Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bottled up....

What amazes me about getting away from your precious babies for slightly extended periods of time, is what often comes out of it.  I've debated for days about writing this post, but it's been my experience that when we are brave enough to be vulnerable and honest, it invariably touches someone else who has been secretly struggling- perhaps in similar ways.

After laughing, holding hands, talking about everything under the sun, being adventurous together, and generally living it up for nearly two days, the moment came.  The break in conversations... hearts melded together... and quiet.  We were sitting on a bench, gazing out at the receding tide, our fingers intertwined.  Our breathing was slow and matched one another.  In the quiet of the shade, I took a deep breath and asked a question that I'd never asked before.  I'd never voiced my inner struggle to another human being, but in that moment of safety and unconditional love, I asked.  "Adrain.... do you think... maybe... it's my fault that our son has the issues he has?"  His reaction was steady.  He wanted to know why I would even think something like that.

The thing is, I've read a lot about Aspergers.  And Sensory Processing Disorders.  And Pragmatic speech disorders, Dysgraphia, hyperactivity, sleep disorders and all the differing learning disorders we face around here.  And in most things I've read, there is no indication that there's a cut and dried cause... yet... often birth trauma is sited in possible factors.  A couple weeks ago, as I sat in the clinical psychologist's office, answering her many questions, she asked about JJ's birth.  I told her.  It was traumatic.  Two days, no baby.  Not enough oxygen.  Fetal distress.  Emergency C-section.  It was then that the words settled into my soul.  For five years, I'd been pushing them back, afraid.  What if I.... I couldn't finish it.

When I was pregnant with my first, I gained a whopping 60 pounds.  I'm 5'1" so you can imagine.  My second pregnancy was completely different, and I maxed out at about 24 pounds, and had a planned C-section.  The frightening thought, the one I could never admit out loud, was that perhaps if I hadn't gained so much weight, maybe he would have been smaller...and his birth story would have been different- Maybe none of the disorders he struggles with would have been present.  Everything in me cringes.

Adrain listened quietly, and then firmly began to weave his way into my reasoning.  I persisted, holding onto this dark and heavy thing that I could never know for sure.  I looked down at our hands.  His fingers, so dark and tan.  Mine small, white, and freckled.  He squeezed my hand and begged me to hear his words.  Over the course of the next hour, we talked.  We really talked.  And it all came down to this- Sometimes, we can never know if we've blown it.  We just can't.  Chances are, what my son struggles with isn't my fault.  But even if it was... that tottering "if" of a thought that tips emotions one way or the other... if it was, then one thing remains.  Entering into the relationship with God, where all is forgiven.  The kind of forgiveness that washes away hurt, doubt, fear, and irrational blame that crushes the bones.  Because the truth is, there is nothing I could do, or have done that is beyond His realm of forgiveness. I don't know if you are blaming yourself for something right this minute, but something inside me had to share, because we all blame ourselves for things.  Know this: Forgiveness will never be denied.  We are promised that.  If you are trying to stand up under a weight of "what if I'd done it differently" don't let it crush you.

I love C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.  In Prince Caspian, there is a scene where the Lion, Aslan, is speaking to Susan.  "You have listened to fears, Child,” said Aslan. “Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?"  If you are listening to fears, they aren't doing you any favors.  Hand them over, don't bottle them up inside wondering.  Lay them down and then walk away.  Let His promises break over your back like a cold, refreshing wave, and if you do need forgiveness, it's there.  "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."  Ephesians 1:7-8

40 comments:

  1. I have the exact same dialogue in my head as well. It is my 2nd child that has learning issues and I wonder, is it the birth (she was heavier and it could be considered traumatic for her albeit it was not long or like your description) but then she was an easy baby. She entertained herself. She was content to be placed near me but not requiring interaction. Unlike my first who required SO much interaction. And I wonder, maybe if I gave her more of me... maybe if I didn't let her be so quiet... maybe...

    But we can't go back we can only go forward and my little one is progressing and moving forward too.

    {hugs}

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bless your heart... Thank you for sharing. You've put your thoughts to words so well, and I'm sure that you will be helping others through them. You are a great Mama!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You could drive yourself crazy with all the "what ifs" in life. The truth is that God would not have given you this situation if he didn't equip you with the tools to handle it. Everything happens for a reason and is in God's big plan. Because of your son's situation you are able to relate to people that you otherwise could not have. You are able to write this post and touch people through your honesty and struggles. God has a plan for your son and he will be used in a powerful way. Your heart and the love for your family shines through in your writings.

