I can't even believe I'm writing this. You might wanna sit down -- it may take a while...
I mentioned what had happened in the beginning of the year, right? If you didn't read it, feel free to read the previous post (or two). Then come back. I'll be here.
Since then, a few things have happened. Mostly good. Some actually pretty miraculous. I can't believe how mysterious God's ways truly are sometimes.
But darkness was still looming. It crept into my marriage, in a bad way, more than once. It seeped into my mothering. It caused me to gasp for air, even when the oxygen reader at the dr's showed a strong 98% flow. It made me cry harder, more often, with anger and guilt and loneliness. But I wasn't alone, I had very little reason to be angry, and I certainly had no reason to feel guilty. Yet I continued to cry. I cried and cried and cried and cried... until I couldn't cry anymore. I was numb. For what may have only been a moment, I hit bottom, and was ready -- so ready -- to quit.
At this same time, I was exercising regularly. I didn't have a set diet, but I naturally don't eat a lot anyway. This year I wanted to focus on the habit of exercising regularly, and I was getting pretty good at it. I even started eating less junk as a result of the exercising. Win! Except the scale didn't show a win. Neither did the measurement tape. Nor my clothes I thought I'd be able to fit by then. Other things manifested too: more fatigue, more brain fog, drier hair and skin, off-kilter digestive tract, mysterious wrist injury and back pain that I only get during pregnancy, irregular menstrual cycles, sore throat without the presence of a cold or flu, and a number of other things that I keep forgetting (I wonder why). I took a blood pregnancy test after my period was 7 days late and 3 home tests came out negative, and my OB/GYN found that I was not only negative, but my Thyroid Stimulant Hormone level was low. This is unusual because just a few months ago it was normal, and my OB/GYN knew this as well as that I have multiple cysts in my thyroid. She sent me to an endocrinologist who said that I'm borderline anything so he can only re-test me later on, but my OB/GYN is pretty sure it is the early stages of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Doesn't it all make sense now?
So what do all of these things have to do with the picture above?
(I told you this will take a while.)
Let me back up...
When my recovery was hard and I landed back in the hospital and my Christmas SUCKED, my mister and I began talking about if this baby should be our last one. This was the first newborn we brought up where we just weren't sure if another child was in our future. Parents of newborns know what I mean: "you just know when your family is complete." True statement. Well, we knew with all our other kids. But now we didn't. Our brains and emotions were so messed up this year that he and I just couldn't come to a definite conclusion. In the meantime, life happened, and my body couldn't handle it. We had tried scads of contraceptives but found none that fit us well -- the hormones messed me up, or my mister couldn't stand being able to feel them, or they got lost in my body. Another true story.
Oh, I didn't tell you about that one? Hmmm... another time perhaps.
But anyway, contraceptives were off the table. And abstinence... And I even tried the Fertility Awareness Method, but that only just showed me that something was definitely wrong in my body. In the midst of all of this, the darkness set it, and the one night where I felt I couldn't do it anymore (define "it" however you choose), that was the moment I felt like this chapter in my life needed to close. Needed to. I prayed, studied, and pondered on this for a week. My mister and I discussed this for a month. It was real. It was certain.
The picture above is my stomach this afternoon, just after coming home from getting my tubes tied. Yes, you read that right: I just got my tubes tied. I'm trying to say it as often as I can so it can sink in quicker. It's not something that gives me joy, and currently I'm in a lot of pain. But it's something that I need to share, to come to grips with. I'm not one of those women who wanted only 2 or 3 children. I wanted a lot... And then I didn't... And then I became a good mom... And then I didn't... And then my body got stronger... And then it didn't... And that's what I've been conflicted with for years. Years! So this decision has been a long time coming. And as much as all the negative feelings a Polynesian woman can have about it, I know that I needed to do this. That this was the way for me in my life right now.
Please know that I love my children, with every fiber of my being. I know that children are gifts from God and many people in the world do not get to enjoy such blessings. I still feel like 5 children isn't a lot, and that the right set of parents can juggle big families with their eyes closed and legs tied. But I am not the right mom, and we are not the right set of parents for the number of children we actually want. (Hint: it's more than 5.) And my deteriorating body and mind are proof of that. The hardest decision in my life is this: to give up the right and privilege to bring another child into the world for a chance to give my best to the children that I already have.
If any of you readers pass judgment upon me -- weak, crazy, stupid, heathen, selfish are just a few adjectives that you could want to comment with -- move along. This is not a space for judgment. To preach about Planned Parenthood or abortion or women's rights or what the scriptures condemn or how you feel about religion. This is a space of understanding. Of acknowledging human weakness as well as human strength. Of comfort to other who are struggling with incredibly hard decisions right now. If you are struggling, I will say this: God created us to make choices. Every choice that affects our lives is a choice that we have to make. Don't let life make your choice for you. Work with God. Know yourself. Find His plan for you.
Then make a choice.