It is a story of transformation, of metamorphosis. I share this story in hopes that there is a Mama out there who needs to hear it, that this story can help her in some way. This is a very condensed version of what transpired. I have gone through an incredible transformation since then and although I wouldn’t wish the pain of it on anyone, I would most certainly wish the growth that has occurred because of it on everyone.
My son made a “grand entrance” in August of 2007. He was born prematurely via emergency C-section (my birth plan said that I was going to have a natural, Bradley Method birth so this was quite unexpected) as a uterine infection caused my water to break. He spent most of the first month of his life in the hospital. Half of this time was due to his prematurity and the other half was because he turned blue in my arms and stopped breathing while at home in between. After much poking and prodding they found that the breathing episode was caused by an odd UTI but they were never able to assure us that he wouldn’t stop breathing again. Thus, I spent most of his first year of life awake, afraid that it would happen again or having nightmares that it did.
After my husband and family returned to work I was on my own during the day, feeling completely exhausted, overwhelmed and alone. The next challenge involved nursing a premature baby and consisted of weighing, nursing, tube feeding, bottle-feeding, weighing again and then pumping every 2 hours for the next month. It was brutal but he became a champion nurser around his due date and also a champion screamer. He literally woke up when he was due and cried almost non-stop for the next 7 months. He was unable sleep longer than 2 hours at a time and required constant movement. To say that he was colicky was an understatement.
His baby sister was born when he was 17 months old and he was in the height of what we soon learned was sensory processing disorder. Anything and everything startled him. He was sensitive to light, sound, touch and movement. Everything was over-stimulating and sent him into fits of crying. Nursing baby in tow, we started seeing an OT who prescribed a “sensory diet” for him that included 6 weeks of sensory brushing every 90 minutes during waking hours. He has been in and out of OT ever since along with periodic check ins with various specialists for other preemie conditions.
When he was around 4 or 5 I noticed that my son, who was seriously born at least 40 years old and is a highly sensitive person like me, was mirroring my least favorite negative traits and I realized that I needed to make some important changes in my life, to create a new legacy. I needed to learn how to love myself, take care of myself, live my truth and model empowerment for my children. I then began breaking apart my life, dissecting it piece by piece, healing what needed to be healed, changing what needed to be changed. I learned that nothing brings up your unhealed “stuff” like parenting.
I realized that a story is just a story. It can be changed, retold, given a new twist. The story does not define me. The circumstances of my life have not changed but my perspective has. The chaos of parenthood is still there, my past is still my past, what happened still happened, but now I can honestly say that I love and value myself, that I am living my truth. It has been this “brutiful” unfolding (as Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery might call it). I now embrace my perfect imperfection, warts and all.
One Foot Up was born out of my experiences, what I most needed in my darkest hour. So many little miracles happened along the way and I am grateful to be able to share what I have learned with you. It is my wish that I may help you in your darkest hour, that my words will give you the glimmer of hope you need to take the next step.
Discover. Empower. Balance.
*I am incredibly grateful for the support of my husband and all that he endured, my family for staying by my side when I was coming unglued, my friends who supported me even though they didn’t know what to do with me, my tribe who started showing up as I began my transformation, the life changing kindness of strangers and the “angels” I met during this time who gave me faith and hope in mankind.
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Photo Credit: butterfly perched on wildflower horizontal © Scott Pehrson Dreamstime