As I spend a rare moment alone with my thoughts, I realize I’m fighting. You’d think as a mom of a five month old, these quiet moments would be welcome, but I try to avoid them. I’m really trying not to face reality. It’s difficult for me to come here to this place that holds a lot of hurt and frustration, because I don’t want Emelia anywhere near it. I keep putting it away, but once in a while, when she’s not with me, and I sit quietly, it’s an interruption – a pebble in my shoe.
Every night when I get in bed, I check on Emi on the monitor. I wonder – is she breathing? Is she too hot? Too cold? Is her diaper clean? Did she eat enough before she went to sleep? As I watch her chest move up and down, I feel a twinge of uncertainty: Was I a good momma today?
A friend once told me that I should never have kids. She had experienced what a lot of my acquaintances do – me backing out of spending time with many times because I wasn’t feeling well enough to leave the house. It’s hard for most people to understand that living with chronic pain and fatigue can sometimes be paralyzing. This particular friend understood all too well, because she also suffers from a pain disorder. She asked me how I would manage the responsibility of being a parent when it’s so physically demanding. It hurt, not because I was offended, but because at the back of my mind, I knew she was right.
But there was a problem – I really wanted a child, and, of course, Mgo did too.
During my pregnancy, I went into remission. My pain almost disappeared and instead of feeling extremely tired, I had a lot of energy. However, things took a turn after I gave birth. It’s been a struggle.
This past weekend, Mgo went out of town. My parents came to help with the baby, but I flew solo for a night. Many people asked me if I was afraid of spending a night alone in the house. I told them no. No I’m not afraid of the dark. No I’m not afraid someone will break in. But what I am afraid of is that my body will defy me when I need it to be on its best behavior. I am constantly telling it to stop whining, stop panicking, stop getting in the way. I have to give it a daily pep talk: Please be good today. Please just do what you’re supposed to do.
Can’t you just be like everybody else?
But then I turn to the One who gives me life each day. To the One that, for one reason or another, allows my body to act up, and transforms my illness into a blessing. To the One that, even on the days I don’t think I’ll be able to lift Emi out of her crib in the morning, gives me strength to take care of her.
And I know that one day I’ll be able to teach my daughter what I have learned. I’ll tell her that she will not always be strong. She is not perfect. Sometimes she will let people down, and they will be disappointed in her. Her friends won’t always understand what she is going through, even if they try. She will wonder why He allows us to struggle. And she will run from Him.
But I will tell her He is perfect. He will never let her down. He will hold her close when she is suffering. He will never leave her.