Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

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Dump Etiquette

A few weeks ago, I took a big step in the world of fashion: I bought my first above-the-knee skirt (above? below? It’s shorter than my legs are, period.) I love wearing skirts, especially in the summer, especially if they have enough material to allow a little swirl in my twirl.

This skirt is all that and a bag of chips. It’s from Bootlegger, navy blue with colored anchors and cutesy shit all over it. I can wear it with literally anything. It even looks good wrinkled, not that I would know that. *ahem*

So last weekend, I was emptying our storage barn of garbage and recycling, getting ready to make a dump run – maybe make some money at the bottle depot. (To buy more pop and beer, of course. It’s the ciiiiiircle of liiiiiife.)

I don’t know what possessed me to decide that wearing the Skirt of Wonder to the dump was a great idea. Probably the same demon that convinced me to wear my lacy white underwear underneath it. I guess I was feeling good about myself.

So there I was, tossing bags of garbage and bottles into my car in a manner that would make a Tetris champion cry.

When I got to the dump, I had to unload a bag of recycling to get to the garbage underneath.

And then, a hurricane-force gale blew in from the coast of South America to make all hell break loose.

The big blue bag of bottles and cans tipped over, and all of my drinking problems scattered around the dump.

Have you ever been to a Walmart on a Saturday? Then you’ve been to our local dump on a Saturday.

I chased my recycling all over the gravel parking lot, hoping one of the thousand people there might help me, but alas. Also? It’s very difficult to grab errant recycling when you’re busy trying to keep your extra-twirly skirt (God why did I choose the extra-twirl?!) where it belongs.

I’m not saying I publicly exposed myself indecently – I’m just saying that Marilyn Monroe would have been embarrassed.

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"Really? Lacy white underwear to the dump? Oh, honey."

After a few moments of “The Carly Show”, I finally dumped my shit, re-packed my other shit and peeled out. To their credit, I didn’t see anyone staring after me.

Less than an hour later, I made $23 dollars at the Bottle Depot. Suck it, Marilyn.

I told Steve when we saw each other that evening, and we had a bit of a giggle. Then I moved on.

The very next day, we were at the grocery store. (Like I said, we had $23 fresh dollars.) We turned down the pet aisle and saw our friend Mik pushing her cart towards us, her 9-month pregnant belly being adorable. We smiled and chatted for a couple of minutes, and then she threw in this offhand comment – “Oh hey, I saw you at the dump the other day!”

“Oh!” I replied nonchalantly. And then I remembered. “…oh?”

She smiled compassionately. “Yyyyeaaahh.”

“I am so sorry you had to see that.” I’m surprised the sight of my booty didn’t send you into labor immediately.

She was full-out laughing now. “I thought you recovered very gracefully!”

In an attempt to change the subject, I *very gracefully* gestured to her belly and very loudly did my Brian Regan impersonation: “So when’s that BABY due, eh?!” #ProudDoula

What am I trying to say?

A.) Buy the cute skirt, no matter how insecure you are about your legs. Cause your legs are awesome.
B.) Don’t wear it to the dump.
C.) Even if you think you’re at a place where you don’t know anyone, you’re wrong. You live in a town with less than 10,000 people; you are never alone.
D.) Seriously, don’t wear a skirt to the dump.
E.) All of the above.

Without Compassion, We’re All Lost Babes #1000Speak

Today – February 20th, 2015 – is my due date.

As a birth doula, I know that due dates are not really a reliable standard of time. When I’m hired and given a due date, I consider myself on-call with my bag packed for the whole month surrounding it. Anything could happen.

But I’m here, I made it to February 20th in one piece.

I can just imagine it now, my precious little surprise greeting me and the rest of the world. Gracing us with their innocence and wisdom and poop and neediness. Seeing his or her eyes for the first time, as they realize that they’ve known me their whole life – they just didn’t know it until today.

I can just imagine it.

But only just.

Because today is my due date, and I am not pregnant.

**Trigger Warning**

I started bleeding 3 weeks after the tests had confirmed that we were going to be parents, 1 week after we told all of our friends and family.

To lose a baby is very common, I know, as if that eases anything.
Not as common, however, is the way in which we lost our baby.

It wasn’t really a baby to begin with. Hold on, hackles, technically it’s true. My body experienced a “blighted ovum”, which means that the egg and sperm never fully met up properly, although it traveled into my uterus and convinced my hormones that things were clicking along quite nicely. I felt everything a woman feels in the first trimester, all the while an empty sac of tissue was floating around inside of me like a lava lamp, without a care in the world.

My body was so convinced it was pregnant that it would not miscarry. My traitorous, confused body would keep changing and growing unless it was convinced otherwise. And chances were, if I let it continue, I might not be able to get pregnant in the future.

I was forced to choose between a surgery and a drug called Misoprostol. I’ll never forget the doctor who gave us this choice. She was a smaller, older woman – I figure she’s been a doctor for a long time, probably been the bearer of bad news for countless people.
Yet, she had tears in her eyes as she hugged us and tucked the envelope of pills into my hand that she’d smuggled out of the lab because she knew we couldn’t pay for them.

Nothing like the doctor who confirmed my pregnancy at the beginning, whose clipboard-scanning first words were, “And do you want to keep it?”

Compassion.

I chose the drug out of fear and familiarity: I have never had surgery before, and I know how to take pills.

Within half an hour of swallowing them, I vomited them and my sandwich into a bucket in the living room.

I grimaced when I realized the only other option left to me. I took the 4 remaining pills out of the envelope and awkwardly pushed each one inside my cervix, hoping that they wouldn’t get lost somewhere. (I never took Biology, and vaginas are so mysterious.)

Steve held my other hand and kept his red-veined eyes on my face the entire time.

Compassion.

How ironic, I thought, that the way this “pregnancy” started is similar to how it will end.

I didn’t know if or when the pills would start to take affect, so I put a pad on, and we cuddled on the couch watching TV, petting the cat. Anything to ward off the thoughts of Death and the Unknown that were facing us.

We went to bed, and I felt okay. Maybe I’d done it wrong.

Hours later, I was awakened by the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. My whole body shook as I made a hunching crawl down the stairs to our bathroom. I felt like an atom that was about to split in half; I had no control.

