A big word, isn’t it? I didn’t even know what it was before my Fiona was diagnosed with it. Essentially, it is a misshapen head that results from womb positioning, lack of tummy time, the back to sleep movement (which was helpful for reducing SIDS but has meant an increase in this issue), or positioning of a baby’s head during labor. Severe cases can lead to behavioral or developmental delays. Minor cases could be just cosmetic, but since it is a relatively new field, the long-term impacts of such a condition aren’t known in detail. As such, I’m left with many questions.
What could I have done differently? Should I have changed my diet or positions during pregnancy or labor? Why didn’t I carry her more? Did I give her enough tummy time? There are so many questions you can play on a reel in your head. These scenarios will simply drive you mad. We must accept what happens and move forward in grace; forgiving ourselves or others that impact whatever situations arise in our lives. Sometimes, forgiving ourselves or another person requires immense humility, a humility that comes only from asking for help.
God gives us community. Community is messy. There are conflicts and cliques. However, there is beauty, sharing, and life abundant when we share life with others rather than trying to exist as islands unto ourselves. Look out for others and in turn, glorify God. This is one way that Christianity sets itself apart from other religions. Christianity requires the adherent to think of others. We are to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but rather, in humility, treat others better than ourselves. (Phil. 2:3—if I am remembering my reference correctly.) We are to love God above all else and then our neighbors (every person) as ourselves. Sometimes, blessing others requires us to let them give resources or aid to our predicaments rather than trying to go it alone.
Our human nature, especially for those who are so independently minded as in America, rejects notions of assistance or vulnerability. We would rather live life alone, gratifying our own desires and meeting our own needs. Humility is required to admit we may have done something wrong and need help to bail ourselves out (repentance…which is so contrary to how we want to act) or that through an act of nature, you must admit you need people alongside you. We must ask for others to help carry our burdens. We are to carry our own loads, but burdens aren’t meant to be carried/dealt with in isolation.
My aunt recommended I start a gofundme page to alleviate the financial burden of the plagiocephaly helmet. I cringe thinking about it. I hate, absolutely abhor, asking for assistance. I like to give, but asking for money is hard. (Unless of course friends or family ask what gift we would like, say for a birthday, anniversary, or other major life event celebration. In that case, I usually respond that I’d like money to pay off a bill or other expense I’m currently managing right now, expenses that mean I have fewer funds to devote to travel, the nomad at heart and travel junkie that I am.) I am floundering in my Usborne business because I don’t like asking others to support me. I feel as if my relationships become debts or mere transactions whenever I place monetary requests on them. I have received massive aid from family and friends through the start of the gofundme page.
I’m plagued with curiosity, confusion, and caution though. My mind wonders if I will have family or friends question the real need for such assistance if I ever travel, take part in an activity that requires money, or buy something new. When I ask for money, I feel like there is less liberty to live life how I want or need to. I feel as if I now must tread with trepidation, worrying how my budget might be perceived and my needs assessed. I struggle with approval addiction. So, I’m sure you can imagine that requesting assistance of any sort sends my approval addiction into overdrive, being consumed with anxiety that I might purchase something that could have been used towards this need rather than asking for financial help from those around me. I feel bound and not necessarily at the fault of others. My sin nature must overcome my pride, the pride that says people think of me as often as I think they do. My sin nature that says I don’t need others, and ultimately God, to get by in this life.
Perhaps my daughter’s misshapen head, and the necessary correction of it, is exactly what God is using to align my thoughts with his. Maybe, just maybe, God is using this experience to get my head in the shape it needs to be for his glorious gospel more than my own.