My daughter was born just before midnight on March 21, 2012. During my pregnancy, some moms told me that the labor memory would ease with passing years. Feeling filled with baby and worry, I didn’t believe them for a second, but now, looking back, I see what they meant, as I try to piece together the night. . .
The Mr. Goodcents sub sat on the counter, now twenty minutes old.
Normally, it wouldn’t have lasted five minutes with that perfect smear of mayonnaise, but my appetite withered with each passing contraction. I looked at the clock. They were getting closer together, and I was getting closer to needing help. Uncertain, I pretended to know one thing: it was time to go to the hospital. A small fear branched in my mind, even as I worked to look away from it. A new loneliness left me worried that even with the support of my husband and people at the hospital, when it came down to it. . . I would have to work through this labor alone.
The tattered memory hinges on a few crisp images from that darkened room. . .
- Ralph’s hand rested on mine, quietly offering support when wanted, but moved quickly away when I simply couldn’t have anyone touching me.
- Marsha (my doula) spoke right at my fear with words of truth with her firm hand on my knee.
- Melanie (the nurse) quietly filled the background, a helper, bringing water and staying on even after her shift ended.
- Jill (my midwife) cheered me on, furthering my efforts, and when fear threatened, she strengthened my purpose.
- My mother prayed through the night, a dear and true friend, far away, yet close at hand.
- Each one in this circle was deeply with me holding the fear at bay until little Charli’s first cry could shatter it. When it came down to it. . . I was far from alone.
Motherhood and labor are weighty terms–sometimes difficult, wanted or taken away–so please know I offer this short vignette of my own experience in hope that it points to the Holy Spirit that can help us through each challenge we face, be it around ideas of motherhood or otherwise. In the portrait above, all of the underlined words are used in different translations of John 14:26 to describe the nature and action of the Holy Spirit. This human experience certainly can’t scratch the surface of this un-nail-down-able portion of God’s character, but my hope is that it can point toward it, and help us to see.