For the next hour, the bathroom was my home. I kicked Steve out; I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want him to see how I was being melted down in an offering to a cruel god that was only appeased by blood, sweat, tears, shit and vomit.

In a haze, I remembered the other pills. The Tylenol-3’s. I reached out for them like a life raft, barely taking a moment to read the instructions. An eternity of 20 minutes passed, and finally I felt a tinge of sweet relief. I was able to gather the strength to take some toilet paper and reach down between my legs.

The pink tissue of my not-baby had to be collected and taken to the hospital for analysis. Something cold and hard and clinical came over me, and I stopped crying as I stared at the mass that had been propelled from me so violently.

Do what has to be done. And try not to be a crybaby about it, would you, please?

I put the pieces of myself into a pad and a ziploc bag. Took a shower. Stared at my face in the mirror. There was nothing in my eyes. I had just ended my very wanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t I be falling apart?

Compassion.

We’d been assured that the whole “process” would take 24 hours or less. My body continued to shake, rattle, roll and bleed out for 3 weeks.

After going to the same doctor in desperation, she welcomed and treated us even though we weren’t technically her patients. After using a clamp the size of bigger-than-my-pelvis (Steve faithfully holding my hand without even a swoon), she found the source of the problem: the sac had gotten stuck, of all things, inside my cervix – causing my uterus to contract and bleed nonstop in attempts to get it out.

I wish I had chosen the surgery.

I hated my body. I grit curses in my teeth against it daily; first ya can’t hold onto a pregnancy, and now ya can’t get rid of it? Friendship over.

Tylenol Codeine was never not in my system. When I ran out of pills, I tried not to buy more. The following 3 days of fever, aches, shakes and self-loathing persuaded me that maybe I SHOULDN’T buy more.

In the midst of all this, Laurie Works dropped everything in her life to come be with us for a weekend. Work, new boyfriend, long flights – didn’t matter. It was time for poutine, Parks & Recreation, laughing and crying about the shittyness of it all.

Compassion.

When we fell into each other’s arms at the airport, we didn’t let go for a solid 60 seconds. When we came up for air, there was a man and a woman standing near us with their hands raised and fingers spread.

“That’s a 10! 10 out of 10 greeting right there.”

It made me think of that end scene of Love Actually. Airport Arrivals truly are one of humanity’s finer ideas.

What a beautiful weekend. There was no pressure on me to do anything, and the one thing I really wanted to do was have a funeral at the beach.

So we did. We found the perfect balloon, tied some love notes to it, and then waded out into the water to let it go.

I watched and watched and watched that balloon sail away until I could watch no more. Sometimes I feel like I’m still watching, still waiting – but for what, I don’t know.

Compassion.

After Laurie returned home, my life became a series of goodbyes.

Monday: deleting the pregnancy apps and resetting the Period Tracker app on my phone.
Tuesday: calling the the local midwifery clinic and letting them know I would no longer be needing their services.
Wednesday: packing the maternity clothes and newborn onesies away.
Thursday-Sunday: getting lost in Netflix and my bed, trying to forgive ignorant people who said, “Well, you’re young, you can always try again!”

Steve could no longer take any more time off work. His first day back, he came home, laid down on the living room rug and cried into the fibers. I laid next to him, all out of tears for the day. I whispered to him that I’d gotten the call from Starbucks in Smithers; our prayers had been answered, I’d gotten hired, and it was time to move back to my hometown.

And now here we are. Not exactly the way we thought we’d be, but we’re still here. I am so grateful.

Next week, I’m getting a tattoo that commemorates our loss. As always, he’ll be there, holding my hand and watching.

Next month, I’m going to start donating my time and food once a week to a program called Meals For Moms. It will help me to know that I’m helping feed exhausted families with new babies, and in turn, helping those new babies.

Being the village.

A Help Boomerang.

Amen.

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This New Year

On this day in 1999, I was fearing for my life.

Before The Walking Dead or Katniss Everdeen had even been thought of, I was preparing for my world to become apocalyptic. I was 12.

15 years later, Y2K still hasn’t happened. The Mayan calendar didn’t really mean much either. However, we face our own little apocalypses each year, don’t we? They have nothing to do with ancient prophecy or computer malfunction. They just happen without warning, and change us forever. But if you’re reading this, you’re still here. You’re a God-blessed survivor even if you don’t feel like one.

I’ll be honest, 2014 was a rough one. Misunderstandings, loneliness, lost jobs and a lost babe, confusion and clarity alternating like a roller coaster ride.

Occasionally, the darkness cracked and some light peered in. It’s why I’m still here too.

Can I tell you about them? Can I give you some hope? Will my thoughts mean anything to you?

Tell you what. Keep reading, and when you get to the bottom, you’ll see a link to my best friend’s site, where she’ll also be reminiscing about the positive things that happened in her life this year.  I am so thankful for her. Best friends for at least 20 years now – the kind of friends that drop everything and get on a plane to go be with each other when there’s a crisis.
We are women forged by fire, but rather than sacrificing ourselves to be burned up, we’re going to allow our hearts and minds to flow and curve like water, quenching the heat, refreshing our souls, going forward.

Don’t let your hearts remain stagnant or burnt. Winter is here, but Spring is coming. Join us. Tell us your stories of 2014, and what your dreams are for 2015. Alone we are enough, but together we are stronger.

~

This year, I witnessed another precious little girl-soul come into this world. She took her first breath in the glowing light of an early July morning, in her own nursery at her parents house. A holy moment.

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Soon, my goal will be accomplished through a little piece of paper that says “Carly Hutton, Certified Birth Doula” so that I can keep drinking in those holy moments, keep helping those other women forged by fire become mothers – even if I never become one myself.

