I have experienced darkness within my life and I am not referring to an event which makes you sad or unhappy for a period of time. I speak of a series of events that lead you down a path of darkness. A darkness in which you make your dwelling place. It envelopes you, alters your vision, so much so that you cannot see how to get out even if you had the strength to. That’s the type of darkness I’m referring to. If there are other people in close proximity, it brings you no comfort because you cannot see them.
When my son was born, my husband and I decided it was best for me to stay home with him. He had a very traumatic birth, he was 9 weeks premature, and he had lived his first few weeks in a hospital incubator. He needed me and I had a desire to be home with him.
I didn’t know what I was in store for. No one told me the challenges of having a newborn coupled with the additional challenges of caring for a preemie. Things that are trying for any mother are even more difficult for the preemie mom. Breastfeeding is counterintuitive to our western culture and breastfeeding a 4 lb baby is even harder.
It was important to me that I give it everything I had. I barely slept because he rarely slept. I barely ate because he was always eating. When he finally fell asleep, which was never at night time, I was up pumping away in order to increase my milk supply. I couldn’t let him cry it out because I was concerned about the pressure his brain had already endured due to his birth trauma. Every waking moment was dedicated to ensuring that he did not become a statistic. While I put in the hours of mommy duty, my husband matched those hours with fervent prayer.
Three months had gone by and despite the nurses in the NICU not expecting it possible, I had been exclusively breastfeeding for that entire time (for you men out there or women without children it means no use of bottles).
Darkness fully overtook me once my son turned 3 months old.
I had woken up, after very little sleep because he was up all night, as per usual. We got dressed and headed to church. Everything seemed fine until I got to my mothers, prepared to change his diaper and realized his leg was swollen more than twice its normal size. We rushed him to the children’s hospital in DC and that is the day that darkness finally overpowered me like the moment before a storm when dark clouds choke out the son (see what I did there) and everything goes dark.
My son’s leg was broken and they were accusing me of breaking it. Not of negligence but of child abuse. Child abuse. After everything I had sacrificed? There were no signs of trauma to the leg, no bruising anywhere on his body, no signs of shaken baby syndrome but, once again, instead of practicing medicine their ego took over. It was child abuse not because science pointed them in that direction, but because any other diagnoses would highlight their insufficiencies as doctors and insufficiencies they had, many of them.
I had reached the end of my rope. I poured everything into my son that I had to give and the thanks I was getting was an entire medical team actively trying to have me arrested and my son taken from me. It challenged my very existence. They were trying to invalidate my very life because mothering had become my entire life. If I wasn’t a fit mother, than who was I? Mothering was all I had been doing.
Every effort I had put into my son they threatened. During his hospital stay, they refused me a breast pump. My milk supply dwindled to about an ounce. All of my efforts to breastfeed exclusively stolen. Without any actual signs of abuse they couldn’t take my son away, but the doctors called CPS and they forced me to live with my mom, sleep in her bed with my son in the room, so she could watch my every move like I was some type of animal on exhibit (I later discovered through research that I could have refused this since it wasn’t court ordered. We never even went to court. What you don’t know will kill you. Thanks for nothing $300/hr attorney).
I allowed them to completely reshape my perspective on who I was. I had received revelation directly from God, I had prophecied directly into people’s lives, and I had been a fabulous mother; but, the darkness overpowered me. Any mirror that would remind me of who God is and who I am in Him went unseen.
The dark is lonely, it’s cold, and I was left wondering from whence the next attack would come and from whom. An extreme fear overtook me. Instead of living I was waiting. Waiting for the next devastation.