Posted by: sulya | 30 July 2010


There was this point during my long frightening labour when I finally had medical support and pain relief and then they wanted to take the pain relief away.  They wanted to take it away so I would be able to feel everything properly and push my baby out.

I hedged and took advantage of other people’s assumptions, though, so that I still had a fair amount of epidural in me when it came time to push.  I don’t remember being in pain at all.  Just the pressure of it and then he was in my arms.  He looked beat up but he was small, had all his fingers and toes, and it only took 20 minutes and I did it better than I would have if they’d taken away the pain relief because terror had set in at just the idea of being in pain again.  Real terror and terror, in my opinion, does not typically make things better.

And I found this memory again today because I found myself afraid, again, about the idea of pain returning.

I have a man who loves me and takes care of me now in a way I can recognize and feel and which I am allowed to return.  I have embraced his kids and he has embraced my little guy.  I have begun an educational journey that is already so inspiring, so ripe and challenging.  I recently got one of my friends back, too.  Two of them in fact.  One from long ago and one from more recently.  I had missed them both terribly.

My cup, in short, runneth over.

And, I can’t go back.

I didn’t even realize how much pain I had been in during my labour until it was gone and my body could shudder and quietly sigh into relief.

I complained and whined about it on this blog a lot, but I truly didn’t realize – couldn’t have known – how wrong, how tired, how egregiously hard everything was until it stopped being that way and started to be a way entirely and completely and magically better.

I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to handle the return of pain during my labour.

And I am struck, this morning, with the full force of one overwhelmed by newness, that I am afraid I will not be strong enough to handle it if I lose these new things in my life, these returns of things old and valued.  I am afraid I will screw it up or someone else will and I will wind up back where I started which, as I’ve already said and this blog evidences, was hard then and would be even harder now.  Unbearable.

I am literally afraid I would not be able to bear it.

It’s a pretty pedestrian fear really and I will not let it win but it’s the scope of it which has changed and caught my attention.  It’s deepened. The gap between then and now is so wide.  I am more afraid because I have more information but I cannot allow myself to turn that into its own “fear of knowing” can I?

I tell the parents of the kids I teach over and over that children learn from strong contrasts.

As it turns out, I guess, grown-ups are really no different.



  1. I was recently asked which aspect of my life I believe my parents to be most proud of. I said they were probably most proud of the people I had chosen to surround myself with, the relationships I’ve cultivated over time. It is amazing what challenges a person will willingly and joyously take on with a solid support system in place. Rather than fear the possibility of loss and future pain, delight in the fact that you are where you are largely because of the choices you’ve made.

    There can be, and should be, so much more to life than just keeping your head above water. I had a strong feeling your absence meant life was full and rich. Thank you for the confirmation!

  2. And, I – my cyber friend Sally – am very glad and grateful that you are still around to notice and/or care about me and my life (smile)!

    I agree, too, I will not allow fear of another mess keep me from enjoying the good in my life… I guess I was just caught off guard by HOW good a life can be as I’m not quite sure it’s been like this for a long, long time…

    I hope you are very very (VERY) well, yourself!

  3. Glad I checked your site today. I can totally relate to waiting for (or fearing the possibility of) the other shoe to drop when things are going very well. Isn’t that why it’s best to live in the moment and not the past of possible futures.
    Hope to see you soon.

  4. Okay, can’t stand a typo – I meant to say “the past OR possible futures”. Although, the “past OF possible futures does have an interesting, if confusing, poetry to it.

  5. It took me awhile, but I finally went to read this and I am happy I did.

    All I can say is that I’m kind of glad about your fear. Because it means that you are happy to be where you are. And it’s true, shit can happen and things you cherish can fall away, which kind of makes these tantalizing moments all the more wonderful.

    I’d rather fear losing something than fear never knowing it to begin with. And I’m pretty sure you would, too.

    Love to you and the boy.xxoo

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