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The Miracle of Life: Changing Life’s Focus

The Miracle of Life
By Shadon Meredith

I graduated in 2009 as an actor major at Toi Whakaari: The New Zealand Drama School. I married my drama school sweet-heart in 2012. In 2015 my wife and I were blessed with a son and that forever would change our lives for the better.

We didn’t plan on having a baby before his conception, in fact we had just found a new lease of life to fully charge and hammer away at our careers and possibly head into property investment. My wife at this time was on a TV soap show and she had been on the show at this point going on five years. We had decided to go on holiday to the island of Rarotonga as the requirements of the show were quiet taxing on her and she hadn’t had a break all year. It was a time for us to stop, spend some quality time with each other, catch up on some much needed sleep (little did we know the actual meaning of this at this time before having a baby) and to goal set for our near future.

We put down in place our individual goals, couple goals, five year goals and 10 year goals.

We then asked the universe to send us a major event to shift our current course as we got sick of the shallowness of our industry and its party by-products.

We knew there was more to life than the competition and glamour of it all, we wanted a more grounded route, I even think my wife had put down a goal to one-day work for the UN and I wanted to head back into study to look at teaching and facilitation.

We honestly thought the major event would come in the form of our careers.

We were quietly shocked when two lines appeared on the pregnancy test.

Some of our friends were over at this time and when my wife came out saying ‘what does two lines mean’; thinking that it meant she was not pregnant, the looks on our friend’s faces were priceless. You see though we weren’t planning on having a bubba, we definitely were at an age and had the financial and logical sense to raise a bubba. It took my wife the whole day to get her head around it all, in fact I think it had taken her whole pregnancy to get her head around it. It was a tough and unknown transition.

Being pregnant was a blessing in disguise, we stopped drinking alcohol, we stopped smoking, we ate more healthily apart from when Amelia craved burgers, we saw friendships blossom or fade away (pregnancy is a great tester of friendships), I fell even harder in love with my wife, I got inspired to workout on my body because I saw the amazingness of the female’s human form to transform and though the male form could never understand what happens in pregnancy, the physical human form is capable of amazing feats, and we did more wholesome things as a couple like bush walks and food experiences.

Though we weren’t working on our art pieces per say, we were working on a major life piece invisibly.

I can still remember the night and the day my son was born. We played a game of ‘Catan’ that night and Amelia is usually the winner, but that night I had won and she now says that I only won because she was having her first few contractions. We had both our mothers with us which was a precious generational moment in itself. We all knew what to do unless we were told off during Amelia’s contractions for doing something wrong like talking too much, but we all had our unique way of helping out, whether it be Amelia’s mother’s nourishing lunch time soup that she whipped up on the spot or my mother’s massages for Amelia or my useless IPhone app timing for time between contractions which I switched for my watch which was way more consistent and reliable or our dog Ruby Roo who lay next to Amelia’s back most of the time.

My son was in the posterior position in labour and we were prepping ourselves for the long haul as we had been advised by our Midwife. We got to the hospital at 4pm that afternoon, though we were meant to be at Birthcare but ended up at the hospital due to my son being posterior, and he was birthed naturally at 5:50pm. This is testament to Amelia knowing herself and that when she needed to push, the midwife said ‘no you won’t need to for a while yet, you probably feel that because bubba’s posterior’, it took Amelia the third time inside 5 minutes to say she wanted to push that the midwife checked how far dilated she was and to all of our surprise she was out of the birthing pool and on to the birthing bed, because bubba’s heart beat had slowed down, and we were then on to the last leg of meeting our Son.

What a moment. Skin to skin with this tiny human that already in his 9 month journey had so many obstacles to overcome. What a moment. To bear witness to my wife’s incredible journey and to watch her perform the miracle of life.

We had no idea of what we were getting ourselves into. Enter stage left and right: Sleep Deprivation. We honestly thought that Amelia ‘giving birth’ would be the hardest part and don’t get me wrong, it was an intense process, but the weeks after was difficult in a different way. The sleep part we thought wouldn’t affect us like it did, I guess we had this dreamy idea of what it would be like, fluffy clouds I suppose, even our Midwife was trying to tell us that the weeks after would be life altering.

But the amount of knowledge or banking up of sleep (if you can even do that) cannot prepare you for the sleepless nights, its like a rite of passage for parents.

I guess we only know when it happens and we ride the wave of parenthood with all of its unknowns. Arlo (my son) is truly a miracle of life and has since influenced and contributed to my artistry thus far. Though I talk of it being tough in the weeks that followed I have to admit that I had forgotten about those weeks until the writing of this reflection. As cliché as it sounds I couldn’t see my life without my little boy, I almost can’t remember my life without him.

Also by Shadon Meredith:

Nana’s Soulfood Kitchen

Death and Loss: Glass Half Full

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