Monday, June 24, 2013

Mourn and Release (Alternate Title: Get Over Yourself)


Wait, Nella--you just wrote 3 obnoxious posts about your awesome attitude.  How does mourning jive with that?  Yeah.  Well, that's how life is.  Staying as positive as you can, counting your blessings, offering up your sufferings: none of those make the negative or difficult go away.  But it all helps you deal.  Ignoring the challenges of this situation wouldn't be a great idea.  I have to wade right into the pit and wallow there for a bit so I can let those disappointments go and move on.  Part of the reality of my Lymphoma diagnosis are the sacrifices and sufferings.  Ignoring them is not part of a good attitude, particularly because the sacrifices and sufferings are opportunities for me to learn and grow.  In this series I'm going to look some particular disappointments in the eye, be honest about why they upset me, and then let them go.  At least that's the idea.

With my cancer diagnosis and this pregnancy, my life has obviously changed a great deal.  Some of the biggest lifestyle choices I have obsessively researched and implemented in our lives since we became parents over 9 years ago are changing in part or are being entirely abandoned.  It is a tremendous blow to my pride to see that it will be dismantled.  It's so easy when you research things and incorporate them into your life to begin to believe that they are right.  FULL STOP.  You of course say: "It's right for us.".  But when you have accumulated mountains of evidence in support of your choices and read blogs and articles and books that agree with your choices it's only human to begin, even subconsciously (but really pretty consciously) to believe that your choices are right.  FULL STOP.  My very "right" choices that are being modified or eradicated are as follows:



Those are three intimate, profound decisions that we are having to reverse entirely or in part and it is hard.  Each of those things can be good.  Each of those things is very good.  In the right situation.  But when you choose them, it is really easy to get pulled down the "right" rabbit hole.  It's nice to have your decisions validated and to be able to tell yourself: "Well, of course this isn't for everyone, but THANK GOD it's for me."  Each of these decisions, the decision to have a homebirth, to breastfeed, and to homeschool were decisions I had the luxury of making.  I've enjoyed good health and economic privilege.  I took things that are  privileges and I gave them the aura of virtues, but the truth is I was blessed to be able to choose things that aren't available to everyone.   Each of these things are ideal.  But they are not right.  There is so little in the world, especially in the developed world, that is genuinely right or wrong.  But I took these things and elevated them way beyond where they belong.  It shouldn't be so emotional to let these things go in light of my situation.  Cognitively it all makes sense.  It's embarrassingly obvious that the right thing is to abandon homebirth, breastfeeding, and homeschooling(in part). 

From the serious to the mundane, I can make an idol out of anything that I can make mine, which is everything. We all can. ~Calah Alexander

 It's my pride, and only my pride, that is standing in my way and tormenting me at this point.  I want to keep these ideal choices because I believed they were right, but when you decide something is right you are also deciding the opposite of it is wrong.   But in these cases it's not.  It's just less than ideal.  We first world Mama's are really good at elevating all kinds of things to right or wrong.  We want to give our families the best of everything.  But the brutal truth is you can't have the best of everything all the time, and more than that, the fact that it's not the best or the ideal doesn't mean it's not a blessing.  There are mothers all over the world who would give a limb or their lives (and even have), to give their children my consolation prizes.  How dare I continue to spend energy on lamenting giving them up?  I have to make myself get over it.  I have to get over myself.

The next 3 posts will be me mourning that these choices have been taken from me, but also a challenge to my pride, an acknowledgement of the idols I've constructed in my life.  What a hoot, eh?


  1. Things are right for only a moment. So you were right then and you are right now. The only constant right is your belief in God.

  2. Ditto to what Nella said -- Anon you are right on:):) just need to remind myself of this when those curve balls come my way;)

  3. Beautiful post, Nella! Can't wait to read more!! Btw, still praying for you every day!!

  4. Hopped over here from Catholic All Year. I don't have the same challenges, but I can completely relate to this post. While I am still able to breastfeed, I had to give up my ideal of a drug-free, natural birth with my first baby after it ended in an emergency C-section. I did VBACs in the hospital with the epidural for my subsequent three babies. Homeschooling: I homeschooled my oldest for three years and, while his academic progress was amazing, our mother-son relationship was not. I had to give up homeschooling for the sake of our family, at least for the time being. My kids go to a Christian classical school, not the neighborhood Catholic schools. I had to give up that exclusively Catholic education for the sake of a quality education. (I still teach religion at home with my kids.)

    Anyway, I used to be that person who saw things as "right". And I dug my heels in and tried to cram those things into my life. I finally had to eat some humble pie and make choices that fit our family, our situations. Choices God wanted me to make. You are a smart and strong woman for recognizing that and following through with it. When I let things go and gave it to God, I was more relaxed and blessed beyond my imagination despite some of the suffering. I think God will bless your decisions. There really is more than one "right" way. You will be in my prayers!

  5. I, too, came over from Catholic All Year, and while I can not identify with your current situation, I just wanted to say this is right on, and I said a prayer for you and your family.

    Also, I had Hodgkin's myself. But that was 19 years ago - when I was 18 and childless and responsible for no one but myself. So in that regard, there were no arrangements to be made, no hard emotional struggles (except, I did try to be extra-tough for my distraught parents). I'm wishing you the very best, and I hope that 19 years from now this will be so far in your rearview mirror that you almost forget it happened (that's where I am).

  6. Prayers for you and your family


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