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful,I know that full well.Psalm 139:13,14

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love you and your wonderful boy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your post today spoke directly to what has been weighing heavy on my heart. My children are grown and I love them very much. What troubles me is their worldly pursuits rather than godly ones. Why did I not set a better example? They are the product of divorced parents and a step-father (whom they love now). Blending our family was a very long, hard process of which we did not always handle well. I wanted to make up for what I thought I owed them because they were a product of a broken home. I did too much for them. Too many activities, too many things, too much time away pursuing their individual activities and not enough time worshiping as a family. Why didn't I show them what was really important? Why wasn't I in church with them every week, not just when it was convenient or a special occasion. The list goes on and on. They grow up fast. So many regrets.

    Thank you for reminding me that I am forgiven through Jesus.

    Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just wrote an amazing comment and the cyber monster just ate it. That made me mad so I'll facebook you later. ; )

    ReplyDelete
  7. This post really spoke to me. There's been so many times I looked back on the early years in our marriage and having kids so young. I know what a struggle it was for us emotionally and financially. And it's never really gotten any better. We seem to be in a feast or famine cycle that never ends. I always wonder how it would have been if we'd been more careful and not had our first child so early, and had moved to where my husband could have found a good job in his career, and just gotten more settled before we had kids. I know they've felt loved and cherished the whole time, but they've all grown up worse off than either my husband or I did as kids. Your kids are supposed to have better lives than you did, and I wonder all the time how we could have done things differently to make their lives better. All I can do now is pray and try to make the last years I have my remaining kids at home as good as I can.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Sasha - thank you! Thank your sharing your heart so honestly so that I can breathe alittle easier and reach for forgiveness - while my situation is not like yours - i feel certain things in my are MY fault "if only i had or hadn't done..." so thank you for sharing this today!

    By the way- I read just about everyday - and I am sorry for not commenting more regularly - please know how much I appreciate your blog - and what you share even if you don't hear from me! :)

    xoTiffany

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow. I have felt that crushing pressure of guilt also. Wonderfully written and wonderfully raw and open. thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think we mother's always take everything onto ourselves, even the things out of our control. I think God gave your son a very special mommy.
    ~FringeGirl

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Sasha, you made me cry girl. I often think "what if" when it comes to my kids who are now teenagers. What if I had spent more quality time with each, would my one daughter have anxiety issues, would she have more self esteem? Stuff like that.....

    I work with Adults with disabilities, whether it be learning or mental. I love each one to bits, and they teach me everyday I am with them. We have devotions each lunch break and when my clients pray, it touches my heart beyond words can describe. I don't know why certain disabilities happen but I know that God put those individuals on this earth for a reason and they make this world a better place to be.

    Don't blame yourself anymore, you are a great mama I am sure and your son is equally as great.
    ~*~ hugs to you and your son ~*~
    Teresa K.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have been there. Thanks for saying it here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for sharing your inner struggles....it's real. I know I've always got this inner dialogue going telling "well if you would have done this...this and that wouldn't have happened." It's so hard to be vulnerable...even with my husband. Thanks for being real.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This was written so beautiful Sash. I gained a ton of weight with both girls and they didn't end up with a disorder. In the realm of things I think things just happen...you are not at fault and shouldn't be carrying that. No matter what the reason God allowed jj's struggles for a reason. His plan doesn't make sense to us we just have to know there is one. I love ya girlie.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well that sure was brave of you, and i'm glad you shared. It's no easy feat to admit our fears, and you are so brave for doing so, especially out here in blogging land. I don't have the right words to help comfort you. There is nothing you could have done, can do now, to change it. Love up the boy you were blessed with and do all you can to help him find peace in his world, and hopefully you will find peace in yours along the way too. As a former teacher I have worked with many children like your son. Yes, they do have their challenges, but they have many good qualities too, and I always loved finding those hidden jems within them. Stay strong, and hugs to you darlin'!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sasha,
    You have such a beautiful heart and iam proud of you for being so vulnerable.the thing with being a mother is we are constantly second guessing ourselves in anything and everything we do.the truth of the matter is we as women are so able to share grace with others but usually can't breath a little and show ourselves A little grace.there are many times we will second guess ourselves as mothers and never truly know but the truth of it all is that we are forgiven and we are all just trying to do the best we can one step at a time.your sweet family are in my prayers daily since sharing your struggle and will continue to be,please be easy on yourself and take a deep breath,I don't know you in person but feel as if I know you from this blog and I see a woman with a beautiful heart and a kind spirit.
    God bless you,
    Siobhan

