I have been slowly working my way through Mo Gawdat’s book Solve for Happy. One of the things he says that has helped him to be happy, even in times of immense loss, is a happiness list. His list is forever growing. When I started my list last week, it had things like coffee, the post run high, my kids’ smiles. There’s one BIG thing though. There’s an experience (or 2 actually) that so fully flood my body with contentment when I think about it. It has happened twice to me but in two very different ways– The moment when I finally met my babies. With Leif, the labor was painful and long. The labor itself was not peaceful but powerful, painful, and exhausting. The emotions that reached every corner of my body when I pushed him out were absolute Heaven.
Rein, was different. My labor was peaceful, even zenful. I enjoyed the waves of contractions that rang in my hips. I enjoyed working through each one. Then, as we know, the birth took a quick turn (literally, he turned transverse) and I ended up with a traumatic cesarean. I can still hear my own voice sometimes, the screaming– “Why isn’t he crying?!?!?!?!” Yesterday, while running, I remembered this. I felt my heart racing and tears pooling in my eyes. And then I said to myself, “He’s alive. It’s okay. He’s okay.” When they placed him on my chest, the experience was much different. It was relief. It was “Oh My God, we’re both still alive…” It was “Welcome home, how was a I complete without you?”
When the world feels really dark, this is where I go. I go to those first moments of holding Leif and Rein. Their wrinkly bodies on my bare chest. My lips, between joyful cries, telling them how much I love them and kissing their heads over and over while midwives and doctors sew me back together (I needed to be sewn up after both births–just different places).
This is the feeling I pray ushers me into the afterlife when my time on earth is done. This is the sacred space where I will always feel at home.