Monday, December 2, 2013

My Green Monster

This may sound so silly, but I need to say this out loud: I'm jealous. Jealous of hearing of my friends pregnancies months after giving birth and jealous of my friends who experienced a natural, smooth birth. With all of my heart, I wanted that, BUT God had other plans for me and during weeks like this when I'm seething in jealousy rather than whole-heartedly rejoicing in a new life, I'm ashamed of this sin. I need help and prayer in overcoming it. So I'm going to take a moment and be transparent...

Do not get me wrong. I am so happy for these women, their beautiful families, and how God is working in their lives. This is not about them. It is about me and how to deal with this ugly green monster that keeps showing up on my door step.

The thing is, I asked for advice. I talked to moms, doctors, a midwife, a nurse. I did my research, considered the pro's and con's. I read story after story, heard story after story, where 100's of women (seriously) told me, "... if you can, go natural..." and then gave unbelievable reasons why, further solidifying my decision to give an all natural birth a try. When I reflected on each of these stories, and each of these reasons, I realized that 100% of the women who experienced a natural birth described it as a positive experience, otherwise, I'd be generous in saying it was 50-50! I also realized (after it was all over) that the women who had a med-free, positive, home-birth (etc. etc.) experience had to be strong advocates for themselves, and after what I experienced with doctors I can see why.

I've debated on writing these details, because it brings to the surface feelings of anger, but I believe that writing and sharing it is part of releasing my green monster, so here it goes...

  • I'm angry because my doctor told me (on her way out the door, back turned to me) "A good or bad mother is not determined on whether or not you get an epidural." I knew that. I know some fantastic mommy's who chose to get an epidural. It was my decision for many reasons! Mine. My own. 
  • I'm angry because I had this overwhelming impression that my doctor thought my husband was a male chauvinist. I asked Kyle to help me stick to this decision, because I knew that in my moments of weakness I'd give in to medication. He stuck to his promise because I asked him to (she didn't know that, because she didn't talk to me about my birthing plan, or care to read it, or care about my decision). As a result, my doctor pushed for a plan that was opposite of what I wanted, while my husband was trying to encourage me to stick with it. In fact, the days before giving birth I never once remember discussing my birthing plan with my doctor in full detail. I didn't push it because when I mentioned my "med-free" wishes I noticed, "Yeah, right!" or "We shall see!" looks being passed from nurse to doctor, planting doubts in my mind. 
  • I'm angry because as I played a playlist that helped me focus on God and worshiping Him, my anesthesiologist walked in and exclaimed, "Turn that crap off!" I'm also angry because that same anesthesiologist yelled at the nurses who gave me alternative, med-free ways to cope with the pain (I had an amazing nursing staff!).
  • I'm angry because when I had significant bruising from my belly button to my hips after a blood transfusion (a day after the emergency c-section), a doctor very pointedly stated, "You have bruising. Whoop-di-doo! You just had major surgery!" (1o days later I hemorrhaged and nearly lost my life.) 
  • I'm angry because when I nearly bled out in surgery my doctors tried to minimize the situation to my family (probably trying to save their own butt), saying, "She passed out because she was hyperventilating." No, I passed out because I was anemic. I bled through a mattress, all the way to the bed spring, for pete's sake. I was given rescue breaths, sternum rubs, multiple units of blood, because I lost buckets. If you want, read that story here
You see, upon reflection, I believe I have every right to be angry about those things, but should I dwell on it? Be jealous because of it? Thus taking the glory away from God because of that anger? No! I need to let it go and forgive my doctors, because they are humans, who make mistakes, and who have normal fears of sue happy individuals. I know that, but it's a daily battle to overcome it.

I look back and realized that instead of truly relying on God in pain, in good and bad, and even in death; I was fearing, doubting, and being prideful. Was I ever humbled! My daughters birth story was the exact opposite of what I wanted.

Now that my little sister went through the same process of deciding her birth plan, choosing a mid-wife, and describing it all afterwards as "... painful, but good..." I was feeling an overwhelming sense of jealousy, along with true joy for her and excitement for my beautiful new niece. It was so weird! But at the same time I couldn't ignore my green monster! I wanted that experience! Medication free. All natural. Let my body do what God designed it to do. After a year of reflection and education I know there were many mistakes, so I can't say that about my experience. When I focus on what I wanted vs. what I experienced I lose sight of God's sovereign hand in it all, I instead begin to focus on the mistakes my doctors made and what I let them do without even second guessing why or asking questions. I thought I did my research, but I went in naive. When I focus on those silly, insignificant pieces of my birth story, I forget the beauty of moments like this...

