Pregnestation & Self-Control

I’m writing this on the anniversary of my beautiful daughter’s birth, colloquially called her birthday, but also it was the awaited conclusion of my own pregnestation.  I coined this term through ardent study of the birth year, for my master’s degree, all those years ago.  I’m not sure it ever caught on in the literature – of course, I always thought it should.

I’m reminded of the cultural, social, or psychological (I don’t know which discipline explains it best) truism that most moms feel that those first baby gifts (some of the clothes, toys, books & accoutrements) are theirs, not their child’s.  Am I right?  That stuffed lamb, Dior onesie, zoo animal soft-as-butter diaper cover, stuffed lion rattle, miniature huarache shoes, “Who’s Your Daddy?” book, etc.  These are part of mom’s memory arsenal; part of her pregnestation, and of course equally a part of the life of that one whom we celebrate today.  Happy Birthday Eleni Miranda LeVan-Miller.

If anyone ever prepared more for the conception and pregnestation (pregnancy {mine} + gestation {hers}, with NEST in the middle – the experiences of both fetus and mother, combined), of a child and mother, I’d like to hear about her.  I don’t believe it’s a typical process for a mother-to-be, first time, at that, to study the pregnancy and birth year, academically, at the master’s level.  I studied hundreds of articles on midwifery, maternal/infant nutrition, prenatal psychology, & the physiology of pregnancy and birth in journals, books, & official documents related to the birth year and conducted interviews, most important to me, the one with my own mother.

My birth experience a short while after all the academic study, was a struggle between satisfaction with what I knew, and control over what I had no control over; a battle between holding on and letting go.  I’m reminded of the fruit of the Spirit: self control (Galatians 5:23), when I reminisce about our birth process.

I exercised every ounce of the self-control within me, like an Olympian.  I labored at home, and up and down our quiet street for over 24 hours with one or both of our midwives, my husband and sometimes my mother-in-law, with me.  They could testify that I only moaned gently on occasion and stood, swayed, and walked for miles throughout that very long day & rarely stopped to rest.  Even the police officer that happened by while we walked the pre-dawn neighborhood carrying a wine glass with grape juice inside it, to sustain me, fled pretty quickly (lol) with the confidence that I had everything under control.

I held on, fighting the good fight of self-control until it was clear as the light of day that our birth plan had to change and off to the hospital we fled.  With my husband’s help we ambulated to a hospital bed.  Soon I was aware that I had been hooked up to monitors, IVs, and among the beeping and commotion my midwife, Betty whispered to me that I should “let go now(tear drops hit the paper I’m writing on).

I had been controlling my breathing for more than a day and it was time to stop controlling this process and let it be; to let others take over for me.  Dr. Vanderslice, our friend from the college, and his team had arrived and it was determined, with preeclampsia now evident, that a C-section was in order.

It was no easy task, Herculean in fact, to make the sudden transition from an all natural, physiological, and well-planned birth plan to a spontaneously high-tech birth process.  Nor was it easy to see that the gift of self-control involves the exercise of grace or letting go of one’s will as mightily as it involves the fight to utilize our will to conquer our willy-nilly desires.

Selah, pause and think about that.

Eleni, we did it together; and what an outcome!:)

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