    ReplyDelete
  17. i too struggle with a fear about my kids...funny enough the same morning i was struggling more than normal ..i read my daily devotion from the proverbs 31 woman ministry and they talked exactly what you did about laying them down and leaning on the Lord. to quit letting it fester in me....

    i think as mom's we always have the 'what if's' my oldest was born with some medical issues...during 4-6 week gestation period is when the issues happened. from what the drs and studies say it's nothing i did....but i can't help to think that 'what ifs'....

    thanks for posting!! you sound like you have a terrific man!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow, I love your blog but have never commented until now. I had two what if's going on simultaneously, and I too wondered if the outcome would have been different if I had responded differently, but as I continually put my heart before the Lord, I am reminded that I walked in obedience regardless of the outcome and even in my humanity, God finds know fault in me. He loves us unconditionally!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh Sasha, I so feel your pain. I still on occasion blame myself for allowing my son to get the vaccines that so changed him. Then I remember that we, he and I, are on the exact journey that God intended for us. It all has a purpose. So we will walk together down this road. And so will you.
    Blessings to you and your precious family.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for sharing, for putting yourself out there. As a mom, there are lots of ifs, and could I have changed it moments. Isn't God good?! His mercies are new everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow. Thanks for posting this Sasha. I always appreciate your honesty. What a treasure of a man who can weave his way into your thoughts infusing them with truth, rather than hitting you over the head with a hammer. He is a blessing to you! Now go write him a little note and tell him so ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think your thoughts are a natural, human way to process this. But our God is supernatural and He says ...perfect love casts out fear...1Jn4:18. He also says "before He formed JJ in the womb He knew him and before he was born He set him apart. Jer 1:5 And lastly Ps 139:15,16 JJ's frame was not hidden from God when JJ was made in the secret place, woven together in the depths of the earth, God's eyes saw JJ's unformed body. All the days ordained for JJ were written in His book before one of them came to be. God has a very special plan for your very special little boy. I love the phote of your "3" kids watching Shrek, that is priceless. Rest in His love and care of your sweet children. You are doing a great job.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your blog post gave me chills. I think, as Mom's we assume so much responsibility. Of course, you aren't to blame and bless your husband for being such a rock. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. You are brave and strong.

    Hugs to you...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sasha, as always I loved reading your blog today! I've had the same thoughts and struggles. We have an 8.5 yr. old son struggling with ADD and Dysgraphia. It's comforting to know we're not alone in this thing....

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have had similar questions go through my head about my first daughter. She had a very traumatic birth and at 3 displayed some signs of...something. We haven't followed up because she does fine in school and she really just may have a very concrete way of thinking. She was born facing the wrong way and had to be taken by vacuum and forceps (uh can we say traumatic for mom as well???) You should have seen her poor little head. They actually put a hat on her right away to cover all the bruising. I think it did possibly cause some brain damage, but I really didn't know what to do differently at the time. I was in the hands of the doctors (haven't gone back to that clinic!) I tell you though, I really pray over her and also spend extra time helping her understand things that come difficult (she has a hard time diciphering feelings and emotions)

    Anyway, what a sweet time of intimacy you discribed. You are a lucky girl and your husband is a lucky guy:)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think I love you. Deeply. I need this today! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow - beautiful words. I love your honestly - I really do. You are so strong, and I think the fact that you were able to vocalize such a fear shows that strength.

    ReplyDelete
  28. oops...I meant to say, I love your honesty...

    ReplyDelete
  29. the what ifs haunt me daily. i always think i could have done it better. we should have done this we could have done that.. its really useless i know but i continue to take responsibility for my kids struggles and issues.
    i always thought it was the ex catholic in me...always guilty of something but after reading all of your comments i think its more of a symptom of a mama.
    thanks once again sasha for opening your heart, which opens up dialog.

