The last two weeks
Weaning MJ from the breast and facing the necessity to begin a new stronger medication for my autoimmune disease has brought challenges I never knew I would face. In my last post Put the Oxygen Mask on First…Do I Have To? I wrote of my hesitation to begin this next step and the gratitude that brought me to understanding what needed to be done. I knew it would be hard but I don’t think I was quite ready.
The hormones hit me in a real way. I cried all the time. Watching tv, driving, cooking, looking at the sad look on MJ’s face, it all made me sad. I would have moments of triumph and then moments of defeat. I had made a decision but doubts would enter my mind constantly. I was familiar with the easy route and that made me want to turn around. I was headed down a path that was unknown, dark and felt lonely. And all I wanted to do was to find another route.
I reached out to a friend and her wise words were chilling but something I knew would be true. “It’s going to get harder before it gets easier,” and boy was she right.
Last night was probably one the hardest moments. I felt so helpless, so sorry for my baby that I couldn’t give him what his body desired. As he cried and pecked his mouth to my chest trying to find the breast, I cried with him. All my feelings came to a head and I began weeping aloud. It was over. I could no longer connect in that way. I felt like someone had taken away something from me and I wanted so desperately to take it back but I couldn’t.
In that moment I did what I could. I held him close and let him know how much mommy loved him. I held him close and embraced him with my love. I held him close and reminded myself that he would get through it, that I would get through it. I held on to the vision that one day soon we both would be good. I had to…
During one night as I was putting MJ to sleep, the sadness of his cries made me cry. Every attempt I had of soothing him didn’t work. Rocking, walking, talking, singing, patting, nothing worked. I knew what he wanted and I knew what would work but I couldn’t. As I sat patting him on the back, I cried out to God and asked, “Can I have some reprieve?” His immediate response, “No, relax in it.” And in that moment I let go. All the tension (pain, worry, stress) that had been stored in my body was released.
In that moment I realized I had been fighting. I wasn’t fighting to win but rather fighting to get out. I’ve learned through scripture that God tells us that there will be obstacles, struggles, hardship. Instead of allowing my body to work through the pain, I was trying not to have pain. I was fighting the wrong fight.
There is a natural feeling in all of us that cautions us to stay away from pain. However, as I thought about the words, “relax in it,” I could no longer stay away. My body was desperate. I had to rest in the pain. I needed to relax my grip and stop trying to push away the thing that I needed. I knew that submitting to the pain would produce a far greater result than fleeing from it.
Tribulation is the thing that produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4
Pain is what a woman goes through before a child is born.
Pain reminds us that we are alive and connects us to others.
Pain gets our attention and is followed by healing.
This pain has been tough and in some ways will continue to be. But through it all I will Rejoice! I will no longer fight it. I will embrace it and allow my body, mind, emotions to be strengthened to the end. The battle has already been won for me.
This is my hope.
This my peace.
This is my joy.