I am writing this from the labor and delivery suite at Morris hospital. My daughter began induction about 7 hours ago. I have been given the honor, along with the Father, to be in the room for delivery. I was given this honor once before, during the birth of my first Grandson. Having had a cesarian section in which I was under anesthesia, I had never experienced child birth. For Niko’s birth, I actually held one of Tori’s leg back while the Father had the other. I had no idea how I would handle the whole experience. Would I be filled with awe and wonder or be wheezy and disgusted? Awe and wonder won with an added element of spellbinding humility. Although my brain knew childbirth was a miracle, I didn’t have a clear understanding of just how astounding it was until I witnessed it happening.
Childbirth has been going on since the beginning of time, literally. Language had barely been developed. When I imagine what it must’ve been like for Adam as Eve labored and gave birth to Cain…the thought leaves me feeing unsettled and overwrought with emotion.
Have you ever been frustrated when you cannot express your feelings aloud? Like, the words just don’t come? It’s trapped inside of you…a build up of immense pressure in your heart and soul that builds and explodes in the form of an emotional outburst.
The emotional stability you grew up with determines what this looks like. People who grew up in abusive homes, for instance, were never given the safe space too sort their emotions. Feelings can be so intense they don’t know how to handle them other than the violence they grew up with. Others, like myself, grew up in very loving homes but no one talked about their feelings. As a result, verbal expression has been difficult, leaving me to appear as a recluse. My husband grew up in a loving home in which feelings were shared, but delivered in a jokey kind of way to mask vulnerability. Everything comes out in a very buffoonery kind of way. I am one of the very few people who gets to see the real Heath underneath that mask.
We all experience love, loss, heartache, and grief…we all react to it differently. It’s easy for us to identify with those who react the same as we do, but it’s impossible to identify with those who express it differently.
As I sit here watching my daughter work through the pain of labor, I realize I will never know what she is experiencing inside. I know she’s in a great deal of pain and as her Mother, I want to help her. I have never experienced what she is experiencing so I cannot address what needs addressing. The only thing I can offer is compassion, support, and love.
I have learned to call upon these attributes, and others, when I see a terrible injustice and want to punish the person who caused it. Compassion, love, grace, and mercy…These are learned behaviors, I know this from experience. Trust me, I was not always like this. I used to be a bitter, angry human being…ironically this brings me solace. If I am able to transform into the compassionate, empathetic, merciful person I am today, that means anything is possible. You can’t change it until you identify and accept the existence of it.
I am thankful I was that angry person at one time. I know that sounds weird, but it helps me identify with those people. I have a personal understanding and empathy of what it feels like. What I need to call upon most recently is the patience it requires to know you cannot change a person. All I can do is offer insights and wait patiently as they chew on and digest them. I cannot drag a person into peace…I just have to sit in it myself and (again) wait patiently.
Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual pain we are experiencing, we have to remember a select few people will be able to identify with it. The more we practice this, the more we will be able to remember we also can only identify with a select few on what they are going through.
We don’t have to understand what others are experiencing…we have to see it through non-judgmental eyes and hearts. Wherever you are on your journey of healing, I invite you to keep on truckin’! It’s worth every (what seems to be excruciating) moment!