Months. Months of waiting, praying, and pushing through the motions of caring for my child. Months, and mountains moved.
The growth, birth and first several months of my daughter’s life threw my mental state into chaos. I was so out of balance during the pregnancy that I had to be hospitalized and go back on medication. The fog of sleep deprivation that began with her conception lingered for months after her birth, and I could barely cope. I dug deeper into grace’s grit and strength beyond anything the Lord had yet asked of me.
Somewhere in her first seven months, almost as long as it took Merry to grow inside me, a shift occurred. Energy ebbed back into my exhausted body. Hormones and brain chemistry fluctuated into balance. As I felt more stability in Merry’s routine, I started reintroducing GAPS supplements one by one, drop by drop, brain fog and anxiety and fatigue gradually shifting to shedding pathogens from my gut. I came down on my meds again and felt up to the demands of my day, like I could get through my waking hours without needing to crash on the couch, without pushing myself to the breaking point. Then by God’s mercy and with His calming presence alongside, we made progress in sleep-training Merry, which certainly helped all of our mental health!
With the shift, joy returned. Most days, I’m no longer a walking zombie. It’s more than feeling better physically. Merry completely altered how I spend my time, and I resented the shrinking of my world for a period after she was born, until I got used to my world this size. I found joy in watching her develop and change and grow, and I looked forward to spending time each day with her. Bitterness gave way to gratitude.
And just like that, the ground under my feet fell away again. One Monday morning, I woke at 12 am to Merry screaming in pain because she couldn’t pass her stool. After giving her an enema to help her poop out a hardened, whitish clod, I collapsed on the couch, sobbing uncontrollably. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you, my heart screamed at God. Why? Why are you doing this to me? After all I’ve done and everything I’ve sacrificed to help her be well, how is it still not enough?
I knew what this meant. It had been several weeks of having to give her enemas multiple times a week, and while the enemas stop the crisis, they don’t heal down to the roots. That would require GAPS. That would require submitting my child and myself to a difficult and little known way of healing that I hoped she would never need. Babies are designed to eat breastmilk. I can’t provide it. Breastmilk donations were not steady enough to feed her all the meals she needs in a day. The formula worked for a time, and I felt the Lord’s leading and peace into finding our goat farmers and supporting their family as they supported ours. But now she consistently couldn’t tolerate something in the milk, and she developed intermittent severe constipation. We couldn’t go on. Damage was being done.
I screamed and cried out my rage at God for a long, long time. David stepped in to take care of Merry and I crawled into bed still furious, until exhaustion drowned me to silence. My anger hung over me all the next day. I don’t want to do GAPS. We can’t do GAPS. GAPS is too hard. GAPS doesn’t make sense for an infant who needs breastmilk. On and on my mind went, right through a friend who’s been in my shoes gently pointing out that I can either do GAPS or keep doing enemas.
On Tuesday, I surrendered. This is the only way I know to heal my daughter. It’s hard and scary and I don’t like it, but it’s the path of healing. I made a commitment long ago to take the healing path, no matter the cost. So take it we must. I asked the Lord to give David and I unity in this decision, and he did. Peace returned. I posted in several Facebook groups looking for breastmilk to get it through the constipation until I had all I needed for GAPS intro, and got a response from more donors than ever before.
One donor’s home was like an oasis in the desert. Balm for my bleeding soul. Lindsey not only provided weeks worth of milk for my daughter, she had ground venison for us, a roller of essential oils thoughtfully prepared and a peaceful place with a bountiful garden to rest in after driving many miles. 10,000 Reasons, the song David’s Dad played as he passed, was on in the background.
And the blessings just kept pouring from the Father’s hand. Little did I know that Lindsey’s donation would be the first of dozens, that multiple repeat donors and bulk donors would fall into place, that breastmilk would be provided every day for the next 4 months until Marion was ready to wean, and that GAPS would be simple to guide us in her solids along the way.
Merry will be a year old in less than a month. She started self weaning a few weeks ago, and as donations are drying up, so is her need of them. Every day, the manna fell. Struggles shifted to peace, fears faced and dissipated. As my naturopath said, “You really got to see God move.” Yes. We really did. Faith mustard-small, and mountains moved.