Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Releasing Fear

About 20 months ago, I had a baby. She was born in peaceful circumstances; a very easy birth as these things go, and I was very happy with everything. Unfortunately, my sweet baby had a tongue tie which meant that she struggled to feed effectively and couldn't get enough milk into her tummy. Her weight kept going down and down, and it wasn't until she was over a month old that we got a diagnosis and pursued a frenulotomy. I had hoped that her feeding would get better straight away, but that wasn't the case; she still struggled to drink milk for another six weeks.

The thing about me is, I can be very stubborn when I want to be. I am normally easy going and quick to make compromises, but with certain issues I won't back down. Breastfeeding is one of those issues. Nursing my babies has become just the normal, necessary way I mother them, and I really couldn't imagine doing things another way. 

As a result of my stubborn streak, the stress I put myself under was enormous. I was adamant I was going to feed her myself, but because she wasn't effectively drawing out milk on her own, I had a low supply (not enough demand) and had to express milk 8 times a day. I was up in the night pumping, while my sweet newborn was sleeping! Talk about backwards. I became obsessive over the amounts of milk I managed to express and how much she ate via bottle. 

Watching your baby's weight drop down and down at every weigh-in is a hell I wouldn't wish on anyone. I literally worked around the clock to get her weight up and it was, hands down, the most stressful time of my entire life. (and I've been through some doozies)

Thankfully, through the help of an amazing support system and the grace of God, she grew exponentially and her little mouth and tongue got big enough to feed on her own. I actually don't think the frenulotomy did much, but I had to feel like I was doing everything I could to help her. 

I experienced many of God's mercies during this trial, and I count the experience as a huge blessing since I have been able to support and uplift other mothers in similar circumstances since then. I dug down deep inside myself and found a ton of grit and nerve that I didn't really need to rely on before. I am exceedingly proud of what I accomplished, but my gratitude is boundless for the way my eyes have been opened to other women's struggles with breastfeeding and the compassion I have earned during my experiences. 

A few months later, I started noticing an occasional occurrence, that started becoming more frequent - while eating, my esophagus would suddenly clamp down and not allow food to pass into my stomach. At first, it was very temporary and only felt like I hadn't chewed enough, but after a while, it got so bad that I couldn't even swallow my saliva. I got really concerned and went to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital for a barium swallow. I essentially swallowed this thick concoction that would allow the x-ray to watch the movements of my esophagus as I swallowed. I was given the all-clear.

So that was a relief, but the swallowing issues still would happen from time to time. The last experience was another bad episode that happened at a moment that made me reconsider why this was happening. I was at the hospital again, with my happy, healthy toddler (who is still breastfeeding, yay!) who needed her foot tended to - she had stepped in some hot ashes at a campsite a few days prior and burned the bottom of one foot pretty badly. We were in the waiting room, eating a packed lunch, and as soon as the doctor called her name, my throat seemed to stop working. I couldn't talk, I couldn't swallow, it was exceedingly uncomfortable! The doctor left me to compose myself and it took at least 10 minutes before my throat relaxed and I felt normal again.

This is what I think has happened. I was under so much stress and fear nearly two years ago, and those emotions were so powerful, that they decided to hang around a while. My body, in not being able to feed itself, was telling me in a very drastic way that I was still suffering from those fears I had of not being able to feed my child. The fear became trapped inside me, manifesting itself in a physical way (think about stress and stomach ulcers - not as uncommon as you might think!).

My husband was the first one to point this out, a few months ago, but I kind of brushed it off. It wasn't until the hospital visit that I realised that this was a serious issue that I needed to take care of! 

Through prayer and meditation, I recently have been able to release that fear. My daughter is perfectly fine now, and there is no reason for my mind, body or spirit to dwell on those emotions. As I meditated over this issue, I felt a sensation in my chest, right where the pain would come when my esophagus would stop working. The sensation was very healing, and I knew that the emotion was released. 

We don't talk this way in church, about trapped emotions and energy and such, but I believe this is a true aspect of our existence. Just as we were formed as spirits before we gained a body, and just as this earth was formed as spirit before it received its Telestial form. We are spirits, gaining an earthly experience. What we think, feel and know doesn't always have to be quantifiable. (although, there are plenty of studies to show how amazing the unseen world is - quantum physics blows my mind!)

I am so grateful for meditation - this technology has released me from anger, fear and has elevated me to feel God's love. I have a stronger testimony of God's love for me and the entire world because I have experienced it personally. Wahe Guru, or in other words, How Great Thou Art!

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