Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trojan Horse

Babies ruin your life.

Newborns take all theory - all hiding behind personal preferences and strong opinions; all book learning and evidence of observation and certainty - and they level the playing field. They conform it to the stark, cold (screaming awake at 2 am) shock of reality.

So does breast feeding, birthing, health problems in newborns, acid reflux, diaper changes, placentas, mucus plugs, episiotomies and sleep deprivation ... all of it takes the tendency towards self protection and acknowledging our personal desires and throws us into the domain of not being in charge or in control or in any position to gloat. Babies make us real.

And if we allow them to, they make us tender.

For me - I was lucky, I just didn't know it at the time - it was the very first. The one I lost. The laying on the bathroom floor contracting and bleeding and torn apart, sobbing beyond the point of words, to realize I was perfectly broken. That no amount of talent, way with words, strength, reading, planning or preparing can get you ready for the sense of loss, panic, anguish and pure heart-breaking, sensory-assaulting love a new life brings to you.

Hormones, dearth of privacy, the vast repertoire of advice from older ladies, baby jet lag - it summons the resources of all we have in us to survive and keep our sanity intact. But we don't. Eventually, somehow, we will meet our match in child-raising and we won't.

And what is left in us is a wrestle with grace. A laying down of self-judgment, of others-condemnation. The parents, neighbours, friends, sisters, aunts and uncles, in-laws, girlfriends, exes - all of those that we have watched and said we'd do it differently.

And we rebuild. Having children, my husband says, is voluntary suicide. All that is selfish in you dies. All that is sure in you waffles. All that is left in you is simplicity, the melody of forgiveness. Forgiveness for your self, for others; forwards and backwards. It may not happen in the first years, it may not happen in the middle - but you can be sure that the cocoon of reproduction will change you. And if you let it, you, too, will be reborn.

How you are reborn depends on you. But babies arrive offering the wonder, the life, the gift of letting go.

Babies arrive with truth.

{I've heard someone say that the work of the children is to forgive the parents. I think the work of a mother is to receive grace.}


Chelle said...

This post is a new favorite.
The beauty and raw truth in every sentence resonates.

Tilly said...

Being a brand new Mom I have only caught glimpses of what's in store for me. It's already been so life changing but as I look toward the years to come I'm rather overwhelmed by the process and the grace I will need to accept.

Misha Leigh. said...

T - I worried about a few of my pregnant and new-baby mama friends reading this post. I remember a story I read about grace for mothers being like a rain storm. Right about that time I was driving my two toddlers somewhere and they were both screaming. I was crying, they were not happy and I was so overwhelmed.

It also was pouring rain and I was peering through our cracked windshield desperately trying to drive safe and not to loose it.

I so clearly heard God say to me "What if you believed my grace for you was as powerful and drenching as this rainstorm? Would you be able to parent without fear of crashing or accidents and just be able to trust me to carry you and love you? My grace is as big as that thunder and as manifests in as many ways as those raindrops pounding your windshield. I have nothing but grace for you, Misha."

I have never forgotten that and probably never will, living in the Pacific Northwest with all our rain!

I love you, Tilly.

Anonymous said...

"a laying down of others condemnation" oh doesn't it though? of being one of those people who knew it all before I had kids... now I know, I knew not! Oh my, what I did not know!! But all I really know now is that I don't know and there is somehow hope in that because it is the end of myself where I find Jesus, and He KNOWS!

momart said...

The shock of realizing the day after you've had a baby you're still the same girl playing house with all the same questions and problems. In some ways it's the beginning of real life and in some ways it's a magnification of baby and mom everything seems alien and distorted. With the birth of our second we sat on day 4 and waited through heart surgery. There was no planning even for holding her that night there was only IF. Magnified. The biggest surprise about motherhood is how much it would break me and remake me.

Of which I'll always be grateful.

I'm glad I've found this ring of your tree, Misha. I sense a change over here, a power behind each word you let fly.

Misha Leigh. said...

momart: "The biggest surprise about motherhood is how much it would break me and remake me." Exactly. That is it exactly.

Thank you for what you said!

Leslie said...

wow wow wow.
I nod with what momart said... both about being broken, and this STRONG voice.

This is a post I'll bookmark, and remind myself, when Im too broken to see the truth. When the meltdowns, have sucked the logic, and Im running on pure emotion. Those hard toddler days.

Love it here, excited to see this new layer unfold.

Misha Leigh. said...

Thank you, Leslie. I know - those broken days remove all logic here, too!