Wednesday, June 20, 2007

March Madness

This past March was a month unlike any other. It was a life changing month for me. Maybe it was the beginning of this thing I am going through now. My dear sister-in-law was about to give birth and give the baby up for adoption; I flew to AZ to "help." I'd never been on a plane before, and I was taking my then 4 year old and 14 month old, by my self. All went well, it's a 12+ hour car trip, but just 45 minutes on a plane.

No one really asked me to come, I asked if I could, and my sister said sure. And I stayed for a month, thinking, just in case there's some post partum, or just giving up your baby, issues, I, being an almost psych. degree holder, thought surely I could help.

I have given birth to two children, both c-sections. I had never seen a birth in real life, the struggle, the pain, the exhaustion. Oh my God in Heaven, it was a tremendously miraculous experience. We women, we have these bodies, these complex, often ogled, often loathed bodies, but they are absolutely glorious. We create and nurture life and bring it into the world through this insanely impossible way. We can continue to feed our children for the first year or more of their life with our own breasts, understanding for the first time what they are actually intended for. I can never express the gratitude I have for my sister-in-law that she would allow me to be able to witness this sacred experience.

But, like I said, this baby, my nephew, was meant for another family. The adoptive mother was also in the room, watching her child come into the world. I had a lot of discussions and thoughts and opinions on everything before hand, like I always do, but I could only cry when the time came. When I saw my sister holding her son, when I saw the adoptive mother holding her son ... when I held him. Thinking how I would miss him, thinking how much happier he would be, wishing I could have been the one to take him home, knowing that the way things work out is always for the best. The hardest part came when it was time for everyone to go home. We all, me, my sister, the baby, and the new parents, walked out of the hospital together. In the parking lot, my sister handed the baby over, they took him to their car. And that was that.

It still makes me cry. though what emotion it is exactly, I'm just not sure. I cry that this sweet couple could have the blessing of a baby in their lives because I know there is really no other way to learn about unconditional love. I cry for the pain my sister had to and still has to deal with. I cry for the little hole he left in my heart; I only saw him a few times, only minutes, really, but his very existence has had such a powerful impact on me.

We really never know what impact our lives have on others.

I have all these pictures from his birth and the first few days afterwards (I hesitate to post them with out permission, so I'll work on that). There is one that caught my eye today, of the new little family. The dad is holding the sleeping baby, the mom is resting her head on her husband's shoulder and they all have their eyes closed. That picture is the definition of love and peace.

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