Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, I thought I could regale you with the story of the birth of my daughter.  But then I realized there was never actually any “labor” involved –much to my dismay at the time.  That dismay welled up from deep within my female identity –the maternal one that dictated my having to go through that process in order to become a “mother.”  I had all these grand plans of a “natural child-birth,” complete with a mid-wife to help me through the grueling process.  I didn’t want drugs, I wanted focus and peaceful meditation.  I didn’t want a stark hospital, I wanted the warmth and comfort of my home.  My husband –and our baby– had other plans.  A month before my due date, we discovered she was breech.  She was folded up like a tiny suitcase, ready to moon the doctor as she entered this crazy, mixed-up world.  I tried everything to get her to turn.  Special exercises, cold packs, warm packs, begging and praying.  Stubborn little thing wouldn’t budge.  I had already compromised with my husband and agreed to have the baby at a hospital, but I was adamant about doing it my way.  The unresolved breech issue, however, only served to further complicate things.  Add to that my age, family history of blood clots, hip replacement and heart valve abnormality.  Yeah.  I was considered “high risk.”    And I didn’t want that “risk” to transfer to my unborn child.  So, instead of what I wanted, I begrudgingly got the hospital…the scheduled caesarian…the spinal…the drugs…oh, and two bags of blood.  But I also got a beautiful, healthy little girl.  And as I held her in my IV-laden arms for the first time, with grateful, happy tears running down my face, I realized something.  You don’t get a trophy if you skip the pain meds.  You don’t get one if you use them, either.  Your “prize” is that precious little life you hold in your hands when all is said and done.  Going through the whole birthing process –whichever process you choose or end up with– doesn’t make you a mom.  Just ask any foster, adoptive or stepmom.  Loving the child or children that God has blessed you with is what makes you a mom.  And as any mother of teens knows, the “real” labor comes later.