The thing is that today is my baby's birthday. So it's her day, not mine. When I thought about buying them, I felt this twinge of selfishness. You know what I'm talking about, right? The twinge you get when you're Christmas shopping for other people and then you come home with a new outfit for yourself. Yeah, that twinge.
I thought, "Jenn, you can't buy these for yourself today. It's Ramona's day. You get your day next week." Really—my birthday is next week.
I contemplated for a moment. A strong feeling washed over me, and I bought the flowers.
In that moment I had an epiphany.
When I thought about it, I acknowledged something deeply transformative occured within me since the birth of this little miracle baby.
The shift began to happen about three months after the day I discovered this little being was coming to join our family.
To make a really long story short; with my first baby, I had a very difficult pregnancy, delivery and first year, actually the first few years were really hard. I have diabetes, and I use insulin to treat my condition. So the short version of the story is that my diabetes makes getting through pregnancy really, really physically and emotionally difficult.
The words "Why me?" would often pop into my head during that time of endless specialist appointments, finger pricks, and injections.
I have always needed to put a lot of intentionally into taking care of my emotional/mental health, because I can easily sink into a depressive state. In my 20s, when things were particularly difficult, I felt like I had to hold in the bits of hope I had left with duct tape and crazy glue. So pregnancy, with hormones raging in my body, made it even more difficult to balance my emotions. Especially when I felt like the medical situation I was dealing with was inhibiting me from my being with "divine feminine strength."
I feel like there is a message out there that says pregnancy and birthing is the time of life that women are "supposed" to feel powerful, like a goddess, with a strong connection to beauty and eternal love.
I didn't feel that way.
I totally understand the female empowerment message we read about in regards to pregnancy. It is absolutely phenomenal what the human body has capacity for. It is a time of the divine working within. It is a very spiritual empowering time of life to feel a new life growing inside. It can be fill of hope and expectation....
But I didn't feel those things. I felt broken.
The truth is that my pregnancies were some of the hardest moments of my life. It used to make me viscerally angry when I would hear women speak of the beauty of birth, and especially the importance of a birth that is natural and intervention-free. Cue the Enya music. Gag.
The truth is that I was envious and angry that I missed out.
For several years after my first daughter was born I held onto a strong sense of sadness and anger about my experience.
I certainly had no desire to go through that experience again. No way! Our little girl would be an only child. That's it. End of story.
The years before little Ramona came were also really hard for us as a family. It's a very long story, and perhaps I can write a blog post about it sometime in the future, but for now, I'll keep it brief.
Basically, there was often a dark cloud that was following us around, and our amazing, sweet, and spicy girl was our silver lining.
I struggled with the direction I was going. I was really unsettled with where I was at, and I really believed that there was so much more I could be doing, but I felt really trapped. I felt like I didn't really have much choice. I just had to grin and bear it. My husband had lost his dream job in another city (after I had single parented for over a year waiting for him to get healthcare benefits). Our plans to move to Portland, Oregon, where he was working, were thwarted, because of the global recession. This devastated him; it sucked the life out of him. On top of all that he needed to go through the process of becoming a permanent resident to be able to work...(anyone who knows about bureaucratic paperwork, knows that this kind of thing is no small feat).
So a few years later when I got the news from my doctor that I was pregnant, my heart dropped into my stomach. "How can I do this again?" We were struggling to make ends meet on just my income with the three of us, how can we possibly add one more mouth to feed? I was 40 years old with diabetes. I was very aware of some of the stigma older women face when pregnant. I wasn't so keen to be in that demographic.