~

In September, I was a bridesmaid for the first time. It was easier than I thought it would be. I put on a purple dress, did my makeup, and ripped only 2 pairs of panty hose while someone else far more capable did my hair.
My former roommate and bride of the day gave me a pearl necklace and earrings that she made herself. Treasure, only gained by letting a granule of sand itch the shit out of you until you’re pure.

joanna wedding 3

I witnessed 2 of my best friends commit their lives to each other. They sang their vows and yet they still wanted ME to sing a song for them. So I did. It was called “Dancing in the Minefields” because that’s not only what marriage is, but life itself.

joanna wedding

That day was the most I’ve smiled since I lost our baby. I mean, I kinda legally had to for photogenic reasons, but it was the first time I WANTED to.

joanna wedding 2~

I passed my 4-year anniversary of blogging, and at least half of my 200 followers are real people.

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And finally, we moved back to the town where I grew up. I did enjoy most of the Vancouver experience, but home it was not. Too much water; my fire almost went out.

home

Here in Smithers, I am known. By the people, by the snow-capped mountain, by the back roads and the river wild.

And? My new house has a bathtub.

~

It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s only a matter of one day’s difference, and yet, it holds so much shiny promise. All the shit we’ve gone through recently, we can finally say, “That happened last year.”

I used to be the kind to make resolutions. Not anymore. But for the sake of being traditional:

In 2015, I resolve to lose weight.

The weight of condemnation and shame and guilt of decisions past. The weight of trying to be liked by all and keep everyone happy. The weight of perfection. I want to lose it. And if, in doing so, it prompts me to live a healthier life that actually affects scale, then so be it.

And in 2015, I resolve to be the 7-11 in Smithers on Christmas Eve.

It was the only place open and serving food past 6pm when my husband, my mom and I were starving. Hot dogs never tasted so good.

No matter what store it is, though, I always feel a spark of hope rise whenever I see a glowing red OPEN sign. Knowing that I’ll be able to get what I came for, what I need, today.

That’s how I want others to feel when they see me. Open. Mind, heart and arms, ready to do messy, beautiful business at any given time. Never turned away.

As this year ends, I have high hopes for 2015.

Hopes that suddenly, everyone will have an a-ha moment. An a-ha that realizes we need something else. Something different. An a-ha that knows we are meant for more than what we have been content with living.

Hopes that, this new year, shooting up schools and shooting up veins will no longer be the go-to solution for long unanswered cries for help and understanding.

Hopes that, this new year, the Battle of the Sexes will run out of ammunition.

Hopes that, this new year, we will see through skin colours, to the hearts and minds that brew underneath. Every culture and race has its heroes and assholes; let’s stand up and recognize. I repeat: PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN THEIR SKIN AND REPUTATION AND STEREOTYPE. CHECK. YOURSELF.

Hopes that, this new year, toddlers and teenagers on the brink of dreams and inspiration – adults burned low on chips and bills – elderly melting on the ice floes of their last lives – will all be valued and held accountable and loved for who they are.

Hopes that, this new year, the corrupt will be exposed and the honourable will be exalted.

Hopes that, this new year, these words will ring true:

“And in despair, I hung my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men….’
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Let it be so.

:: A Year in my BFF’s Life ::

Behbeh Love Part 3

**Trigger Warning: talk about possible miscarriage, and all the feelings within that.**

Sohry aboot that cliffhanger, eh?

Part One    Part Two

Last Wednesday, I parked at Valley Imaging Clinic, 10 minutes before I was supposed to check in for my ultrasound. I sat in my car. I waited, I listened to music, I cried. I had been bleeding off and on for 5 days now, and I was still waiting for my blood hormone results, and I just…I needed to know if my baby was okay. Every minute felt like an eternity.

…I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours, and you are mine…

So why was everything so quiet?

I laid on the table in a dimly lit room, trying to just keep breathing, trying to keep the cushion from sliding out underneath my hips while the stone-faced tech ran a wand over my jellied belly. Searching, searching, searching…

She said I had a very full bladder. A little too full, perhaps. She told me to go empty it so that she could do a vaginal ultrasound. I was prepared for this possibility. I saw Jennifer Lopez’s The Back-up Plan. Whatever would give me that heartbeat.

More cold gel…an aching probe…this will be worth it, this will be worth it, this will be worth it…

So why was everything so quiet?

“When’s your estimated due date again?”

“February 20th. I should be almost 8 weeks now.”

“You’ll need to go back and confer with your doctor. What I’m seeing does not indicate 8 weeks.”

I tried to keep the tears back. “Okay? So..nothing’s wrong, though? It could just be too early to get a heartbeat, right?”

“Just make sure you talk to your doctor. You can clean yourself up now.”

…Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me…

It took 7 minutes. To go in and come out. Really, though, it was 7 years.

I sat in my car again, and decided to call the walk-in clinic, hoping they would have my blood hormone results.

“Your first test showed your hormones at around 13,000. Now they’re over 18,000, so everything looks good. Dr. Aspinall will be in at 1:30pm today if you’d like to talk to him.”

I nearly cried again with relief. “Thank you. I’ll be in at 1:30.”

For the next 2 hours, I distracted myself with food and the superfluous lives of celebrities in magazines at the Library. I gave a brief update on Facebook, then answered the flood of caring texts and comments.

I arrived at the walk-in clinic exactly at 1:30. The clinic was empty, and I rejoiced. When Dr. Aspinall heard that my blood hormones were still going up, he rejoiced.


(Source)

 Not even kidding. He did the double-fist pump. I officially loved him after that.

He had the ultrasound report faxed over (yes, faxed) and we looked at it together.

Not only had there not been a heartbeat, there hadn’t even really been a baby to see. They base it by seeing what they call a “yolk sac” and “fetal pole”, which is kind of a fancy word for the spine. Therefore, it could not be called a “viable fetus” yet. Either something was wrong, and I would miscarry – or it was simply too early to tell.

Dr. Aspinall gave me another requisition to take back to Valley so that I could book another ultrasound in a couple of weeks, as well as a Bio Med form to have more blood taken later in the week.

It was 4pm by the time I got home. Steve got home not long after that, and we collapsed into a hug for awhile. The kind with no words, only touch and requited feeling.

Steve: “We’ll keep trusting the blood and the size of your boobs. Cause, honey, those things are still growing.”

 

 

People have been amazing. Texts, calls, private messages, stopping by the house to chat. Laurie even went so far as to order me cupcakes from my favourite shop. Oh yeah, and she’s approximately 2,000 miles away from me. So she’s pretty amazing.

