Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Broken

In my thirty-sixth year, I discovered I was not going to be around forever. Certainly, I'd known for much longer than that that I was mortal, and I hadn't received any specific sentence dooming me to an abbreviated existence. Simply, my body has reached the point where I know I'm not as healthy as I once was and I am not as young as I once was either -- and it's not just the long white hairs I recently found taunting me amongst what had until recently been all dark, glossy browns.

This past pregnancy has been harder than any that came before it. It would be untrue to state that I "bounced back" from any of them. My body never returned to "normal" when I had my first son and after each baby, long bouts of depression would leave me feeling like my mind was a wreck. As this past pregnancy went on, it was this depression I feared the return of most and it does come and go, but I gave no real thought to physical changes and problems. Other than the long slog back to a pants size that didn't make me weep too much, my post-partum struggles hadn't been too bad. This time though, it is the physical which has been at least as hard for me as the mental. I'm not going to spend too much time listing all the ailments. Someone else could top my list with much worse problems to be sure.

Not that long ago, I read a piece on Building Cathedrals and this paragraph really resonated:

I still remember sitting with our first daughter in Mass a few weeks after she was born. As the priest raised the host and said, “This is my body, broken for you,” the words took on new meaning for me. I suddenly realized that, as a new mother having just given birth to my daughter, I understood and experienced this body-sacrificing love in a new way. As mothers, in pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and child-rearing, we really do give our bodies for our children. Sometimes this gift comes at a great cost to us, sometimes it is just full of little crosses. Either way, what an honor and privilege it is to participate so intimately in the Lord’s work. As mothers, carrying out our vocations in love, we truly stand on holy ground (Exodus 3:5).

I'm either slow, because it seems to have taken me until my sixth baby for this to really make sense, or I'm forgetful and have to relearn these lessons of brokenness and weakness after every baby, but I understand broken right now. I understand both my own sacrifices and the gift of the Body of Christ in new ways every day. I'm learning to make peace with my own sacrifices, the ones I never really planned or thought I was choosing. I am beginning (note I said beginning and not that I'm good at it) to learn to bow my head and catch the meaning of, "Thy will be done," and to remember that the work I do every day, when I drag sore and tired body out of bed, is a privilege and sacred trust.

Now if I can only fix my mind on these thoughts as the slog gets tough.

6 comments:

melissa said...

I'd call it a sacrifice of love, whether you intended it or not. That's pretty much what women do when they have babies---esp. when you allow the Lord to bless you abundantly.

Sure is hard, though.

Herb of Grace said...

I so needed to hear this tonight as I wend my heavy way, towards yet another broken sleep, on sore and swollen feet. Such a beautiful and precious reminder of the joy of bearing children. Thank you so much.

Herb of Grace said...

Hope you don't mind I facebook linked in so my other mom-friends could enjoy...

Jordana said...

No, of course I don't mind. I'm honored.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite posts that you've ever written. So true.

Meredith

Aubrey said...

Wow, it is both true and profound, isn't it? I love that you wrote about this. A nun reminded me of this, that our bodies are broken for our children as Christ's body was broken for us. I hadn't thought of it that way until then (this was about two months ago).

I linked here from Catholic moms online because your title made me laugh; I call my kids curmudgeons (affectionately) all the time. It's a funny little word that describes funny little people well!

I've got five kids, five cesareans, and also suffered post partum depression. This time (a few months ago) I finally went to my doctor after my light bulb went on. I feel so much better now, so normal, with medication. I've enjoyed Maria (my #5) so much more. I wish I would have sought help 8 years ago!

But the aches and pains of pregnancy, the cesareans, the nursing and sleeplessness, they are all little crosses that are worth carrying. Now if I can just keep these little souls on the right path, keep them pointed toward Heaven!

Cheers from Nebraska!

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