A week ago today our daughter Ryley gave birth to her (and her husband Jarom’s) second child and first daughter. She came 10 days past her due date and weighed 9.5 lbs.
“To give birth in any way is life-changing, earth-shattering, momentous. Becoming a mother, for the first time or the fourteenth time, is powerful.”
— The Gift of Giving Life
Ry had had a C-section with their son Carden and wanted, if any way possible, to bring this second baby into the world via an unmedicated VBAC. She studied her options, interviewed care-providers, visited different facilities, and took her desires to the Lord. And she did it.
Even though all sorts of women in all sorts of situations good and bad have been birthing babies for thousands of years, and although we are blessed to live in an age of modern medical knowledge and technology, all pregnancies and births still carry risks. Sometimes things can and still do go wrong for the baby, the mother, or both. Unfortunately even in 2019, some mothers and some children die in childbirth.
“Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to take us by the hand and introduce us to birth—even to mortal life—deserves our undying gratitude.” – Thomas S. Monson
Childbirth is a physically transforming experience.
Even when everything goes well, pregnancy and delivery are uncomfortable and inconvenient. The process changes your body forever. It is a sacrifice. And it’s a blessing. That a woman’s body can create, adapt, nourish, protect and deliver another human life is truly miraculous. That it can return to its nearly pre-pregnant state is also miraculous.
Simply stated, the gift of giving life is a miracle.
I mean that literally. It is a miracle that we see so often sometimes we tend to take it for granted. I don’t.
Last Monday I was vividly reminded that the birth process is messy. It’s raw and primal. It’s emotional and exhausting and empowering. It’s work. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s unpredictable and uncertain. It has elements of fear and fatigue and frustration. And it also has elements of euphoria and deep spiritual connection.
It’s a microcosm of life compressed into the process of giving life.
It is a glimpse of and a gift from God.
In many ways for a mother the process of giving life is a Christ-like sacrifice. It’s putting her own life on the line to do something for someone else that he or she cannot do for themself – because there simply is no other way. It’s a process involving sweat and blood and water and spirit, and a mother is left spent – her body bruised – her own lifeblood shed, to create new life for her child.
Childbirth is a spiritually transforming experience.
I’ve been blessed to experience a lot of amazing things in my life – and nothing – nothing – comes anywhere close to the experience of being a co-creator with God and my husband in bringing our five children into the world. I am grateful for those experiences. And I don’t say that to be insensitive to or belittle those who haven’t had the experience. I say it with humility and gratitude and thanksgiving that I was given the experience.
It is the most sacred and empowering thing I have ever done.
And being there with my daughter – to offer her comfort and strength and support and encouragement while she went through the same process for her daughter touched me deeply.
So…Welcome to the world little Miss Haven Marie Roney!! You’re the daughter of a strong and courageous and selfless mother and a kind and loving protective father. You are wanted and cherished. You will be blessed and protected. You will be honored and adored; corrected and implored.
I love you Haven. Welcome to your earthly home.
Please know you come from a long line of women who value and applaud womanhood and motherhood. Women who know that the greatest gift of womanhood is motherhood. And hopefully your middle name Marie, which is my mother’s middle name, will serve as a constant reminder to you of the generations of women who have their eyes on, their hearts set, and their trust and confidence in you.
(And all my thanks to strong and supportive dad Jarom Roney, doting doula Janessa Kennard, caring midwife Maria, and assistants Teryl and Rachel for all the ways you helped and supported Ryley and Haven in this sacred experience)