I finally figured it out!
Yes, after twenty years of motherhood it has finally hit me what the real purpose of the Lamaze classes were, that I took prior to the birth of my first child. Just in case you have not yet experienced labor & delivery and you think that the purpose of these classes is to help you get through the pain of childbirth by implementing breathing & relaxation techniques, let me set the record straight.
Now, I am sure that there are a precious few who would “swear” by the effectiveness of these breathing methods – but I am not one of them. Just a few hours into labor after almost hyperventilating and after being given pitocin which effectively slams you into intense labor instantly, I screamed nastily at my sweet husband — “YOU BREATHE!” , as he was trying to coach me in these techniques. (a few minutes later I spit water in his face – nice, huh?) I have never taken those classes again but have used various ways to get through my six following labors, including but not limited to – squeezing the living daylights out of my husbands hand, digging my fingernails into his arm, grabbing the nurses by the shirt (truly embarrassing), moaning, groaning, griting my teeeth, writhing and of course my personal favorite – EPIDURALS!
But just this past week it became perfectly clear to me why up & coming Mommies need to learn breathing techniques and it has nothing to do with the birthing process.
It is much more useful for the parenting process that will follow.
This last week I had an opportunity to put those breathing techniques into practice when, in the blink of an eye, our peaceful morning turned into a disaster. After cooking the kids a delicious breakfast of french toast for a Friday morning treat – we were happily going about our morning routine of chores and school work when…..CRASH! I looked up and saw that my beautiful 21 month old baby boy had pulled our 19 inch TV & stand down onto his head. I jumped up from my seat just five feet from where he was lying and immediately began to panic as he started screaming with blood pouring out of his mouth. My pulse shot through the roof (as I am sure my blood pressure did too), my mind began to race and I tried to make a quick decision as to the best course of action. Do I call 911? Do I rush him to the ER? What do I do with the little ones here at home? Do I take them with me? Should I call a friend or rush over to the neighbors and ask them to drive me to the hospital or watch the kids? As my robe became soaked with blood and the sobs of baby boy increased I began to panic and then…..breathe. My clear minded 13 year old daughter called her Dad and in an instant he was headed home to take us to the hospital. And during that eternal 15 minute wait….I breathed…. and breathed…. and breathed along with calling on the name of Jesus for help.
After it was all over (and we are praising the Lord that the worst of his injuries were five stitches, several bruises and a lost front tooth – no head injuries, concussion, facial fractures or permanent damage), my ten year old was recounting the story of the morning and sharing how Mommy was breathing really heavy during it all. That is when it hit me – Lamaze! That is really what those classes are for – all the crisis times you are sure to have for years after giving birth to a child!
And it is probably a good thing they don’t tell you at that time in life when you are anticipating the birth of your first child, that you will truly need to learn to “breathe” as a parent, because you just might have to –
- wave goodbye as they wheel your child down the hall behind closed doors into surgery
- listen to a life threatening or terminal diagnosis for your precious child
- watch your child writhing in pain after an injury or accident
- get a phone call from the hospital informing you that you need to come down right away
- see your star athlete go down for the count and not get up
- hold them in your arms as they cry after a heartbreaking disappointment or defeat
- feel like you are going to go mad with all the bickering, stubbornness or bad behavior you deal with daily
- sit by the clock that is slowly clicking, hours past their curfew and wondering if they are dead or alive
- watch as rebellion, disobedience or bad judgement bring them tragic or life altering results
- kiss them goodbye as they leave to fight for their country
- endure being separated from them by distance, disappointment or disagreement
- or God forbid if you lose them to death at any age (we as parents are suppose to go first!)
In fact, I never remember anyone sharing with me that children would bring into my life such intense heartache and pain. Would I do it all again if I knew the pain and suffering I would have to endure? Would I do it again even if it turned ugly or tragic? Would I do it all again even if I lose my child to death?
- Without a doubt!
- In a heartbeat!
- No questions asked!
- Yes! Yes! Yes!
Why? Because the love, joy and utter fulfillment my children have brought to my life is worth every bit of pain, heartache, dissapointment or suffering I have ,or will in the future , have to endure. They are worth it all!
I will just have to remember my Lamaze training and my faith….breathe deeply and call on the name of Jesus! (and perhaps get a relaxing massage – I sure could use one after Friday – Whew!)