    ReplyDelete
  30. YOU are beautiful and God is using you!! You are an example to so many about what it means to be real and open about everything so that God can use you. :) Thanks for sharing your heart today!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. God will forgive everything, but the key is to let Him help you to forgive yourself for whatever it is you think you've done. My daughter works with children who are on the low-functioning end of the Autism spectrum, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that love goes a long way in the healing process. Not love for the child as much as love for yourself. Take care of you, and the rest will become easier. Not EASY, just easier. God bless you and the love you have for your child. That's what makes a difference, what you're doing RIGHT!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Sasha...I've not posted before but have been following your blog for a while now.
    Thank you so mmuch for being so open and honest about your worries - you have such inner strength and faith (and a lovely, lovely family) that shines through each and every posting you make.
    And thank you for letting your readers share your thoughts, worries and celebrations - and I'm sure you know it...but I'm just reaffirming that there are many out there who don't know you in person but whose hearts you have touched. and who wish and pray the best for you and yours...
    Glynis

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your honesty blesses so many lives! Love you Sasha!

    ReplyDelete
  34. We have a daughter with cerebral palsy. I kind of thought I wouldn't have to go down any hard roads again as far as health issues with our children go. But our 5 yr. old was diagnosed with a rare, genetic disorder and had a feeding tube put in when he was two. You would never know by looking that he had anything wrong...but I've cried rivers of tears and had so many sleepless nights of worry and what ifs. My heart goes out to you with much love. All I can say is that Jesus lives very close to us moms who are carrying burdens.

    ReplyDelete
  35. P.S. By burdens, I mean concerns for our kids:)

    ReplyDelete
  36. I really don't think we get much say on what God has planned for us,maybe this angel child needed you, or maybe you needed him , either way God's plan will become clear someday.
    On another note I'm not convinced that weight gain has anything to do with birth weight . I have 4 children and gained 75 pounds with my first, there i said it 75 pounds.and he was my smallest child at 8'3, then came 8'5 ,8'8 and my last child with which i only gained about 5 pounds was my biggest at 9 pounds. To be really honest i hardly thought about being pregnant as his older brother was only 3 months old when i got prego with #4.
    In my heart i feel there's only one person who truly knows why anything is the way it is, and he's never wrong! He doesn't make mistakes.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I really don't think we get much say on what God has planned for us,maybe this angel child needed you, or maybe you needed him , either way God's plan will become clear someday.
    On another note I'm not convinced that weight gain has anything to do with birth weight . I have 4 children and gained 75 pounds with my first, there i said it 75 pounds.and he was my smallest child at 8'3, then came 8'5 ,8'8 and my last child with which i only gained about 5 pounds was my biggest at 9 pounds. To be really honest i hardly thought about being pregnant as his older brother was only 3 months old when i got prego with #4.
    In my heart i feel there's only one person who truly knows why anything is the way it is, and he's never wrong! He doesn't make mistakes.

    ReplyDelete
  38. My son was born with a congenital heart defect and has had four heart surgeries. I often struggled with why this happend, if I had done something wrong during my pregnancy. I would have gladly traded places with him!
    A wise cardiologist told me during a why did this happen conversation that my son was given to me for a reason. He has a purpose on this earth and I was meant to be his mom. He has grown and flourished and is now a healthy eighteen year old. The doctor said that had I not been his mom perhaps he wouldn't have had the healthy life that he had. The doctors were able to learn a lot from his condition and help other heart kids because of him. He, of course said this more eloquently but I hope you understand my point. I have never met your son in person but from your blog I think he is a funny, spunky, kind boy and I think he is lucky to have you for a mama and you are a lucky mama to have him for a son! I count my blessing every day that I have my son and that we had the struggles we did because we were meant to go through them together and I wouldn't be the person I am if not for him.
    Your blog is so inspiring! I laugh and cry and so look forward to every post!
    God's blessings to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What a brave and wonderful thing you have done by posting this, Sasha.

    Your kids are incredible and I have no doubt that they are incredible because of you and Adrain.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This post is beautiful. Thank you for having the courage and eloquence to write about your struggle. My son is about to embark on his second year of life and I've been struggling with numerous things in regards to this. But your post has given me courage to face the year to come. It has reminded me about forgiveness and grace. It has put life and motherhood into perspective. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete