For whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17
Eight days after the birth of my daughter, I went home from the hospital. Over the past week, I had held my child twice.
Coming home was a shock. We lay her down in the crib, and she began to cry. I tried to calm her, but we didn’t know each other. Her father took her and calmed her in no time.
I felt like a failure.
During my pregnancy, I had read everything I could about babies. I knew the importance of bonding with my baby in her first hours and days, but the circumstances prevented it. The hospital nursery let my husband come in and feed Heidi whenever he was there, so the two of them had bonded more.
After a day or two, she and I got the hang of it. Recovering from septicemia left me weak, and when she slept, I slept. In the back of my mind, I remembered the doctor’s words: “Twenty years ago, you would have died.” This scared me, but I didn’t know what to do about it. How does an eighteen year old cope with so many changes?
The only positive outcome of my illness was my weight loss. I gained twenty pounds during my pregnancy–the maximum allowable amount at the time–and lost all twenty of it and at least another twenty pounds on top of that. I lost three dress sizes. Welcome to Barbara’s new weight loss plan. I don’t recommend it to anyone.
A few nights after I came home, my husband got up from the couch around 10pm and went into the bedroom. He came out keys in hand. “I’m going out.”
“What?” I stared at him in shock. The baby was in bed. I was dressed for bed, and he wanted to go out? Just like that?
“I’m going out,” he said.
I had thought our life might calm down and work out now that we’d weathered the storm of my illness, but he didn’t see it the same way I did. He wanted to go. That was it. He went.
That was the first time.
I remember running into the bedroom and staring in the mirror while I cried. When I heard the car pull away, I screamed, “I want to go, too.”
Our apartment, the home I tried so hard to make comfortable for the three of us, became a cage. It didn’t feel fair. I should have been in my second semester of my freshmen year in college. I should have been enjoying my youth before adulthood. Instead, I lost it all.
He’d party, and I’d stay home and care for our baby. This was my new life.
It wasn’t fair.
I didn’t understand then what I know now. True maturity, as people AND as Christians, comes from doing what’s right, not from doing what you feel like doing.
I did what was right that night and many more nights to come.
If you’re joining me in my journey to faith and want to read the beginning of this series, please check out the following posts: