reflections on Re'uth's birth two years ago
For those that are new around here, I have two daughters. The first is Selah and the second is Re’uth.
My mom and I were not on speaking terms when I gave birth to my first baby girl. I had hoped that by the time my second baby girl was due, things would be different. But they weren’t.
Right before my first daughter was born, I gave my mom an ultimatum: “Get rid of the Coors Light Drinker and then you can be in my life again.”
Exactly two years and four months after I gave that ultimatum, there I was, in labor again without my mom. The ultimatum was still there, unfulfilled, just like the place in my heart that longed for my mom’s presence.
During Selah’s birth, the ultimatum was about a week old, which left me with an overwhelming sense of lonely darkness. I hardly had any time to process what had happened, and I needed to shift gears to focus on taking care of my baby. Time was on my side this time, as I had two years and four months of it to process my mom’s choosing of the Coors Light Drinker instead of me. As a little sidenote, to be fair, she courageously tried really really hard to give him the boot, but that’s a different story for a different day.
During Re’uth’s birth, I got to labor in my favorite teal maternity dress while I wore a Depends diaper and walked around in public with the Wendy’s Eating Husband. I pointed my right handed first finger up in the air multiple times, as I cracked jokes and noted funny things. I laughed like I have never known. I was more alive to myself than I could ever remember. I was completely uninhibited from being me. I was alive to the pain of my mom’s absence, but I was also so much more alive to joy.
I wore a piece of metal during Re’uth’s birth that spoke words my heart will always need to hear: You are loved so deeply. It was a bracelet given to me by my step-dad when he married my mom. He hand stamped the letters of my name on it, and on the back side, he wrote, “LV Dad ’90”. It didn’t literally say, “You are loved so deeply”, but that’s how I felt whenever I looked at it.
When Selah was 6 months old, I found out that I was so deeply loved when I had believed I was so purposefully hated. The collision of this truth and this lie left me greiving uncontrollably for days. For years, I had believed that my ex-step-dad violently, intentionally, and maliciously hated me. My mom told me how much he hated me over and over and over.
It was very easy to believe. All I had to do was look at the 3 doors he broke through chasing me in fury, the bruises a friend asked about at a sleepover, and how much he spanked me even in the tenth grade. He was completely imperfect and messed up in many ways, but he still loved me. Besides, life with my step-dad was glorious compared to what came later with the Coors Light Drinker. This little bracelet had history, but it was a physical reminder of the truth. I was so loved.
I was at peace with the fact that the last time I talked to my mom was prior to Selah’s birth over two years ago. I was at peace with the fact that she was still with the Coors Light Drinker. I was at peace with the fact that my step-dad moved on with life and now had 3 girls of his own. I was at peace because I was so outrageously loved, and my heart knew it.
This is the best way to be when you’re bringing a baby into the world. Moving and breathing and laughing and being, all because you know deep down inside that you are so loved. It is from this place of wholeness that I could tell my baby, “You are so loved“, not just with my lips, but because I knew it to be true.
She was so loved, too, and I got to be the one to say it to her over and over and over, all the days of her life.