Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Mother's Ponderings

This Christmas is my first Christmas as a mother and I am struck by the story of Mary even more so than ever before. I have always been drawn to the simple story of the mother of God and her incredible faith, yet this year I'm struck by the awesome majesty her once plain life would hold.

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. " 
Luke 2:19

I look at Alex and see such potential. He could cure cancer, or create a truly unified string theory, or write the next great American novel, or fly to Pluto, or be garbageman of the year... No one knows. He could do anything, be anything and I am blessed to have been there from the time that he was as small as a grain of sand and will anxiously watch him grow for as long as the good Lord sees fit. It is so exciting to see what could become of this little ball of unknown...

But Mary knew. Now it's true, she didn't have all the details, but she knew just how magnificent the child in her womb was. 

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."
Luke 1:32-33

When I was pregnant I started getting rather nervous every time I was in a car. Other drivers just seemed to be incredibly reckless. My road rage was terrible because it felt like every person behind the wheel was completely oblivious to the laws of the road. Behind of all that was the fear that something could happen and my baby could be hurt. That wiggly, then yet-to-be-determined, little life was so precious to me that I would have done anything to keep it safe. And Mary was carrying the Messiah.

Alex might do amazing things, and even if he is as ordinary as ordinary comes, he will always be amazing and precious to me. But Mary's baby was to be the savior of the world. I cannot imagine the immense weight she must have carried knowing that inside her belly was the child of the one true God.

And then to give birth to such a miracle... To hear the first cry of God made flesh. To nurse the savior of the world at your breast. To swaddle up the Messiah and listen to his every coo and whimper as he sleeps. To watch him every day as he learns to roll over and crawl and walk. To hear his first word. To love this child as only a mother can and know that he will serve such a wonderful purpose and have no idea how that purpose would be achieved.

To hear later that he had been arrested. To run to his side and stand powerless and watch as your baby, the child whom you have loved since they were but a speck, is brutally beaten and killed. To wonder where the promises of that angel were now. We know Mary was there but she doesn't sing a song this time.

Did she doubt the angel? Did she doubt God? She had seen her son work miracles beyond description, did she think he would somehow escape? Did she watch in hopeful anticipation thinking that maybe this was the time he'd rise to show his power? Or did she turn away unable to watch her baby suffer through so much?

And then, three days later to hear that he had risen from the grave. Did she fear it was some cruel joke or did she believe right away? When she saw him did she run and grab him and kiss the top of his head? Did she hold him so tight that the disciples had to pry her off of him?  Did she think back to his first night on this earth and the wonderful things she had seen and heard? Did she finally have the answers to things she pondered that night in the stables? 

She was but a simple a child the night that angel appeared to her and told her she would become a mother. She gave birth to the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Kings, and was there to witness his life every step of the way. She was blessed beyond words but that blessing included suffering that no mother should ever have to bear. The treasure trove of memories in her heart must have been so sweet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Tomorrow I return to work. Philip will stay home with Alex the next two days and then next week it's off to daycare. I absolutely hate it, but I am forcing myself to focus on the positive and all the good things that will come of it:

I work so that:

  • We can pay off our student loans from our education that allow us to provide a better future for Alex.
  • One day we can buy a house and Alex can have a yard, and a dog, and walls of his own to color on and mark his height in the door frame.
  • Alex will know that women and moms are just as important in the workplace as men and dads.
  • Alex will know that his mommy cares about people who often don't have anyone else to care about them.
  • We can provide the best life possible for Alex.
I've heard many working moms say that they feel like they are better mothers because they work, and that they find the time they spend with their children is sweeter, richer, and more intentional than when they were at home.

Now to watch Alex sleep some more. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Month!

My little guy is one month today and growing so fast!

I love the idea of monthly photos, but wanted to keep track of more than just what he looks like each month. So, I've included a few milestones. Also, we have a picture of him and the stuffed gorilla from when he was first born so taking the photos with it will help show how he grows. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Natural Birth

Almost a month later, here are my top best and worse reasons to give birth naturally.

Lets start with the worse:
- You feel it will prove your love for the baby or show that you're an Amazon of a woman... A natural birth makes you no better of a mother and a medicated birth doesn't mean you don't love your baby. Both ideas are just stupid.

- You want to feel the pain... No woman who has felt the pain of labor would intentionally want to feel that pain again. "Why yes I'd like a hot stone massage and a few hours of contractions while on my vacation." That's just silly.

- You want a natural birth because some expert said it makes babies smarter or your midwife scolded you for asking about pain management or a friend said that's the only way to be a "real mom"... Any external person who makes you feel like less of a woman or mother for your choice in birth, no matter what it is, needs to be eliminated from your life. They obviously aren't the support you will need.

The best reasons for a natural birth:

- Natural, unmediated labor tends to be faster and more effective than induced or medicated labor... Of course all labors are different but most interventions have a good chance of slowing your labor and making it more difficult for your body to do its job.

- Babies delivered after unmediated births tend to be more alert and interactive then their medicated counterparts... Again all babies are different but the natural labor process triggers hormones and chemical reactions in baby that are upset by the medications commonly used in labor. The medications used are considered safe for the baby but baby still feels the effects (even if the medication doesn't enter baby's bloodstream the effect on labor can have effect on baby.)

- Faster and easier recovery... After an unmediated birth you are usually free to be up and moving as soon as you feel like it. You also are more able to resume your regular activities sooner.

For my personal experience, I'd go natural any day. It wasn't pleasant and it wasn't fun but it was worth it. Everyone commented on how alert Alex was just after his birth (and for many people, including hospital staff he was their first non-epidural baby to see). I was also up and about rather quickly after his birth. I did have some limitations due to the tear severity but was able to care for myself and Alex without assistance.

Alex and I just after he was born.