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Journal entry 13 – Saturday December 21, 2002
Here we are at eight weeks post partum. Ben has been a joy and we are anticipating happy Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. With the success of our beautiful unassisted birth, I have been thinking much of past failures.
We have had many failures in our married life. We have had blunders of misjudgment, looking beyond the mark, and attempting to run faster than we had strength. A few specific problems that come to mind are overwhelming debt, a seven year old that had not been taught to read, who was being persecuted by peers for her deficiencies, and of course, our botched unassisted birth in 1996.
We have had some people criticize and judge us for these failures and it has been difficult to bear the load of shame and guilt, especially regarding those that pertain to our children.
I would like to comment on failure….
It was Christmas time eight years ago when I traveled home with Jeff to spend the holidays with my family. I had just given Paul my ultimatum that if he wanted to have any more children with me we would be birthing at home and alone. When I walked into my parent’s home the tension around me was like a physical force. One of my brother’s had told my family that I had drawn a line in the sand about birth with my husband and they had taken it as evidence that I was going crazy again. Having suffered from post partum psychosis after my first baby, I didn’t have too much credibility as a sane person and my family saw my obsession with unschooling, not vaccinating, and unassisted birth as evidence that I was going crazy again.
I remember talking with my siblings one afternoon about these topics. We were sitting in my parent’s living room. Most of us were married with young children and babies. As we talked, the conversation became heated as I attempted to articulate what was in my heart to them. I had not yet coined the term Family Sovereignty, http://www.compleatmother.com/articles2/sovereignty.htm and I was passionately trying to convey the jumble of ideas and words that were rolling around in my head and on my tongue about family freedom. My brother, who was in Law school at the time, was expressing his dismay at the idea of homeschool and the concept of un-schooling in particular and said something along the lines of, “well, who is going to hold these parents accountable if they fail? I mean, what if their children grow up as illiterate, non-contributing members of society?” As I tried to defend my supposedly indefensible position and my own words were twisted and used against me during our debate, I just gave up in frustration with the words, “We parents are fed up with being bullied into practices and procedures that we know are harmful to our children and we are just not going to take it anymore.”
I felt a condescending tolerance from my siblings as we finished up the debate. Our parents had raised us to speak our minds and share opinions and insights in a thoughtful and articulate way. Always respecting the views of other’s even if they seemed wacky. But at the end of this conversation, I felt like I had poorly communicated what was then rising up in my soul like a tidal wave of feeling. I felt as if my family was laughing at me for my heartfelt beliefs. But it went beyond laughter a few days later when my parents told me they thought I should get my tubes tied and not have any more children. My mother said she believed that I had been brainwashed by Laura Shanley and they were very concerned that I was going to ruin my marriage.
No one seemed concerned about my marriage being ruined if I had another hospital birth. No one seemed to understand that the fully documented incompetence of the public schools could potentially ruin my children academically. No one seemed to care that my children could be permanently damaged by being vaccinated.
This heated family debate was a turning point for me. I looked inward and spent the next few years reading, teaching childbirth, and formulating in my own mind the “debate”. To me, the heart of these issues was my brother’s question. “Who is going to hold these parent’s accountable if they fail, and if society has a bunch of illiterate, sickly, unproductive, do-nothings to deal with who is going to “FORCE” these non-conformist parents to conform to societal standards of parenting in regards to birth, education and health care?” Who indeed? I have to laugh thinking of the medical profession, the education establishment, and the governmental powers that be judging me when they are accountable to NO ONE and who research has shown are controlled and manipulated by the most powerful global companies on the earth. Companies that live and prosper off the illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, and ill health of families the world over. I have a vested interest in the health and intelligence of my children for they will be raising my grandchildren. I have yet to meet the parent in my home birthing, home schooling world who has the attitude, “I want to raise a bunch of sickly idiots who have no ability to care for themselves and have nothing to contribute to society.” It just has not happened. However, based upon my interactions with various institutions, I am not so certain that other’s interest in my family goes much beyond the dollars attached to my womb, my children, and my family being involved in their money making scheme’s.
