I went through a lot with Ruby. More than most people realize. Unless they have ever had a really sick kid. Moreover, my church was going through a lot at the time. My pastor, now our senior pastor, fell off a high ladder and shattered his leg bones shortly before Ruby was born. He spent multiple weeks in the hospital and had to have several major surgeries. To make matters worse, it happened while he was on vacation several states away. He couldn’t come home until after he was released from the hospital.
With the Shepard gone, the sheep normally get restless. Because this all happened while Ruby was sick, I was very alone during this time. Many people could point their fingers at my church and blame them for not supporting and helping more than they did. But realistically, they couldn’t. It was a perfect storm of events. What a storm it was!
But we got through it. A year of struggling and fighting paid off. Although many didn’t understand what we were doing and why we were doing it, Ruby finally got a breakthrough and onto the road of recovery. For a while there, I am pretty sure many thought I was nuts for our lifestyle changes and resisting giving Ruby formula against the Doctor’s orders. I had several well-meaning ladies speak to me on a number of occasions about giving up nursing and giving Ruby formula. Some of them were very adamant about it.
Now you hippy people out there don’t get upset and riotous over this. They saw how desperate the situation was. They also saw first hand the impact this was having on me and my family. They were stepping up and trying to help the only way they knew how. Unfortunately, it pushed me into further isolation and emotionally disconnection when I needed emotional support the most.
Many things happened that I will not get into here. Many things I have only been brave enough to tell a few people about. Things were very dark. Life was hopeless. And I was alone to suffer it all.
In May of 2012, I went to a Young Living class and was given a bottle of Peace & Calming oil. That was the first big emotional breakthrough and healing that I experienced. I thought I was pretty good. But pregnancy does things to you…
Dr Gayle Peterson says it this way in her opening chapter of her book, “An Easier Childbirth: A Mother’s Guide for Birthing Normally:”
Pregnancy is an emotional period. You are pregnant not only with new life, but also with feelings, expectations, and desires…. Hormonal changes help ready you for motherhood by making you more emotionally sensitive. your emotional vulnerability is your ally in bringing your feelings to the surface.
If you pay attention to the feelings generated during pregnancy and seek to understand and express your own needs throughout this transformative process, you will find yourself engages in self-discovery. This is the emotional work of pregnancy. Your pregnancy provides you with new feelings and ideas about your future. It also bring up… memories. Exploring these feelings and memories readies you to great your baby at birth. The emotional work of pregnancy nurtures the evolving new mother within you.
And that’s exactly what happened to me. Shortly after I realized I was pregnant and the hormones started their work, I began to have memories come back. Memories of when Ruby was a baby. Memories of events that I had forgotten happened. Painful ones.
The horrible part of memories that come back, is that you don’t just relive the memory as a sequence of events… you experience the emotions and feelings you had in that very moment.
Yes, I was reliving in vivid, excruciating detail the most painful, hopeless,and isolated times of Ruby’s infancy. Events I will write about in my private journal, but you will never know about them. Events that make me cry right now as I type out this post.
These things make you angry. They make you resentful. They even make you bitter. They cause you to not trust those around you and look disdainfully at other people’s attempts to help you.
It’s these things that drive people to hardness. Isolation. Inability to be open or close to anyone.
And it is very easy to let them eat you alive from the inside out and die. Not physically (at least not right away), but the person you were born to be, the personable part of you that makes you a person… the hope, love, and belief in others and the desire to have them in your life… You become critical of everything. If someone sees the bad, you point out the good (because you see the bad in them and therefore they are flawed and couldn’t possibly see things the proper way). Someone points out the good and you only see the bad. You see the bad not necessarily because you are ubber pessimistic… but because you have experienced something so bad and excruciating that you are more aware of the existence of the bad.
It’s kinda like a tongue-tie…. if you have never experienced it, you won’t recognize it. Even trained professionals won’t be as sensitive to picking up on it and understand the deep need to revise it as much as a mother who has had to fight and research and explore for themselves. Their experience of tongue-tie and its affects are so deep that they are able to recognize another tongue-tie baby very easily.
While stuck in this dark place, where the person you really are is being eaten alive, it isn’t uncommon that you get sick. The body works in harmony and wellness is a state that must be shared by the body, mind, and spirit for a person to be healthy.
I tried using oils to relieve the morning sickness. I put on peppermint to fight fatigue. But all I really wanted to do was lay in bed and alternate between sleeping and crying. This happened anyway because I stopped using my oils. The smell was so strong and overwhelming that looking at the bottle would cause me to gag.
I believe now that this is because I needed to work through my emotions and receive healing instead of trying to ignore and cover them up with something else.
My husband is the number one reason I got through all of this. Instead of giving me a hard time about laying in bed, he worked tirelessly to take care of the kids and clean the house. He listened to me. We had several heated conversations because I don’t think he really understood why I was so critical and negative (because that isn’t in my nature). But I wasn’t expressing much of this too him so how could he have understood?
Another huge breakthrough came from my church family. After getting out of the hospital I had several people call me and visit me. Many brought meals and offered encouraging words. It was very unexpected. It was very healing. Although many weren’t aware of my re-dedication to being gluten-free, the fact that they sacrificed to make and bring meals was a huge blessing! That’s when I really realized that I have a great church family. We were all just going through a lot and were “scattered” during the period that Ruby was sick.
When you are hurting you want to blame someone or something. But life happens. Things happen and it’s not anyone’s fault. You have to accept that. God orchastrates our lives for a reason. I grew tremendously during that time of suffering. I have a deep understanding and appreciation for things I never did before. I also learned and purged many flaws out of my own character as a result. If I want to place blame, it belongs to God.
Loving fathers don’t shield you from everything just so you can be fat, content, and purposeless in life. Good fathers are willing to make you uncomfortable to grow you into the person you are meant to be and to be the best you can be. This is what God does. And he uses life and well meaning people who don’t understand everything (how can they? Do you? If you think you do, you are fooling yourself and probably causing much damage to the people who want to be close to you.)
Allowing myself to receive support is what brought the healing. Dr Gayle Peterson explains why in her book. This exert is taken from chapter four:
The dominate cultural message… has been that women are weak and need men to take care of them… The women’s movement has fought this cultural message of weakness and inferiority… by proclaiming women’s strength and equality…Childbirth require women to develop their feminine power, a strength that is akin to the nature of water: yielding but relentless.
Labor requires women to depend on others…Dependency makes us vulnerable, however, so it is often confused with weakness. In the early phase of the women’s movement, dependency was feared and sometimes scorned. Yet in labor a woman needs support. This is not weakness; it is part of being human.
Pregnancy and labor are periods of vulnerability. This vulnerability is not weakness but soften, which later contributes to adjustment to motherhood. Feeling dependent may open you to your need for help, and the ability to accept help from others can increase your strength and endurance.”
By accepting support, love, and help… choosing to receive while overlooking any bad or questioning anything about it, was hard. It was a mind over matter. But I have healed much and continue to heal. I can also recognize a deeper and more profound softness about myself than previously. These negative experiences and the positive personal growth caused by allowing vulnerability has indeed made me stronger. I am ready to prepare myself and accept this new chapter of my life:
A mother of three.