This morning I listened to The Empowered Birth Podcast and was very inspired by Ally's courage to announce her love for Jesus, the roll God has played in her life as a wife and mother, and how she will be shifting her platform to highlight how God has influenced birth and mothers and the roll faith plays in birthing. She inspired me to share my story of how my relationship with God has grown through being a mother and finding the true meaning of femininity, not the cultural misunderstanding of feminism. Don't get me wrong - I am NOT attacking the premise of feminism re: equal rights with voting, pay, etc. I am however referring to the cultural misunderstanding that women "should" anything. That women "should do it all". Women have a unique strength and power granted to them through God's grace and design, but it's not always harnessed "properly", often completely misunderstood, and this leads to an overall cultural breakdown. For our family, we've found a unique mix of traditional and modern feminism in our home. What works for us, may not be what works for you. And that's okay. But after listening to Ally's podcast this morning, I was inspired to finally say the things I've wanted to say, be true to myself and stop filtering myself based off of fear of judgment or "cancel culture" if what I say is "against the grain" of the overall birth community. And that begins with me sharing my favorite story that I don't often share: how my faith influenced my homebirth and how my homebirth influenced my faith. You've heard all about my 2019 Homebirth. But I always left out my favorite details of how my faith played a part in the entire experience. I grew up a baptized Catholic, went to Catholic school for years, CCD, Confirmation Retreats, etc. But as much as I was raised in the Faith, it never really hit me how important it was to my life. There were a few years there around the high school/college transition where I questioned God, my faith, and was very lukewarm. As I began preparing for the sacrament of Matrimony, I began diving back into my faith a little deeper. As we had children and our family grew so did my faith because when I looked at this world I realized how desperately I want to make sure I raise my kids for eternal life in HEAVEN, not just life on Earth. Now most people who know me and read this are probably like "I've never heard her talk like this before." I really stifle my faith a lot to try and avoid criticism or people demanding explanations. But I'm realizing that needs to stop.
Anyway. As practicing Catholics, we practice NFP (Natural Family Planning) instead of utilizing birth control. After my second born son, we were really hoping to wait a bit before having more children. As much as we needed a break, there was a piece of me that desired another baby desperately. I felt very lost with that because it seemed illogical and maybe even a little "irresponsible" (hello, influence of the world... influence of the lies of Satan... that new life is bad and we need freedom from the responsibility of children... but I digress).
On our vacation to Disney in 2018, we stopped by St. Augustine, Florida. As a Catholic lactation consultant to-be and La Leche League Leader, I was eager to visit the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (La Leche League's namesake). Legend has it that women struggling with fertility will go here and pray and within a short time after become pregnant. Well I certainly wasn't struggling with fertility. Quite the opposite, actually. There are times I've viewed my fertility as a curse. And I knew that was wrong. I wanted to be grateful for my fertility. But I also wanted to catch a break. I didn't want to be the Catholic family with 8 kids back to back. But I wanted to participate in God's plan for me too. Surely, I thought I knew His plan for me, but as you are well aware.... That's not how it works. I needed to learn acceptance and submission.
As I prayed, I asked for the Lord to give me the kind of grace Mary had to accept His will so eagerly, without hesitation, in regards to bearing a child. While she could have come up with all the worldly reasons to be upset with God's plan for her, she graciously accepted to play a part in changing the world. Submission. The good kind of submission. I wanted to learn how to submit. As an absolute anxious control freak, this is a lesson being learned to this day. But it's what I asked God for... to teach me to submit like Mary. I eagerly bought a beautiful replica statue of Our Lady of La Leche to decorate our home and remind me of the beautiful gift of Christian motherhood. I also purchased a beautiful Our Lady of LLL rosary as a keepsake. After this beautiful encounter with a beautiful shrine, we made our way to Disney to enjoy the rest of our vacation.
While the experience was impactful, it was also just a memory once we left... no anticipation of this experience having a major impact on my life at at all... until...
A month later, we were excitedly prepping for a trip to celebrate our siblings' graduations and our second born's first birthday. The night before leaving, I found a random pregnancy test laying around and felt an odd push to test.... 2 lines. I was pregnant. Conception date? About two weeks after vising the Shrine of Our Lady.... Read Part Two.
Jaimie Zaki is a Mom, Wife, IBCLC, and Birth Doula helping mothers to step into motherhood with confidence. Services Offered:
Virtual Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Support
Home and Hospital Labor and Birth Support
Online Childbirth and Breastfeeding Classes
In person Lactation Support