I ran across this piece of mine recently, which was originally published elsewhere, and realized I had never posted it here.
Everything changes; everyone changes. The sun comes up and goes down, and tomorrow is a new day, and as our family grows and we finally bring our daughter home from the NICU, the synchronicity of finding this reminder of how hard it was to find balance when my son came home is striking. I’m reminded again that the Wheel keeps turning, and that we will find a balance, as long as we focus on our little family and keeping a spiritual center.
Originally published on the Family Wiccan Traditions website, January 2010
People say that having a baby changes everything. In our case, I don’t think anyone realized just how much it would change things.
Our son, “Acorn” was born 13 weeks early and spent 9 ½ months in the NICU. While the things that are wrong all appear to be things he will outgrow, he came home with his own miniature ICU suite – ventilator, oxygen, feeding tube, and private duty nursing.
Before Acorn, my husband and I mostly managed our spiritual lives independently, and my study with a women-only Dianic coven encouraged that. It was a great place for me at the time, but I never thought about how the dynamics of the group would work out once I had a child. (It turns out the answer is that the group just doesn’t work for me right now.)
It’s easy when you’re expecting a child to think, “Oh, I’m going to teach my child about the Gods – we’ll play outside a lot and go camping and learn about chakras, and play with fairies, and it’ll be easy!”
Nothing much in our lives right now is that easy, particularly not finding time for a spiritual life. We can’t just go camping over a long weekend – schedules are tight with a staff of nearly two dozen nurses, therapists, social workers, and teachers in and out of the house every month and five doctors to see regularly. And we can’t just run to the park with a child who, up until recently, needed a battery change every three hours.
Interestingly, though, all of the insanity has made it more important for our family to connect spiritually. It’s been important for my husband and me to work together to manage the energies that swirl around us, and to help Acorn learn to ground and shield and cope with so many different energies being thrown at him.
We’ve had to be creative about these things – because he’s on oxygen, we can’t have open flames near Acorn, and we can’t make much use of incense for fear of bothering his lungs (or the staff members with allergies).
We’ve been discreet about what things are said or done that some of our more devoutly religious (non-Pagan) staff members might see or hear. After all, it wouldd be impolite to distress them, and we really do need them – and finding people who are good with Acorn and trained to handle the medical aspects of things has been hard, so we don’t want to run them off.
It’s also been important to be very clear what things are important to us in terms of how we approach religion and spirituality, because none of the staff are Pagan (all of the day nurses are Catholic; we’re not sure about anyone else). We know that he will be introduced to a lot of different ideas (and the holidays have been proof of that beyond anything we’d imagined), and we need to be teaching him the things we believe, just as surely as they are – but in our own way, with love and joy and without the coercion we’ve seen in some of their methods.
All in all, the things Acorn has been through have brought us all closer together, and made us a more spiritual family. And in that respect, FWTI is the perfect place for us – a place where our family can be the center of our spiritual life, regardless of what else is going on.