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Days passed. I stopped bleeding and started puking. Hope returned, and every time a wave of nausea washed over me, I smiled. Baby Button is still here, and they want me to know it.

My in-laws opened their swimming pool, like an oasis in the desert. I used to give the Israelites a hard time for all their Old Testament complaining, but now I know better. I’m not even IN desert heat, I have food and water at my disposal constantly, and now I have a swimming pool. I would have been the bitchiest bitch of all those Israelites. Like, open-up-the-earth-and-swallow-me-whole-God-cause-at-least-it’ll-be-cooler-down-there-thanks.

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Not that you really wanted to know, but swimming really helps with my bowel movements.

 

Yesterday, Steve and I went to the hospital for my very first Maternity Clinic appointment. All of my walk-in clinic and blood hormone and ultrasound info had been sent over to them, so they wanted to create a Health History on the both of us. It went pretty well. Dr. Hansen told me to get my blood hormone done again that day, and that he’d get me an ultrasound earlier than the 31st. It all sounded awesome to me.

Until.

“Receptionist So-and-So, can you call over to Valley and tell them to get us an ultrasound this week? Chance of miscarriage is very high with her.”

“Of course, Doctor.” *beep boop beep* “Okay, Carly, you now have an ultrasound on Wednesday. Take your blood test today, and call us on Friday with all your results.”

Something in me went numb after that.

I had my blood taken, and was told I could check my online results that evening.

I went home and slept for 3 1/2 hours. I didn’t realize it then, but I was done. Giving up. Letting it get to me. I was back in the wilderness of my earlier years, the mindset of hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst. I forgot to trust the blood and the boobs like Steve told me to.

Even reading my results later didn’t phase me. Oh awesome, my hormones are up from 18,000 to over 28,000. Doesn’t matter. I must have done something wrong; now it’s over.

 

Last night, we lay in bed and talked. Well, more like I had a breakdown and Steve held me. Then we talked. I poured out all my fears, not even realizing that I was talking about this miscarriage as though it was a “when,” not an “if.”

What if I’m home alone when it happens? What if I can see our baby? What do you DO with a miscarried baby? I’m scared of the pain, but I’m even more scared of the After. I’m scared I’ll just fall apart and never get out of bed again. You deserve more than that. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I want to be strong. I want to be brave. But holding it in makes me dissolve, and what if holding that stress in is bad for the baby? But what if letting it out like this is bad for the baby too? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

And then he cried, and spoke, and I was shaken out of my fearful stupor.

“I’m not even thinking that way right now. Our baby is still alive and growing in there, and I still believe in it! Do YOU? Whatever happens, you are loved and we WILL get through this TOGETHER. You will NEVER be a burden or a disappointment to me, got it?” He rubbed and kissed my belly over and over, whispering prayers into our child’s unformed ears.

 

Tomorrow is my next ultrasound. I feel like a broken record. But I’m STILL not bleeding, and my hormones are STILL going up, and my stripper cans are STILL getting bigger every day. And my Father has a plan that I WILL be able to walk in.

When I look into your eyes, it’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise – well, there’s so much they hold.
And just like them old stars, I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are; How old is your soul?

Well, I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough,
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up.

And when you’re needing your space to do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting to see what you find.

Cause even the stars, they burn
Some even fall to the earth;
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.
Our differences do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah we got a lot at stake.
And in the end, you’re still my friend
At least we did intend for us to work,
We didn’t break, we didn’t burn, we had to learn
How to bend without the world caving in.
I had to learn what I’ve got and what I’m not and who I am.

I won’t give up on us, God knows I’m tough enough.
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.
No, I won’t give up. I’m still looking up.

(Jason Mraz, I Won’t Give Up On Us)

 

 Part Four

Behbeh Love, Part 1

As you might be aware, Father’s Day has always been rather…unpleasant for this lady. Last year was all right because, for the first time, I had someone to call “Dad”. Someone to hug, give a gift to, and spend the day actually not thinking about my real dad.

My hobbit-y little F.I.L.

My hobbit-y little fatha-in-law

This year, however, everything changed. My husband, Mr. Steve, found out that he’s going to be a father.  

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That plus sign is no joke.

The recently downloaded BabyBump app on my phone has encouraged me to start a Pregnancy Diary, “even if you can only write down a couple sentences a day.”

Clearly, my technology hasn’t been stalking me nearly enough, or else they’d already KNOW that not only do I NOT need encouragement to start a Diary about my Pregnancy, but that I have a thousand things to say about it already. A couple sentences my steadily expanding ass.

First things first. How it happened. Well, one night, Steve and I felt a little frisky and before you know it– JUST KIDDING. Here’s how it really happened.

I was 4 days late. And I only knew this because I have ANOTHER app that helps me keep track of this banal and depressing information.

Looking at App on a Normal Day: Oh yay, 5 days of freedom and joy left, wooooo.
Looking at App A Couple Weeks Ago: Hmm. Strange?

We are one of those couples who is VERY attuned to my cycle, and prepare to batten down the hatches on a regular basis. We have no idea how those “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” people exist.

So we decided that I would take a home test on Father’s Day. We had some leftover from a bulk Costco purchase, because– like I said — we’re a little jumpy.

Verbally, we had decided on my taking the test the morning of Father’s Day Sunday, before we went to church.

Saturday morning, I took the test without telling Steve. Partially because I was 90% sure I was going to get a positive and I wouldn’t be able to focus in church AT ALL with that fresh information – but the other 10% just wanted to get on with my life if it was a negative.

I’ve taken at-home tests before. I’m used to peeing all over it and my hand, and then waiting 3 minutes for the result to appear in the window.

However, this time, from the very SECOND the stick got wet, it turned into a plus sign. I had three thoughts: either I had peed on it wrong, or it was old and faulty, or I was SO SO SO SO VERY OBVIOUSLY WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT having a baby.

After washing my hands, I texted Emily, my friend and nurse who had her first baby last summer. She reassured me that I was indeed pregnant, and that she was so excited for me.

