The day I became a mother, I was a mess.
The boy inside of me was 10 days overdue. Labour had been slow, long, and stilted; then suddenly quick and chaotic. But the time he came, I was screaming my head off with overlapping contractions and hooked up to oxygen. (“What’s that for,” I asked? “In case we need to revive you,” came the response that absolutely terrified me.) My midwife cupped my face gently in her hands and told me I’d need to calm down, taught me the totally foreign skill of pushing a baby out and suddenly he was there, purple, smelling like meconium, and laying on top of my chest.
I remember relief more than joy. He was alive and so was I and I rested in that, unable to move, other than to place tiny kisses on his sticky, bare head. Looking back at pictures of myself I remember thinking, “I looked like death.” And the truth was, I was on my way. I laid on that table for a long time. It took many hours and painful examinations before they figured out where the internal bleeding was coming from and how to stop it. Eventually, they did and as they wheeled me to a recovery room for much needed blood transfusions, I kept saying, “Thank you,” over and over to the nurse. “If I wasn’t here, I probably would’ve died.”
They smiled politely, accustomed to the dramas of first time mothers. I’m certain they thought I was delusional but I’ve never been more clear. “I work in Papua New Guinea, you know.” I told them. “Mothers there, they die too often. They’re strong but if something goes wrong, all too often, there’s no one to help. Really. You saved my life. Thank you.” I still don’t know if they fully believed me. But I know what they did for me that day and I don’t take it lightly.
I’ve had many highs and lows as a mama. But, four children later, I still draw my inspiration from those PNG mamas. When my six year old wants to help cut the veggies for dinner, I remember her little one and the way he wielded a machete and cut the grass for his mama and I tell myself to be brave and let my little one learn like hers. When my four year old comes to the door to meet her new sister and wants to be the one to carry her into the house, I remember her little one, carrying around the babies on her hip, and I let her scoop that baby up and rock her to sleep. When I feel selfish and like the house is a mess and I want some time for myself, I remember that I’m alive. And so are my children, and I think of her – and I pray for her and I thank God for her.
Happy mothers day my PNG mama. We love you.
Rebekah has been on staff here since 2005. In addition to being a mother of four, she is on the leadership team for YWAM Townsville and speaks on our training schools. She enjoys adventuring North Queensland with her family and is passionate about seeing people and nations filled with joy and life!