To Those Dealing With Life's Mess- You Are Not Alone
Please be advised that the following article has details and description surrounding surgery and childbirth which some people may find upsetting.
I lay on the operating table as nurses and doctors buzzed around me. One male nurse stayed with me. I had had an epidural, a top up and then when it failed to numb the necessary, a got a spinal tap.
Although I couldn’t feel my feet, or much else for that matter, I began to feel a burn. They had retrieved my son from my stomach. The hard part was over. They had wrapped him and gave him to my husband. I had even fed him whilst lying there open to the room full of people. But I knew something wasn’t right. I was there far too long. The female doctor who had performed the caesarean looked panicked. They nodded to each other from across the carnage that was my belly and one went and picked up the phone. I was surprisingly calm. Maybe it was the drugs? Maybe it was shock. But I remember feeling very clear minded. I knew there was a chance that this was it.
“How are you doing?” the male nurse asked, realising I was surveying the room and grasping the severity of what was happening. My response caused his face to drop as I uttered the word that likely every surgical team fears, “I can feel it.” He turned to another nurse and within seconds he had set a rescue plan in motion.
My mum was a pro at giving birth but for her children it seemed that the ride was a bit rougher. My sister ended up in a coma after giving birth and I was determined to not be a sequel to that drama. I had said to my husband that the one thing I didn’t want was knocked out. I didn’t want to run the risk of going under and not coming back.
The nurse explained that it would be best to put me to sleep until they had it sorted. The burn became greater, so I agreed and as my husband was rushed out of the room I began the countdown. 10, 9, 8 and 7 was the last number I remember uttering.
I am a strong woman. I have always been a fighter. And I had been preparing myself for my child’s birth since the moment I held that positive pregnancy test. I was scared, but I had a bigger emotion that motivated me. Determination.
But as I began my birthing experience, I realised that however strong and determined I was, I was not in control and this was something that was going to simply happen to me. I couldn’t direct the course. I couldn’t manipulate the situation and the challenges my tiny body and my large baby had.
Sometimes however much we prepare.
However much we feel we can take something on and succeed.
Sometimes things don’t work out how we think they should.
I woke up in recovery. The tube was the first thing I saw. It stretched from the machine on my left to the pump that had been sewn into my belly. I peered through the mist that was my mind and found a doctor sitting to my right, file in hand and an expression of concern but yet relief that it was over. She was already talking before I knew she was there so I had missed the beginning of her debrief but what I heard shook me. She explained to me that damage that was done during my surgery and the complications I may have in the future in having other children.
That was the first time I felt shame as a mother. I knew I would fail from time to time, but not straight out of the gate. All the strength I had, didn’t matter when it came down to it. My body failed me. I still revisit that experience from time to time. Mainly to reminisce about how fortunate I am to still be here.
I used to wonder what I could have done differently.
I think and run through things I could have changed.
I used to think that I caused it, but really, it was just an unfolding. It was a collection of things that snowballed in to having a pretty aggressive scar across my stomach. I was a mess. The situation was a mess.
The first night in the ward was tough going as I negotiated feeding with a draining tube. After I had settled my son down and began to rest again. I heard a baby cry. It was hand over for the nurses and I heard the new nurse signing in asking where the mother was of the baby that colleague was holding. She replied, “Mum didn’t make it.”
I looked over at my son and thanked God that allow it was a mess, I was still alive.
The experience in the hospital changed me.
In fact. It messed me up for a while.
It made me become a mother who was desperate to do right.
To never fail.
To never falter.
I often remembered that baby who lost its mother.
I had been given a chance to raise a child.
I had escaped an ending that I didn’t want.
And I became consumed with being a successful mother.
However, I have recently came to the idea that that’s not the healthiest form of parenting.
I have learnt that parenting from fear is fear passed on.
God has shown me that no matter the start, I am a good mother because each day I am thoughtful when it comes to my child.
He has showed me that being a woman isn’t about having children and having natural childbirth.
It’s about having a nurturing heart.
An encourager’s spirit.
A fierceness for truth, equality and service to others.
To build up.
My story isn’t uncommon. Many of us go through times where we do all we can to get ready and prepare for success when in fact, we are met with complications, worries and disappointment. The one thing I cling to is the result. The journey may be messy but it doesn't mean we have to let a dream go. Dreams do happen in spite of opposition.
In spite of obstacles.
In spite of heartache.
It may not be as easy or as simple as we want but we can succeed in our mission, whatever that may be.
To start that business.
To climb the business ladder in your work.
To buy a home.
To encourage others.
To dedicate your life to a passion.
Whatever it is. It is possible even when it's hard.
For years I have held shame from my experience. And for every year that passes, every messy moment that happens, it is as though it forges another link to a long chain that for too long has weighed me down.
I am beginning to unlink those chains.
One at a time.
I am choosing to see them as simply mess that cleaned up.
Bad turned into good.
Lessons on how to support others.
Lessons how to avoid judging anyone and their experiences and choices.
Growth to become who I am meant to be.
And I believe that we all are entitled to living in a state of freedom whilst doing the hard work in our circumstances to forge ahead and do what needs to be done.
It isn’t easy to break old thoughts.
Old feelings and patterns are easy to dabble in.
But when we are starting to live our life differently, the old no longer fits.
For those of us who know what shame feels like.
For those that struggle and continue to struggle with overcoming what might feel like repeating patterns we understand each other.
We can encourage each other.
We can support one another.
And when the tough times come, we can hold each other up.
Let us pray together.
I think of you when I think of shame.
How people placed it on you.
Or should I say, they tried.
But You never let it diminish You.
You never let it stop You from moving forward.
That’s a skill or mindset that I would like to have.
That we would like to have.
Sometimes life just happens.
You tell us that rain falls on the heads of those who follow You and on those who are yet to know or accept You.
So when trouble comes, it isn’t necessarily a reflection on our goodness.
It’s a reflection of the world.
Bad stuff happens.
But the amazing thing is that even in the mess You are there.
In the storm You are there.
When we try to walk on water and fall in, You are there.
When we work towards something and it doesn’t turn out how we hoped, You are there.
Help us not to take trouble personality.
Give us periods of peace in the chaos.
Give us hope when there is mystery.
Give us excitement when one thing ends or a new path is forged.
Help us heal in our disappointments.
It’s not personal.
For everything that doesn’t work out it’s a story to share.
It’s an encouragement to gift.
It’s a new way to follow.
And even when we have battle scars, help us remember that we are still drawing breath.
And that living requires us to live.
So let us forge ahead, with You.
Guide our steps.
Tend to our wounds.
And help us recover.
Whatever we are dealing with, let us have hope that there is victory up ahead.
And we take time to remember the baby who lost their mother in 2014.
May you bless, protect and keep them.
If you have been affected by this story I encourage you to seek support through a trusted individual or organisation.
Feel free to private message me on our Facebook page or on Instagram and while you are there you can give me a like or a follow for daily encouragements.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that I am not a licensed therapist or counselor. I share my stories to encourage hope.
You can also email me using firstname.lastname@example.org address.