“When the Gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers” – Oscar Wilde (via Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars)
I always dislike starting a new blog. It isn’t nearly like the excitement of starting a new journal, in fact, I find it much more akin to those awful awkward first days of school, where no one knows anyone so the instructor helpfully makes everyone stand up one at a time and try to blurt out enough of an introduction about themselves to “get to know” everyone.
In a way, I suppose, that an introduction/explanation post isn’t really necessary – I mean, there *is* an “About” page, right? Oh well, lets get on with this…
For those of you who *don’t* like to use a dictionary, allow me to explain:
The Pyrrhic Mother – Pyrrhic: adjective: success with heavy loss
(I assume, “the” and “mother” don’t really need explanation).
I admit here to using the word Pyrrhic just a wee bit inappropriately. Generally speaking, when one uses the term, they are speaking of victory in battle despite having incurred huge losses in order to obtain the victory. Suffering the death of a child is indeed a heavy loss, but this is about more than just that loss. I believe that I have a job to do. I have a relationship that is owed to the Gods. I made promises to certain deities and I have not been fulfilling those promises. I let day to day life get in the way, and so, slowly, and rather painfully, they have been removing the obstacles in my life that would continue to keep me from fulfilling those promises.
The death of my younger child in 2002 is what led me to the Gods, it was the catalyst for leaving an apathetic relationship with the God of Christianity, which had long been a one-sided, and to my perspective, a very unloving and distant relationship. I never felt as though I belonged to Him. I found Odin, and he found me (which is a story unto itself, that I will not go into now), and promises were made. A teacher, a shaman, was practically handed to me on a silver platter by Him, and being relatively young in the relationship, and still very naive about the whole situation, I thought I could continue to have a normal life *and* do whatever it was that Odin seemed to think I should be doing. I was wrong, and I have been paying the price for my arrogance at that assumption ever since.
I will give all of the gory backstory in other posts, it isn’t relevant right now. What is relevant right now is that over the course of 3 EVENTS, I was told, in no uncertain terms the following things:
1, that I had to give up living in continuous mourning for my lost child. I have had no contact with her since she died and found her way to Hel. But my Shaman has developed a relationship with her so in some small way, when I am emotionally able to hear it, I occasionally will get messages from her – either from my Shaman or from others who have relationships with Hel, who has passed on messages from her. But I had no choice, in order to do what They wanted me to do, I NEEDED to return to the land of the living. And that, I actually did.
2, that I would never, Ever, have another child, despite the best medical interventions health insurance could buy. First the vasectomy reversal didn’t work (fertility specialist verified), and then I developed Endometriosis, was discovered to be allergic to my husband’s sperm, *and* my uterus was hostile and killing off sperm as well. Then my husband and I (who are poly) both became involved with partners who were adamant they wanted nothing to do with continuing our romantic relationships if husband and I went through with fertility treatments to have a child. And then just to make certain I wouldn’t want to physically, an incident occurred that blew 2 of my lumbar disks, pinched both sciatic nerves, and damn near crippled me for almost a year.
Then about a year later, when I could finally walk again, I started getting heavily involved in my “meat life” and allowed my spiritual life to start sliding back to the realms of “if I have time”… and I never quite seemed to have the time. My relationships suffered – my relationship with my husband became strained. My relationship with my “second husband” became long distance, and then even LONGER distance, and then it too, became strained. Somewhere in all of this (again, posts for another day) my business took over my life – and that was when things started to crash for me, because I then ignored Everything to do with Them, and They were no longer willing to be patient with me.
In the summer of 2010, I walked the labyrinth and walked between the worlds for the very first time. I don’t remember exactly what the contents of those conversations were, but when I stepped out of the labyrinth and walked back into this world, all I could do was cry out “why do I have to lose so much? how much are they going to make me give up?” And the resounding answer – as much as it takes to get my attention. First, the third relationship I had started had to go. Then over the course of the next month, I almost lost my second relationship, and then my husband’s girlfriend delivered an ultimatum – her or me – and he actually thought about it for several days. Then I had to close my business because I was too depressed to function, let alone work 18 hours a day. I spent the rest of that summer in bed, curled up in a ball, trying to figure out (and ignoring the obvious) just why my life was suddenly collapsing around me, and being terrified I was losing everything. What I should have realized, was that the God’s, in their wisdom, were giving me an easy way out. And I, stupid meat sack that I am, chose not to take it.
And just to drive the point home, I think, all of the protections that had kept me from getting pregnant, failed – and at the end of that summer, I got pregnant with “the miracle baby”. You see, I couldn’t balance full time mother-hood *and* whatever it was the God’s needed me to do. But my oldest child will be 18 this year. I was *thisclose* to being done with my obligations to my children and then I would pretty much have been a free agent for time to dedicate to whatever God/dess walked into my life and thwapped me on the head. I was *told* not to have any more children. I was told by my second husband he wanted nothing to do with raising any more children – he was miserable about the whole idea. My first husband’s first suggestion was abortion – but I cut him off before he could finish the word. I still thought about it, but I couldn’t voice it. Then he did something that prevented me from having one, and that was all she wrote.
And once again, here I sit, wondering how I’m going to get myself out of this mess. You see, at the end of it all… I lost all of the essential parts of my marriage to my husband after the baby was born. Then I lost my uterus. I lost the scar I sheltered on my body as a reminder of the terrifyingly short life of my second child. I lost my connection to the Gods, however tentative and tenuous it was. 3 years down the line from their offer of an easy way out, I am struggling with how to disentangle my life so that I can get back to being where I need to be.
And now I have this child, this renewed contract for 16 more years of motherhood. 16 more years that I cannot dedicate my life fully to my Gods. 16 years that I promised Them, that I will now be incapable of following through on. 18 years when you add in the 2 that I have completely ignored them in favor of trying to save something that should have died a long time ago, ignored in favor of being a more attached and more attentive parent. Now I have this beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed, genetic throwback to my Nordic ancestry (her father and I both have families full of, brown hair, brown eyed eastern europeans and native americans in more recent family history). Her name means “gift of the goddess”. But was she a gift after so many years? Or was she a means to an end, a way to get me out and back on the path I belong on?
She is both. And that is the biggest struggle of all of this. She is both a gift, I believe, of my ancestors (thus the genetic throwback), and she is the Gods’ means to an end. I will only be able to give them part time service and dedication for the next 16 years, after ignoring them wholly for almost 3 years now. So she will eventually be responsible for the 18 years I will dedicate to her, she will have to pay that debt for me out of her lifetime. How that will be paid back, I don’t know, and it isn’t for me to say. That will be between her and the God’s when the time comes and the Haminga must be done, and the weregild will be paid. But, in her coming, she paved the way for much of my other life to be freed – the loss of the business, and then the loss of what was essential to my marriage – at this point we are married in name and finances only – any emotional or spiritual connection has been lost. So what energy I would normally have spent on the business and the marriage – that is what I now will be giving to the God’s. And then in 16 years when my contractual obligation to full time motherhood is up and the next “easy way out” comes, then I will be able to dedicate the rest of the energy to them that I will have to divert to her in the meantime.
Let’s just hope that this blog, among other daily/weekly/monthly practices, will keep me from having to pay the ultimate price again. If the God’s need me whole, I won’t no matter what I do. If they can use me broken, then both my child and my relationship with my second spouse are also a price I may have to pay in the future. I will be doing everything I can in the meantime to make sure I never have to pay that price.