Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ah, The Triumph

Having returned from our grand overseas vacation, six whole weeks on the sunny island of England (no irony there, actually, as it only rained three days and we went to the beach several times a week and got TANS), I can finally relax into preparation mode for baby number three--closet reorganizing, furniture shopping and listening assiduously to my hypnobirthing CD.

Well, relax is a relative term. After the birth of my daughter, more than two years ago, the universe delivered me some growth opportunities (um, yes, irony there), in the form of one debilitating case of anxiety, a popular malady in my family, but one I had gratefully been relieved of having in heavy doses--until then.

After two years of what I think of as particularly funny post-partum woe (much harder to laugh at your own post partum depression, but the post partum anxiety? Waking your husband at three in the morning convinced you're having a heart attack (heartburn)? Now that stuff is very funny. In fact, I have a whole routine worked up that someday, I'm sure, I'll be able to perform to large masses of women in huge theaters around the globe. But anyway, I digress), I had to face my ultimate phobia, flying on a plane. I have flown on many planes over the course of my life. I flew frequently between my two divorced parents as a child and for pleasure as a teenager and adventure in my twenties, but over time grew more and more afraid of it.

It would be hard to underestimate the sense of bravery I felt once I'd clicked my seat belt for our flight to London. To even sit there, going on a trip that was almost entirely for my husband, and therefor lacking any personal motivation, six months pregnant, with a four and a two year old, so frightened my knee caps were shaking, drew to mind Eleanor Roosevelt's famous quote: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Well, I did. And I'm better for it.

The truth is, I have called upon the same thing over the years of my life when in trouble or pain or fear, and I did it again as I've worked with healing from this post partum anxiety. My spiritual practice has sustained me, even when I have felt it ebb almost completely away. There is no doubt in my mind that God, as I understand God, got me on that plane and delivered me safely back. Now as to the matter of how I understand God...

That's a much longer and undoubtedly more boring post. I just wanted to send a word out to all the mamas who endure the same anxious days and nights, often in the first few years after children come along, that you are not alone--in any way--and peace is more possible than we even know--if we believe. Well, I believe, anyway. Sometimes with each breath I've got to believe again for the first time. Which is a good practice, entirely like motherhood, beginning again every time you think of it, to be more like the mother you'd like to be, courageous and kind.