Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sabbatical update: Labor

I have been using the pregnancy metaphor all last year when I was waiting for my sabbatical to begin. And along with this metaphor I thought, come January, the baby would pop out "bing!" in all of its glory. What I forgot about was the labor. The earth shattering, mind numbing pain that can come with labor. I have been in pain for the last three months. Psychological pain as well as physical pain. So much so that I ended up in the ER one day. 

Not knowing why I was in so much pain, I misdiagnosed my pain as, "you are doing something wrong. You ARE wrong. You are doing something bad. Or so poorly that you are failing and that is why you are in pain."

Turns out the labor pain that I am going through has nothing to do with my merit as a person, artist, designer or writer. When I was in labor with my son, I knew that the labor was finite, that the pain had nothing to do with my capacity as a person, or my worth as a person. It had nothing to do with predicting my parenting skills or what my child was going to be like. It was just labor pains. As big as it was, it was only pain.

My child Eli once asked me when he was about five or six, "Mama, is love more powerful or pain more powerful?" I asked him what made him think of such a question. He answered with "I thought love was the most powerful thing in the world, but when you are in pain, the pain becomes so powerful that it feels like it is more powerful than love." I paused. Thought about it and then said, "I completely agree with you that when you are in pain it can take over everything. But I still think love is more powerful." "Me, too."

I was able to get an epidural during my labor with Eli. There doesn't seem to be that option for this labor. So I'm finding other ways to manage my pain as my projects try to make itself out to this world.