Let me take a break from the life narrative and make a few observations about life. The first one being that an increase in maturity, at least for me, is proportunate to the negative experiences that one goes through.
What do I mean by that. My first experience that was a make or break thing for me was when the doctor came into my labor room to announce that I had to have a C-section. Being a person who was somewhat spoiled and used to getting my own way, most of the time, that was a situation for me that was beyond my control. There was no way for me to do anything but comply with the order of the doctor. Besides the life and health of my child was literally at stake here.
What I am getting at is that it was a time for me to either grow up and learn from the experience or keep on as I was and probably never have another child again because it was obvious that I was unable to control things and they wouldn't be going the way that I wanted in the future either. I chose to grow up and learn. I shut up, took the pain, took my lumps and sucked up my disappointment. I learned in a flash, literally, that what was important here is the child not the mother. Not what I wanted but what God wanted of me.
The next epiphany in my life will seem rather minor to others but meant a great deal to me. It was when my pediatrician announced that my second son was allergic to milk and that I had to wean him from breast milk and put him on soy formula. My first feeling was, "wait a minute, I'm feeding him the best there is, how can it be making him sick?" Then I, again, sucked it up and did as I was told. (are we seeing a trend here: headstrong mom needs to be pushed to the wall in order to learn anything) Again, I learned that he was more important than my feelings about breast feeding.
I won't go into all of the bumps that caused me to grow up in my life. There are far too many to chronicle here. That is the only way that I learn. But I will list the most significant.
The greatest time and lesson that I learned was when my youngest daughter died. That was more than the usual blow for me. Sure I was sad, sadder than i have ever been in my whole life. That is a sadness that cannot be described nor can it be shared with anyone other than one who has also lost a child. But beyond the sadness and how to deal with it effectively and properly, I learned something much more important, I learned the real value and power of faith in God. Before her death I knew about faith and all that it means to us. I knew what faith could do but I had no real idea about what faith was. Then my daughter died and it was a matter of do you really believe or not. Every second of every day for quite some time after her death I had to make a real and constant decision to believe in God and to act on that belief. Not that my faith wasn't real before, but in order for the grief not to swamp me, to keep it from overwhelming me and taking over my whole life, I had to consciously think about God and who he is and why I believed and then I had to make an effort to believe and then to act on that belief. That was the only way for me to survive. That was the only way that I could get up every morning and care for my family. That was the only way that I could take each breath some days. That was my kick in the backside into my next level of maturity. It was God's way of saying, grow up or else.
I am not saying that he took my daughter to make me grow up. Nor am I saying that he necessarily used that incident to make me take the next step on the road to maturity, but it sure was a ripe opportunity for doing just that.
Another large kick in my butt came not too many months after Rebekah's death, when my doctor announced that not only would there be no more baby's but that I had to have a hysterectomy or there would be dire health consequences for me. Not only did that kill my dreams of a large family, no six children isn't a large family, but it made me feel less inside myself. Not in the way that other's may imagine. Not less of a woman because I would be missing those organs, but less because my motherhood and my ability to have children was what had defined me for so long. I had to change my mind about myself and I was still dealing with grief over the loss of my child. My mind wasn't ready to grieve about this too.
This event was not only a kick into another step toward maturity but it had the extra added bonus of bringing my husband and I closer in our marriage. Not that any of the other happenings didn't bring us closer but this event did in a very different way. The removal of my ability to have children was something that changed both of us. It was something that both of us had to grieve over together. My husband was a wonder through this experience. His love and support were so beneficial in helping me change the way that I saw myself. Helped me see myself not only as a wife and mother but as a woman as well. As a woman with talents and gifts to give beyond my family. He showed me that I have a potential that was as yet untapped but that he would help me realize. Without his help I would never have made it through that as well as I did.