Self-Care Sunday Devotionals: The Love I Owe

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Hebrews 6:10

Being a Mom is a blessing for many women. Becoming a Mom through pregnancy and giving birth, however, is an arduous experience. I am a mother of 4 and each birth was a labor of love. For me, it was 9 months of pregnancy and 2 months of waddling as my midsection expanded and walking became a chore. Even though my children are all grown now, I still recall certain experiences about their births. In particular, I remember how people made me feel during that time. As a result, my experiences challenged me to learn more about love and its importance in my life.

As it turns out, I was living in Alabama when I became pregnant with my second child. I was 22 years old when my husband and I moved from Florida to Tuskegee, Alabama. In the Fall, he began classes in the Engineering program at Tuskegee University and I found out I was pregnant soon after. Unfortunately, the only hospital in the city closed after we arrived there. I was anxious and uncertain about the healthcare I would receive given this circumstance. We immediately began making provisions to give birth at a hospital in a neighboring city.

There were two hospitals in two different neighboring cities. One hospital was 30 miles east of us and the second was about 20 miles west of our home. At that time, we qualified for Medicaid benefits and found that one hospital would not accept Medicaid benefits. The second hospital accepted Medicaid, so the decision to go to that hospital was a “no brainer”. As it turns out, that hospital was located in Opelika County where a friend of mine had given birth to her son. She referred me to her doctor and I began making my prenatal appointments.

The morning I went in to deliver, the Obstetrician showed up with an unhappy countenance. He never acknowledged my husband’s presence nor looked at him. However, he never said anything while he delivered my baby but I knew something was troubling him. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl in Opelika County. She was wonderful and I was amazed at her beauty.

A little later, my doctor came back to check in with us and finally began to express to us the trouble he was having that day. He asked me why I decided to have the baby at that particular hospital. I explained to him that we had looked into giving birth at another hospital and discovered they didn’t take Medicaid and it would have left us with a huge debt. He retorted with indignation stating he didn’t like that the Opelika County Hospital was treated like a “Wal-Mart” or some kind of discount store. My husband and I were both stunned to hear him say that.

Now, it just so happened that my doctor was a white male. As an African American female, his words were very offensive to me. What my heart heard was, “Evelyn, this hospital is too good for people like you. As your doctor, you are beneath me.” Needless to say, his words were very crushing to me. It was not the type of birth experience I wanted and I never forgot his words.

Today, I work as a Doula and provide continuous support to women during labor. I understand that while there are many wonderful people in the healthcare field, there are those who hold themselves in high regard while esteeming themselves better than others. While my doctor was only a little bitter, people in the healthcare field can make very poor decisions based on their bigotry and feelings of superiority. Their biases actually cost people their lives. In response, there are many women who are dedicated to making sure that pregnant women are treated with respect and dignity. In some cases, they are working to enact legislation that will help protect pregnant women.

I try to learn from life, even when I am dealt the lemons. The one thing I learned from my experience with my doctor in Opelika County was that people are not always going to do right by other people. When we don’t know how to legislate ourselves, it is a good thing to have legislation in place. I don’t need legislation or laws to teach me how to treat people. All the laws I need are written on my heart. I always consider Romans 13: 8:
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

I continue to work to keep my debt load low but the debt I owe for love will never be paid off. The Lord paid my debt for sin and now I am indebted to Him for love. That is a debt I am happy to pay by treating my neighbor with love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the heart to serve others. I pray that you would show me the people that you have created me to serve. Give me the strength to do your will and to be your hands and feet. I praise you in advance for giving me the opportunity to give as an extension of you! In Jesus’ name, Amen

Meet Evelyn: I’m Evelyn. As a DONA International Doula, I seek to provide evidence-based care to the Moms I serve. When I’m not providing services to my clients, I am spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren. I love blogging and reading. I use my writing to affirm love and wisdom for the next generation!

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