The only way to break up the monopolies in health care and education is for enlightened parents to simply reject what they have to offer us and forge a different path.
I am nursing my sweet boy as I type this and as I look into his crystal clear blue eyes, see his smiling face and think of the daily work of nourishing, cleansing, and balancing my body with nutrition, exercise, and vast amounts of spiritual food in order to nourish him, I feel somewhat angry at those professionals who would accuse me of being a neglectful parent because I reject the overpriced birth services and educational theories and practices they would force/entice/coerce me to use.
Failure? I am less afraid of failure than I am of being deprived of my right to fail.
In a free society WE MUST HAVE THE RIGHT TO FAIL IN ORDER TO SUCEED!!!
We cannot have it any other way. The law of opposites is not a theory, it is not wishful thinking, it is THE LAW that governs the universe.
I want to share a long passage from the Book of Mormon because it is the absolute best articulation of this truth that I have ever come across…
Lehi speaking to his son Jacob….
“For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
And if ye say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither is the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
And now my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
Wherefore the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
And I lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
And After Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden to till the earth.
And they have brought forth children, yea, even the family of all the earth.
And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while still in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.
And now behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever and had no end.
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
But behold all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
ADAM FELL THAT MEN MIGHT BE; AND MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY!
And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
And now my sons, I would that ye should look to that great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.
I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation, and I have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet. And I have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls. Amen.”
2 Nephi 2:11-30
I believe we are here on the earth to learn to know good from evil. The main way we learn to know the difference is by our experiences in life. If we are forced to only live the kind of life that the corporate powers that be dictate is acceptable to them and the rest of society, they we are living a lie, and are being compelled to live the materialistic chemical lifestyle that makes lots of money for those in power, but leaves the family deprived of ultimate health, intelligence, and freedom, not to mention, financial stability.
Death…ultimately in life, especially the sovereign life that we have chosen to live, the greatest fear for parents is the fear of death.
I had a year of death in 2001.
Early that year a dear LDS friend died of a bacterial infection after a miscarriage. She was the mother of five home schooled children, was a LLL leader, and hombirther. I can’t tell you how rare it is for me to become friends in my community with a Mormon mother who is into this lifestyle. We met at our Friday homeschool support group. Our friendship was immediate and I felt such a kinship with Michelle. When she died, I was left spinning emotionally. I could not understand why Heavenly Father would allow this sweet and perfect mother to die so needlessly when she had so many young children to nurture.
I just saw her children last Friday at our Christmas party. Her husband has continued to homeschool and work from home – fortunately he had a computer job that enabled him to stay home – and while the whole family still looks a little sad, they are going on with life.
The summer after Michelle died three older ladies who were suffering with cancer died. I was close to one of these church friends and while the deaths were not unanticipated, they were losses just the same.
At the end of the summer I received word that my brother Dave had died. I was so dumbfounded and shocked that he was gone that I went into an emotional tail spin that only really stopped the month I conceived Ben last January.
Because of these five deaths last year I was forced to spend many hours trying to settle things in my own mind about life and death and the purpose of our time here on earth. I don’t have all the answers regarding death, but I do know that a fear of death is the one great impediment to parents claiming their sovereignty in regards to home birth.
The question we all have to ask as we prepare to birth alone at home is this, “Should we have the “failure” experience of our child dying, or even dying ourselves as mothers, does this mean that we have to throw all of these ideals out like the proverbial baby with the bathwater? Or in the name of “sovereignty” do we muster our faith and take the leap that lands us safely into the world of Freedom?”
We must have the right to fail. Fail at birth, fail at breastfeeding, fail at educating, fail at anything and everything we try….for if we don’t we are nothing more than slaves. Those are the thought in my head this beautiful December day.
Originally published at Leilah McCracken's wonderful website,
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