Me: Wow! Okay! I guess I should tell Steve! This is crazy!
Emily: WHAT? You told ME before you told STEVE?!
Me: Well, I wanted to be SURE before I completely change his life! He’s still sleeping!
Emily: Well, wake him up right NOW!!!

So, with surprisingly sure steps, I clutched the pregnancy test in my hand and climbed back into bed, sandwiching Steve between myself and Walter the Cat. I was sure he would feel my heart pumping out of my chest as I spooned up against him.

Apparently, both Walter and I were pretty fidgety, because after a few minutes, Steve very sleepily mumbled, “It’s Saturday morning, my only morning to sleep in, and my two little ones are keepin’ me awake…”

He’d practically opened the door for me.

I pulled the pregnancy test out, and said, “Actually, you have three little ones now.”

To be continued…

Part Two

Marching Onward!

So who knew March Madness was a real thing? I certainly didn’t. And in the honour of this being my 100TH BLOG POST (!!!!!) I will share little blips of everything that has been truly Madness-ing over here. Vignettes, you might call them. But trust me when I say there’s no basketball involved whatsoever.

PRE-DESOLATION OF STEVE:

ONE. I made a shirt. I made a SHIRT.

Like, I took 2 old holey shirts and put them together to make a NEW shirt, with nothing but scissors, cross-stitching thread, needles, and my imagination. It’s survived the laundry machines twice now, so I guess my work was pretty legit.

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My mother is so proud, she’s ready to open my very own Etsy business.

TWO. I am mastering the Katniss braid.

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Thank you, Pinterest. I’m feeling pretty confident about moving on to knitting the drool-inducing Katniss shawl now. #not

THREE. Steve taught little people how to ukulele, and they were all, “I love you, Mr. Steve!”, and it was enough to squeeze my heart into a million leetle Lego pieces.

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That super sexy man kneeling on the floor is mine and you can’t have him.

FOUR. Walter met Keyboard Cat.

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As a result, it made him very introspective about his own life and where it was headed.

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FIVE. We found a Lighthouse, and it took every ounce of my self-control to NOT hop over all of the government fences trying to keep me out of it.

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There was even an eagle, and everything was perfect.

SIX. My doula cards came in the mail,

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and my months-long dream of having Frozen in my possession came true.

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SEVEN. Toilet paper went on sale.

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EIGHT. We joined a Motown band! I have no picture proof yet, but believe me, it’s happening.
Some dear Catholic friends of ours know of an elementary school with a desperate need for a gym, so a fundraising event called “Night At the Apollo” has been formed, and our band has an hour-long set. We’re pretty excited, because, as it turns out, it actually IS possible to team up with people who have different backgrounds than you do in order to make good stuff happen for kids. (I’m lookin’ at chu, WorldVision.)

Also, I’m excited simply because, after all this time, my inner Aretha and outer Diana Ross (at least when it comes to hair) will get a chance to shine as I sing R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and I Say A Little Prayer For You in a little black dress. Ohhhhh, picture proof is COMING.

POST-DESOLATION OF STEVE:

NINE. We are the worst car-jackers in the world.

On Monday night, I got invited over to Laura’s house to watching Catching Fire. I was excited because I so needed a JHutch/JLaw fix.

Steve, being too tired to join us, walked me out to my car. Steve, being too tired to join us, promptly locked my purse, my phone and both sets of my keys INSIDE my car.

We weren’t worried. It’s happened before (although maybe not exactly like that), and if worse came to worst, we had BCAA, which would get us a free unlocking from a tow truck.

First, he tried screwdrivers to pick the lock. And then Allen keys. And then there was talk of breaking the lock and him replacing it for me. And then I checked our closet and it had ONE wire hanger for us to decimate.

I must also include the fact that we are doing this in broad daylight, by the main road – not secluded in our own driveway. Anyone who doesn’t know that this is my car would think we are stealing it, and it is prime time for everyone in the neighbourhood to be coming home from work.

We got double-takes, triple-takes, slow downs, but ultimately were completely ignored and left to our car-jacking in peace. People these days!

For 25 minutes, I stood there, putting pressure on a screwdriver to separate the rubber lining of my car door so that Steve could snake the wire hanger through the space. Since my car is from 1994, there are no lock latches, just plastic stubs that push up and down manually, so most of our work was spent manually trying to figure out the physics of the angle we needed to make a hook that would apply enough pressure to lift the lock.

It was all very complicated. BUT. WE. DID IT!!! Without arguing or getting annoyed with each other. We’ve SO got this “being married” thing down.

TEN. I have officially been dubbed The Evil Galactic Babysitter from the planet Ookgukshuknar7DANGEROUS.

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At least, that’s what I’ve been told by a quartet of boys who belong to my pastors.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know how to play with boys. I did not grow up with any, at all. I like superhero movies, and that’s about it. So, during Spring Break, I have been responsible for entertaining 3 Calvins + a Hobbes, and “superhero movie” is exactly what happens. I make them dress up in costumes a la Iron Man and Wolverine, and then I film them attacking each other on my iPhone. Sometimes, they make me the villain. All the times, they can’t wait  to see themselves on the screen.

I hear things. Strange, strange things.

“But I’m ALLERGIC to water! I’m the only person in the world who will die if I drink it!”
“This might sound weird but…my wife is bigger than me.”
“Lie of the liger, sing lie of the liger!” “Sing Eye of the Tiger?” “YEAH LIE OF THE LIGER!!!!!”

But on Tuesday, my strength of character was tested beyond anything I have EVER faced:

I. BUILT. A. SAFARI. JEEP.

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They coloured it, I put on the Lion King soundtrack to psych myself up, and then I cut all the pieces out and somehow attached each piece together like a 3-D puzzle of torture with NO instructions – just the help of the oldest boy. And THEN I let them bring up all their stuffies, and they created houses out of lamps and bookshelves and blankets for each one of them because when you go on African Safari, you don’t just go on African Safari — YOU GO ON AFRICAN SAFARI. WITH ELTON JOHN. AND SIMBA AND TIMON AND PUMBAA. AND YOU TALK ABOUT MUFASA’S DEATH BECAUSE IT STILL HURTS YOU INSIDE AND YOU FIELD QUESTIONS LIKE, “IF MUFASA WENT TO HEAVEN WHEN HE DIED, DID SCAR GO TO HELL WHEN HE DIED?” LIKE A PRO BECAUSE MUFASA TOLD YOU TO “REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE” AND YOU ARE THE Evil Galactic Babysitter from the planet Ookgukshuknar7DANGEROUS AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.