... or the fact that my daughter entered this world beautiful and healthy, when we feared she wasn't even going to make it! When I think of it that way I again begin to chastise myself for my selfishness and the beauty of my daughters birth turns into anger and frustration, rather than God glorifying for saving two lives! And that's a dangerous place to be. My relationship with Christ and my total, whole-hearted trust in His plan, for His glory, is suddenly forgotten.

I came to an important realization this last month...

A dear friend pointed out that this experience was an answer to prayer. I remember asking God to show me what He meant by Matthew 6:19-24, "... lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." I had forgotten that before the birth of my daughter, I feared death and I truly didn't understand Christ's eternal perspective on life. So He brought me to the brink of death and it wasn't until after that experience that I truly embraced an eternal perspective on life. Answers to prayer do not always come in neat little, "how I think it should happen" packages. God's plan captured my heart far deeper than my plan ever would have! That realization began a healing process I didn't know I needed at first!

This may sound so silly, but I needed a chance to grieve. I was chastising myself for feeling jealous rather than simply facing the fact that God had a different plan than my own. Before this realization, when I began to feel this green monster encroach my thoughts, I tried to reason with myself: "Becky, just shut up! Your daughter is alive. You are alive. You are both happy and healthy! You have no reason to feel the way you do." Coaching myself this way was not healthy, because I was relying on my own ability to "get over it"; and instead of actually getting over it, I'd replay and replay that experience in my head, wondering what I did wrong, what my doctors did wrong, and what I should do differently next time to avoid a similar experience. Again, not healthy. I seriously need to give this to God because He is the central piece of this story. I need to let Him heal me. I need to whole-heartedly glorify Him, because my relationship with Him has grown astronomically this month, all because of this realization!

Upon reflection I've realized the Spiritual experience was far, far, far more important than the perfect-natural birthing experience I hoped and prayed for. Still, I needed to give myself a chance to grieve for those moments I wanted so, so badly: immediate skin to skin time, hearing her first cry, seeing daddy's first reaction, my baby born without being exposed to any medication.... Those moments I missed are worth grieving over, because they are beautiful moments of every single birth experience, that I didn't have. It's those moments, the end results, that keep you from focusing on the pain. So I truly feel I have every right to be sad, BUT once I've grieved, I need to let it go, and that's the part I'm struggling with the most. I need to rely on God for that part and when I'm feeling sad about what I missed and how I didn't get the experience I wanted, I need to take it to prayer. And I'd like you to join me in prayer, because writing this, and recognizing my green monster, is only step one in letting it all go.

I can't tell you how much better I feel after writing all of that! Thank you for reading this and praying with me. I'm sure that if I If it took me a year to get to this point, I can only imagine the growth God has in store for me as I focus on giving my green monster to Him.


One thing that has helped me was listening to other stories or reading about them. After reading Jill Mark's blog titled When God's Plan is Different From Your Plan I was encouraged on so many levels. I hope to encourage other mom's in that way. I highly encourage you to try an all natural birth for so, so many reasons; however, if it doesn't happen the way you planned or hoped: grieve and give it to God, but don't let those emotions get in the way of celebrating the joy in your story. There is no reason to beat yourself up, or feel guilty for your decisions, those things are between you and God, and you and your husband. The whole process of planning for a new baby is scary and exciting. There's no reason to pass judgement; we instead need to glorify God, joyfully celebrate life, and encourage one another. For that reason I've decided to invite other mom's to write their story and publish it here. So far I have at least five mom's that are excited to do that. I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am about this new direction: guest writers sharing their beautiful birth story, because no matter what, every story is beautiful. What better way to encourage one another?

Stay tuned!


  1. You hit the nail on the head when you said God's plan captured your heart far deeper than your plan ever would have. You will think back years from now and wonder why you struggled over why your perfect birth plan didn't happen the way you wanted it to. It is a disappointment and yes hard to get over, but you will, just focus on your daughter now because she won't be little much longer, time goes so quickly! I struggled with infertility for years after our first child was born, that was not my plan either, but God's plan was far better. My relationship with God grew leaps and bounds through that experience and ultimately the spacing between my children was perfect. I needed the 6 years between our first and second for so many reasons but I couldn't see that at the time. During that period of my life, I was jealous of people that had 2 children. I struggled but God blessed us with two more WONDERFUL, healthy children, praise God! I am so thankful that he was in control. Trust God and you will get through this and accept the fact that things don't always go according to our plan.

    1. God's plan is so hard! Especially when we are clinging to our own. Thank you so much for sharing your story. If you'd like to share your birth storyS on my blog, I'd love to hear from you. It sounds like your story is one women would be blessed to read, which is why I'm doing this. Thank you for your comment, I love reading responses to my writing.