Sunday, September 23, 2007

Labor... in one way or another.

No baby has come into the world without pain to his mother. Not one. Becoming a parent is a painful process, although the pain is different for each mom.

I have never been in labor, since both of my boys entered the world through the miracle science of C-sections. So I have never felt a contraction, never had to push the proverbial watermelon through a garden hose. But I did have the recovery of abdominal surgery, the pain of that incision for the days following their births; the pain that kept me from sitting up, standing, or walking on my own. It was worth it, but it was not without pain.

I also have grieved the loss of two babies as I prayed and waited for the two sons the Lord would allow me to hold in my arms. My boys are cherished beyond words, and I struggled to overcome worry and fear through much of my pregnancies, so afraid I would lose them, too. When I finally saw them, face to face, I rejoiced that I no longer needed to worry that I would miscarry...they were here. There are moments when I still cry over the children I lost before I ever really had them. It is a journey that is part of my story, one that I wouldn't change, but it is not without pain, even today.

My cousin, Stephanie, just became the mother of two little boys: Cameron and Philip. These sweet boys were officially adopted into our family this weekend, and our family is rejoicing all over the country to know they belong to us. Stephanie did not get to carry the boys inside her, although they grew in her heart. She did not go into labor, but she and her husband labored emotionally for months as they waited to be chosen as adoptive parents, waited to meet their sons, waited to claim them forever. Metaphorically speaking, she has been pregnant for far longer than nine months, from the day she tossed her name into the adoption pool, until the moment the judge slammed down the gavel, finalizing it all. She has waited and waited, wanting to be a mom, and not without pain.

I have a dear friend who has been trying with her husband for many, many months to give their daughter a sibling. Although my friend is a great proponent of epidurals and the miracle of drugs to assist in bringing children into the world, her journey is not without pain... every month that she learns again that she is not yet pregnant, the pain is real and vivid, ripping her in two once more. I am prayerful that the Lord will bless their family with another child, and I hope that baby will know how desperately his parents wanted him (or her). This child will be welcomed, rejoiced over, and deeply loved... but not without pain.

Someone wise said, "We never truly know the love our parents feel for us, until we become parents ourselves."

Perhaps this is true of pain, as well.

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