ELEVEN. I don’t mean to sound like an obnoxious hipster, but Jillette Johnson and Wakey!Wakey! are quite amazing, but maybe you’ve never heard of them.

Honestly, we’d never really heard of them either, but thanks to some awesome people named Kim & Kyle, we were treated to this concert at the Media Club in Vancouver.

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(Favourite Performances: Cameron, Creep, Peter Pan, True North — but all of it was amazing.)

After her show, I went up to her and said, “I sincerely hope that there is a baby in my tummy right now, just so that your concert can be the first concert they ever heard.” And then we shared a hug and a little tear and everything was magical.

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(Favourite Performances: War Sweater, Square Peg Round Hole & Almost Everything.)

Like, this music is all the Buttons are listening to lately, and our lives are so much better for it.

TWELVE. We have been invaded by ants, and nothing is okay.

I spent all day yesterday in downtown Vancouver, and last night I came home with takeout dinner to discover our house has been turned upside down by none other than Steve and his dad.

Now, let me back up for a sec.

We’ve had weird things happen in our house before. That’s because it’s basically a two-car garage that was converted into a living space, and its entire legality has not been verified.

When I say “converted”, I say it in the sense like, “Yes, he found the Lord, but every once in awhile, on a bad day, he’ll go back down to the street corner to get another hit of that sweet, sweet crack cocaine because nobody’s perfect.”

Sometimes, the roof leaks when it rains really hard. After we were away for 2 weeks during Christmas holidays, we came home to find a snail living in our couch, and he’d made a journey worthy of Middle Earth in the meantime.

ImageAnd now, apparently, the ants have found a hole in our wall. Steve first noticed them when Walter started doing the Macarena, the Nae-Nae AND the Harlem Shake in an attempt to get them off of him. (No, Steve did not film this for me, because obviously HE does not want us to be internet famous!!! *weeps* )
Everything that was on the floor is off the floor, nothing is in its proper place, and I feel a little lost. (I guess that basically describes an actual garage.) As I’ve sat here typing in the past two hours, I’ve had to squish TWO ants that thought it would be okay to waltz across my computer screen.

The upside?  Our motivation for Spring Cleaning has been super, super, SUPER re-located.

So there you have it. March 2014, and my 100th blogging post. It’s been a pretty good time.

I’m so ready for blossoms and camping and being Aretha and some life-changing Spring. What are you ready for?

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” — John Ruskin.

My Sacred Scared, Inspired by Glennon Melton @ Momastery.com

Last week, one of my favourite writers and secret soul-mates, Glennon Melton, birthed a phenomenal blog series called “Sacred Scared.”  It’s this groundbreaking idea that we as people tend to look up to bestselling authors and bloggers, thinking that they all have their lives together — so that must certainly mean that we cannot use our own voices until we’ve got our shit together too. Glennon asked 10 different authors to share an untouched photo of themselves, along with their deepest, secretest fear. She wanted to inspire everyone else to know and believe that EVERYONE has no idea what they’re doing and EVERYONE can still show up and start changing lives with who they are and what they have to say. (You can read about it here.)

It’s working. So many others are sharing their Sacred Scared, and now I’m joining the club. I feel awkward and complain-y and definitely more than a little shaky, but I trust that I belong here.

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Hi, I’m Carly Butler Hutton, or Button, if I’m being cutesy. I live and blog and make music near Vancouver, British Columbia with my husband Steve of 17 months, and I’m afraid that when it comes to marriage and God and life itself, I’m doing it wrong.

I was raised in a single-parent, only-child, fundamentalist Christian, God-is-coming-to-judge-us-all-by-the-year-2000 family. Not a man to be found. We girls had only ourselves and our wits, and it was up to us to survive the coming Apocalypse. I honestly thought I would not live past 13 years of age, maybe 16 if I was lucky. I was prepared to live off the grid, off the land, and off the love of just my mom and maybe God if he was generous.

And I did, for 4 years. To the locals, I was “that child living with her crazy mom out behind the mountain.” To me, I was just a dead girl walking. If The Hunger Games had been a thing when I was growing up, I would have changed my name to Katniss and learned how to use a bow and arrow instead of a gun and a snowmobile. A small part of me still wants to do just that.

In keeping with such fears, I fostered no hopes, planted no dreams. What was the point of making plans for the future, fantasizing about love, when it was all going to dissolve to ash anyway?

I lived in this state of half-awakeness for a long time. It wasn’t until 2008, after a decade of delusion, that I finally woke up and said, “ENOUGH! I am going to make my own life, and if you and God don’t like it, Mom, then you can both just lump it!” 3 years later, after a head-aching debacle with the Canadian and US immigrant governments (which I’m TOTALLY going to write a book about one day!), I was off and running.

You might think that this is my Sacred Scared, this weird past of paranoia and neglect.

But it’s not. Because of that weird past of paranoia and neglect, my Sacred Scared is right now.

I got married?
I have a real car and a real house and a real cat and a real man to look after?
I live in a city that I have to drive around in?
I have friends, near and far, that care about me?
I have a wireless internet connection and an iPhone and food available to me whenever I need it?
I help babies come into the world for a living?

It’s so normal and terrifying and I’m going to screw it up.

My Sacred Scared is that one day, the other shoe is going to drop, and I’ll realize that the old way, the apocalypse way, the depend-only-on-yourself-because-the-world-is-the-enemy way is the ONLY WAY I know how to live. That this little life I’ve managed to carve out here is my very own Matrix and I’m the glitch that will crash the system.

I want this life. I want it so bad. I want my husband, I want to have his babies, I want to write a book, and eat FroYo, and make music, and walk along the ocean, and see new movies, and sing in church and help other people give their babies life! It’s a dream come true.

