Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zoom Out

Every step on Life's Journey is an important piece of our Full Life Picture. One of the things I often tell mother's who come to me for breastfeeding support is to think of your life as a big picture. When we have a problem; the baby won't latch on and nurse! Or the baby won't sleep through the night! All we can see is the zoomed in version of our picture - crisis, suffering, pain, worry, fear, anger… or whatever. Sometimes we're so focused in on the pixel of the photograph that we don't realize what a small part of our life it actually is. Kind reminders like, if you address a need, it will go away, or thinking of a difficult stage in a baby's life as it is: a stage, that will pass in days or weeks and before you know it you'll be yearning for those not-so-easy baby days.

Many people have approached me in these past few weeks with very personal stories of their own pain, illness, or suffering. When you hear that a young woman is diagnosed with stage 3 cancer it's very shocking. I've been very open and shared my story and in doing this, I've opened a door and put down a welcome mat for many people. I feel like I've been given a gift. Cancer can make you feel alone or betrayed. One might think, how could my body betray me like this or worse… how could G-d?! Up close, in my Life Photograph, my Big Picture, this Cancer diagnosis crisis could have been and still might be many things. For now, I've really zoomed out. I see the cancer as a tall mountain along my path that has to be climbed, as a painful and trying challenge. In my Big Picture I see the peak too and along the way there are also beautiful things, like people I love who care about me, my family, my children, my friends, and community. The jagged cliffs on my mountain are also covered in beauty; flowers, G-ds creations and G-d's miracles. Having this Big Picture in front of me also allows me to see a future, hope, a cure.

My Journey has a lot of unknowns. I'm only at the beginning and gearing up for the battles I may have to fight. Before I go to war, I also need to mourn. Here is where perspective comes in. Every person and their dreams. What am I mourning right now? Well, for one, I'm mourning the loss of my fertility and the loss of ever experiencing childbirth and bringing another child into our family. That is my up close view, when I zoom in… that's what I lost. I must also mourn with my youngest daughter, who is still a nursling. She and I cherish our moments of calm and serenity each day and very soon I will have to deny her that pleasure and peace. Chemotherapy drugs that will make me feel very sick in the short term but perhaps save my life in the long… are far too toxic to risk continuing breastfeeding. That makes me sad. This is a stage and it too will pass in days, weeks, or months, and we will move on.

Stand back, take a picture. Zoom out.

3 comments:

  1. When I read your last post I too mourned the loss of the possibility of you bringing more children into the world. I am so sorry for that loss for you. Your "gam ze yaavor" attitude is inspirational. I am hoping however, that you are giving yourself real permission to mourn, be angry and scared. You get to have those feelings too.

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  2. Great post. Beautiful. Your life is he Lord's tapestry. Stay strong Mama!

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  3. God bless you and keep you Erika. You have a great attitude, so like my daughter who is also fighting cancer, her second type of cancer in just one year. Here is a link to her blog:
    http://hodgkinsschmodgkinsinablogkins.tumblr.com/archive

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