Yeah. I was pregnant. Crap. This is NOT what I wanted. This is NOT what we had planned. Where did we "go wrong?"
Oh wait... "they" say be careful what you wish for. God says, knock and it will be opened.
I asked to learn how to submit to Him, didn't I? Well... that's one way to answer a prayer. I'm not going to lie. It took a while for me to accept and be excited about that pregnancy. My birth options were seemingly limited. I was certain this would be another nightmare experience and I didn't understand why God would put me through all that hell again if he "loved" me so much. Why would he curse me like this? But it wasn't a curse. It was all part of learning to accept His plan, His will, and His design. God had placed people in my life, even some with whom I do not share Faith, who would play a vital role in this carefully orchestrated plan.
I needed to learn to trust God. And that's what he was doing. He was teaching me that when I accept and embrace Him and His plan, he will take care of me. When I trust in Him, He will give me exactly what I *need* (ie. not necessarily what I want).
As this pregnancy roller coaster unfolded, I hit many bumps and had many curveballs thrown, but ultimately, I ended up with the homebirth I so badly begged for. I remember contracting and gazing upon that beautiful statue of Our Lady of La Leche, remembering the story of Christ's humble birth, feeling so inspired by her Faith that all would be well. As my fear and anticipation mounted, I clung to her example. As contractions intensified, I tightly held my rosary, praying for strength to surrender. That sounds like an oxymoron.
We tend to see surrender and submission as "weak" in our culture, but in the case of birth, it is certainly strength. I knew that if I stopped fighting this, if I accepted God's design of childbirth, his plan for my family, His plan for my life, all would be okay.
As I roared my ten pound daughter into this world, it was confirmed to me, that with trust in Christ, anything was possible. "Curses" could be turned into beauty. Fear turned into strength. Submission turned into love.
The lesson I took away from that birth is that submission is not a dirty word. Surrender is not a dirty word. And both are HARD in today's culture. I learned that prayer isn't always about getting what you *want*. And I learned that God DOES indeed answer prayers... but again, not always the way you think He should. And that's okay.
How does this lesson influence me as a mother, wife, doula, and lactation consultant though?
As a mother, well... I think it's pretty obvious. Learning to accept His will for my life is learning to accept my primary vocation right now is motherhood. I don't always like that. It's not always easy. But when I embrace it, I am a happier person.
As a wife, I'm still practicing that one... But it taught me that we're all on our own journey with Christ. I have learned that we have our crosses to bear, as Christ did, but that marriage is a gift in itself, and as spouses we shall bear those crosses together, and that I need to stop being part of my spouse's cross, but rather be like Simon to Christ, and help my husband carry his crosses. But like I said, this one is much easier in thought than it is in practice. So... working on it.
As a doula and lactation consultant, this lesson has highlighted that I need to teach my clients how to work WITH God's plan. Now, I don't always phrase it that way. But I do remind them that they're going through whatever challenge for a reason, to help shape them into the mother and woman they're supposed to me. I also pray silently for every client before, during, and after our experience together. I pray that God gives me the wisdom to support them effectively, that God gives them the strength to submit when they need to, and that they are protected by his love. And in this, I have realized that God is using me as a tool to support these mothers in unique ways, but to remember that I am NOT there to *save* them from a bad experience... I am there to help them along their own journey that is God's plan for their life. I'm just a tool of God. I'm there to show His love and compassion. HE is there to save them.
So there you have it, folks. I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. I am a mother. I am a Doula. I am a Lactation Consultant. And I'm no longer going to be afraid to let my Faith lead my practice. I understand for some people this may be off putting. I'm not here to shove my faith down your throat, condemn anyone, or debate theology (I'm definitely NOT going to do that. I'm still on my journey. I'm still learning. And I am not a theologian). But I do want women to know it's okay to embrace your faith, and when you do, it can transform your birth experience, it can transform you as a mother. I am also not saying that you will have a perfect birth experience simply by trusting in God. Last time, I got the lesson that I can have exactly what I dream of when I trust God. He needed me to learn that one first. This pregnancy, I feel God is giving me a different lesson -- trusting in His plan when it's COMPLETELY opposite of my own. Trusting that sometimes things don't go our way, but God still has a reason for giving us those experiences. Even when they're harder to swallow. Maybe after this baby is born I'll be able to give an update on the lesson He revealed to me this time. But for now, I'm going to keep reminding myself to trust His will, His timing, and His plan.
Thank you for listening to my story, and my experience. I would love to hear your experiences in submitting to God's will in the comments!
Jaimie Zaki is a Mother, Air Force Wife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Doula who is dedicated to helping mothers find confidence. As a proponent of Faith over Fear, Jaimie provides prenatal counseling and support, virtual one to one support, online classes, and breastfeeding support to help demystify childbirth, breastfeeding, and motherhood, and help defeat fear in pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.