But living with a man can be hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. He is a delightful noise with lovable dirt all over it, and if I accidentally feed him anything nutty, he will turn blue and maybe die. Together, we create a beautiful mess that I don’t want anyone to see, but I’m sure everyone can recognize.
He adores me, and I think I adore him back…what do I do with that?
And babies…well, babies are just precious little rolls of goo that steal your heart and drain your life away, so I’ve heard. I’m petrified of them and in love with them at the same time?
Then there’s God, who I am pretty sure has rescued me from a lifetime of crap, but who I am also pretty sure is 1000% done with my lifetime AND my crap – and He’s just waiting for me to do something good with it.

Fantasy is manageable. Real life is terrifying.

But every day, I’m going to do my best to show up to my own tiny, normal little life. When I wake up in the morning, I want to look into my husband’s sleepy face and kiss his dry lips and tell myself I am out of the woods. For real. Steve is good, and God is good, and this day is going to be Scary, Sacred and Good too.the next right thing

Brutifully Yours,

Carly

How I Became a Jesus Feminist Without Really Trying

ImageSome of you may have seen this photo on my Facebook and Instagram feed yesterday, and I can almost hear the collective nods across the interwebs that affirm, “Yes, I know exactly what and who you’re talking about!” but I’m betting there are still more going, “Huh?”

I’ll start from the beginning.

Last June, my best and longest friend Laurie was here for a visit. When we’re apart, we’re constantly sharing things on each other’s walls, things that we just know the other person will love because we love it and it’s awesome. (Our adventures on Bitstrips are our newest obsession.) And when we’re together, like we were for a week this summer, we spend mornings drinking our warm cuppa’s while browsing the sites that we love so much, sharing them together.

One morning, she started mentioning a name. Sarah Bessey.

“Who’s that?” I said.

“You don’t know who Sarah Bessey is?! She lives practically down the street from you! OMG I have so many blogs to show you!”

Thus began my journey that would lead me here, to this newly found Jesus Feminism. Since that fateful June day, I have been reading all of Sarah’s updates faithfully and laughing or crying or pumping my fist with each one of them. She’s like a literary soul mate. The fact that we do live literally only an hour away from each other is both amazing and heartbreaking. So close and yet still so far!

Anyhow, through my reading of her, I’ve learned that for the past while, she’s been writing a book called Jesus Feminist. And it just released yesterday. As you might imagine, in certain circles, the title would be a little hair-raising. But to a mischievous person such as myself, it intrigues me.

Now before I can fully relate why I KNOW I’m a Jesus Feminist, I must share a sad little story.

In the excitement of this book release, I made that above photo, knowing and believing that TODAY I was going to possibly meet Sarah Bessey. Her first stop in her book release tour is at Relate Church in Surrey, a mere 20 minutes from my house. I looked it up and dropped a pin on it. The only thing I couldn’t find was what time it started. I looked all over Sarah’s page, the Relate Church website, and found nothing. As soon as I could, which was only this morning because I HAVE BEEN SO CONSUMED WITH LUSH TRAINING LATELY AND NOTHING ELSE, I phoned the church office to see if they knew anything.

They did. And when I called, it was just starting, ending at 11:30am, which at the time I wrote this, was one minute ago.

I don’t know why I assumed it would be an evening event, but I did. So I didn’t insure my car or try to find a bus route or call a friend. I was totally unprepared and now my dream is derailed. Sometimes, being an adult is hard.

So, to ease the pain and self-pity, I’ve put Ed Sheeran’s “+” album on in the background, and now I’m excited to share my heart on this touchy issue.

Why am I a Jesus Feminist?

Because I believe that Jesus loves women. And girls and ladies and LGs and chicks and broads and crones and dames and housewives and powersuits and singles and everything in between.

Because I don’t believe that I have to choose between being a Christian or being a feminist.

Because I am a woman and I love Jesus and I think women are one of the most beautiful creations I’ve ever laid my eyes on and God created them and how can that not be connected?

It’s really that simple.

However, I also believe that the words feminism and feminist have been slightly corrupted.

When I call myself a feminist, I am not calling men inferior. I am not hating men.

I am merely saying that, in my way of thinking, men and women are equal, in beauty and strength and skills and wonder and words and power. And I think Jesus and Sarah Bessey would say the same thing.

How dare do I presume to speak for Jesus, right?

Allow me to introduce 3 women to you that I just adore, possibly because they so mirror image my own life and I’m biased that way — and I think you’ll find that my presumption is actually proof.

1. Jael, housewife, Old Testament.

If you read the Bible enough times, you’ll start to discover a pattern – at least, in the Old Testament. It goes like this: people are enslaved or warred upon, they cry out, God saves them, they serve him for awhile, they forget what he did, they start breaking his laws and serving other gods, slavery and war and crying out and saving starts all over again.
So Israel’s got a lot of armies and strong men going off to fight these wars on a pretty regular basis. But two particular villains named King Jabin and his Captain Sisera had everyone shaking in their boots, including the Israelite’s army leader guy named Barak. (Judges 4)

A woman named Deborah (who is also pretty awesome in my opinion) was a prophetess in the land. She was revered and listened to the world over. When I picture her in my head, I kinda think Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. Beautiful, majestic, all-knowing, and you don’t really wanna mess with her.

Deborah goes to Barak and says, “Hey, I know King Jabin and Captain Sisera are a royal pain in the ass, but God has told me that if you go into battle against them, you will win. It’s a guarantee, so don’t be afraid. See ya.”
But Barak was like, “No way dude. I’ll go into battle but not without you by my side, kay? Thanks.”
Deborah, gracious and mighty woman that she is, says, “Okay. I’ll go with you. But because you refused to take God’s promise, your victory will be given to the hands of a woman.”

Oh snap.

So the battle happens, and somehow Captain Sisera escapes the battlefield! He goes into hiding, choosing a certain tent for refuge. It was the tent of Jael, whose husband was away fighting the war WITH King Jabin and Captain Sisera. Sisera thought he would be welcomed there, right?

Big mish-take.

Jael, secretly sympathetic to the oppression of Israel, is going about her daily housework, but turns on the charm and welcomes the Captain into her tent. He asks for water to refresh himself. She gives him milk. Why? Because he’s an honoured guest! He deserves milk! And also…

It will make him sleepy.

