Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How My Son's Baptism Helped Me Heal from My C-section

My son was baptized when he was around 3 months old. I know that's kind of late for a Catholic family, but we had to schedule it so that family could be there and both of his godparents were from Missouri. We had it toward the end of July which worked because my gallbladder surgery was scheduled for the beginning of July. I was pretty much healed up by the time the baptism came around.

My husband's family came into town. My son's godmother had some flight troubles, but she made it there. We had his baptism as part of one of the Sunday Masses because 1) we didn't have very many guests and 2) I think it's more...theologically appropriate. He is being welcomed into the Catholic community after all. Yes, that is only one aspect of baptism and it isn't even a major one, but it is an important one.

Adam Ryan (Godfather), Matt Ryan (my Husband), Deacon Greg Cross, me, Beth Yount (Godmother)
We didn't get a lot of directions ahead of the Mass as to what exactly was going to happen. Maybe since I'm the theology student, deacon assumed I'd catechize everyone. I don't know. We fumbled through the beginning of the ceremony. I ended up holding the baby because he wasn't too happy about all of this.

We finally got him to go to sleep when the big moment came. Time to walk him to the back of the church to the baptismal font.
He was in for a rude awakening as the water was poured over his head. He was delivered out of a deep sleep to a deep sense of "what the...?!?!" But as his cry echoed through the silent church, I gained another piece of the puzzle. There was the magical cry I had missed the day he was born.
Not that he didn't cry when he was born, but I was so drugged and the operating room was so noisy, there was no magic to it. It seemed rather anti-climatic. I went into the hospital pregnant and I came out again with a baby and a hole in my gut. I felt like I missed an important step there somewhere. I still feel that way.
On a lighter note: I have an excuse to share this meme again.
I read somewhere about a woman like me who had a hard time getting over her C-section. She was giving her child a bath one day and she started to cry. There was just something about seeing her child nude and soaking wet that filled in a gap for her. She got to hold this vulnerable child and know that he or she was hers. It was a tender moment for her seeing her child like he or she was the day they were born.
I know it's not kosher for the birth mom to hold him as he was baptized. It should've been the godmother. But he would've been even less calm if it wasn't for me. And here was something I did. Here was something I chose. His physical birth was taken away from me, but I got to hold him when he was spiritually born. I chose the time and place for that birth. I carried him to the baptismal font. I held him as his original sin was washed away, he was initiated into the Church, and his father, godparents, and I promised to raise him in it. I held him when he became a Christian.
I'm still not healed. I have a very long way to go. This month has shown me exactly how much more I have to go. But I think it's going to have to be time that heals this wound. There isn't a whole lot else to do except maybe pray. James is an awesome kid. He's pretty easy going, although he's also really clingy. The clinginess kind of goes both ways. I love that little guy more than words can say. I just don't love the way he was born.
More reading about my journey:

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