitive experiences. We need to run marathons that we have invested our very lives in, completely draining and testing our commitments and our trust. We tend toward shallowness and half-hearted relations. We don’t want to experience hardships that test our true merits and expose out faults. Hardships might provide solid feedback and consequences.

Pushing ourselves to emotional, physical, and spiritual brinks provides us with increased strength and knowledge of the reality of our current beliefs and what we are fit to accomplish. My wife did more than either of us originally wanted her to or expected her capable of, and she showed herself to be a hero of mine. Our son’s life is the memorial of his mother’s strength.

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I’ll leave you with this transcript of a comment from comedian Louis C.K. on the value of experiencing emotions to their fullness instead of living in distraction.

“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty—forever empty. That knowledge that it’s all for nothing and that you’re alone. It’s down there.

And sometimes when things clear away, you’re not watching anything, you’re in your car, and you start going, ‘oh no, here it comes. That I’m alone.’ It’s starts to visit on you. Just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad, just by being in it…

That’s why we text and drive. I look around, pretty much 100 percent of the people driving are texting. And they’re killing, everybody’s murdering each other with their cars. But people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard. . .

(After hearing a song that brought back sad memories.)

And I go, ‘oh, I’m getting sad, gotta get the phone and write “hi” to like 50 people’…then I said, ‘you know what, don’t. Just be sad. Just let the sadness, stand in the way of it, and let it hit you like a truck.’

And I let it come, and I just started to feel ‘oh my God,’and I pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much. And it was beautiful. Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments.

And then I had happy feelings. Because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness. It was such a trip.

The thing is, because we don’t want that first bit of sad, we push it away with a little phone or a jack-off or the food. You never feel completely sad or completely happy, you just feel kinda satisfied with your product, and then you die.”

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