Sure enough, when he’s crashed out on the ground, Jael very calmly picks up a tent peg and a mallet and pounds it into his fricken head, killing him instantly. Can you imagine? Talk about a not-clean death. In this day, something like that would make the news and would portray Jael as a psychopath of Dexter-like proportions. Lock that woman away so we can all sleep better, please. But Barak and Deborah and all of Israel wrote songs about her.

I think Jael was just tired. She’d been seeing an innocent Israel be oppressed and enslaved for 20 odd years by her own evil people, and I believe God moved her heart and she decided to get shit done. That battle went down in history with not Barak or even Deborah as the victor, but Jael.

When I think of my picture that says I am an immigrant; I am a survivor, I think of Jael. In my very own special way, I got tired. Tired of living in fear, being oppressed, having no future. And one day, I decided to take a stand and make my case against the powers-that-be and I won. I am an immigrant, I am a survivor and I am a Jesus Feminist.

2. Mary, the mother of Jesus, New Testament.

This one’s kind of obvious. Mary has had a pretty prominent pedestal for the past 2000 years, but sometimes I think we forget that realistically, she was probably only about 13 or 14 years old. Having a baby. In a cold, shitty barn with a man she’d barely met — get this, with a man that she was expected to spend the rest of her life with, who had not impregnated her. She skipped all of that! Considered a woman, yet still very much a girl. (Luke 2)

I know plenty of 14 year old girls, and the thought of them experiencing what Mary did gives me shivers. The doula-heart in me breaks for the agony and ecstasy of birth that she lived through with Joseph the stranger, who was probably very helpful in his own way, I imagine. But this life was not inflicted upon her. She chose it. She said yes when God asked her permission, and her life was never the same.

A number of years ago, I wrote a song called Hail Mary, relating how her life and my life are so different and yet they are the same in so many ways. Here are some of the words.

In this world, it’s so hard to be faithful. In this world, it’s so hard to be strong. In this world, I can’t compete with what’s required of me, how much simpler would it be…In your world, the future was so fragile. In your world, deliverance seemed so far. In your world, all you had was strength and faith unseen in a lost society. Did you pray for the Saviour to come to a world that was undone? Did you know you were the one? And did you cry when you realized the truth that the Lord had chosen you to bear the one we all needed? I tell you, girl, if that was me, I would have run away. I guess he knew what you were made of when he came to you that day…So here I sit in my content little world, and I have my doubts and my complaints. I don’t really know what my future holds and I struggle with that every day. And there you were at such a tender age with your entire life before you, and when it fell apart, you said, “Let it be. Let it be. Let it be.”

So when I say I am a doula, I think of Mary. I think of the power and nourishment that women possess to not only grow a child within themselves, but also to get it out. And my heart breaks and prays for those who have struggled their whole lives to know what any of that miracle feels like. I hope you know that whether you are a mother of earthside babies or heavenside babies or no babies at all, that God holds you close to his heart. Your worth to him is not held in what you can or can’t create, but in what you already are.  I am a doula, one day I hope to be a mother, and I am a Jesus Feminist.

Now for my favourite woman of all.

3. Unknown, “unclean sinner”, New Testament.

I’m not a scholar in all of the Jewish culture, but from what I understand, every family that could afford it gave their daughters a box made of alabaster stone, filled with precious oils and perfumes. It was to be kept unopened until the girl was married, and then she would give it to her new husband, as a dowry of sorts.

So one night, Jesus and his followers were eating a meal together at someone’s house, as they often did. Now these followers were all outcasts of society to some degree or other. Jesus was famous for spending time with people who didn’t fit the status quo of the perfectly-righteous-on-the-outside. In this setting, I’m pretty sure it was Jesus who first said, “Haters gonna hate.”

So they’re hanging out eating, and suddenly this woman comes in, approaching Jesus and everyone else starts freaking out. “What is she doing? She’s touching Jesus? JESUS IS LETTING HER TOUCH HIM. She’s crying and pouring perfume all over his head, wasting such a costly thing, she’s so unclean and is trying to drag him down with her, we’ve got to stop this.”

But they barely get a word out against her before Jesus rebukes them, telling them to leave her alone, and that she’s committing a beautiful act of sacrifice and worship.

We have a few blanks to fill in about who this woman was and why she did what she did. I would imagine that judging by the crowd’s reaction that she had probably been a prostitute in the past. Perhaps she knew that she would never find anyone to marry her, so she took that precious alabaster box and gave it to Jesus instead as thanks and worship to him for forgiving her past and making her new again. Never mind the bravery it took to even enter that room to begin with. To hear the scolding of all these other men and maybe women, casting judgment on her even though they weren’t exactly saints themselves. (Luke 7:36-50)

So when I say I am a wife, I think of this unknown woman. She had no hope of becoming a wife, but she gave all that she valued to Jesus anyway. And Jesus did not turn her away or look down on her or see her as a woman and therefore inferior – he blessed her, he forgave her, he thanked her, he loved her.
And even though he has given me a husband who loves me and forgives me and blesses me and thanks me every day, I still need to give my heart, my valuables, my precious possessions to him, even if it’s painful or embarrassing or hard. He created me to be in a relationship with me, and I will do everything I can to say yes every day.

It’s funny…all of these accounts I shared have varying degrees of sexism in them, did you notice?
Jael, Mary and Little Miss Unknown and others like Esther, Ruth, Rahab, Miriam and even more were bound by a culture that considered them to be not much more than property. I think that’s where some people misread God’s heart towards women. What they don’t realize is that God didn’t create that culture, other people and laws from generation upon generation did. And he used each one of those women to go ABOVE and BEYOND the culture they were in, to be scandalously noticed, to be holy troublemakers, to be brave and soft and able to do hard things with his heart inside of them. I see myself in each one of them, and I want to see myself in each one of them.

So for all of my 26 years, I have believed this about women and the Bible and Jesus. But yesterday, I became something a little more. I joined a community of women AND men who are brave enough to say “I am a Jesus Feminist, ask me why!” And so I thank Sarah Bessey for giving us a voice, a place, a cause and a name. The nations will rise up and call you blessed.

Warrior-ing on,

Carly xo