Suppose you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be! because everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He's bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered."Malcolm Muggeridge, as quoted in Elizabeth Elliot's A Path Through Suffering: Discovering the Relationship Between God's Mercy and Our Pain
My labour experience with Elnathan was a wonderful example of God's providence and answered prayer, which I hope we will always look back upon with gratitude. It was also one of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life, which I came out of thinking "Wow, I've been through that and I'm still here!". Our early weeks with Elnathan have likewise been full of examples of God's goodness, and full of physical pain as I've had problems with breastfeeding.
At times I've wondered what on earth God was doing - the pain of birth seemed enough, without the added feeding problems. My answer is that God has humbled us through this pain. We often prayed for humility, and God has answered through suffering. There is nothing like suffering to put us in our place. Pain reminds us that we are not in control. We have to surrender to God's will, not our own.
Suffering also reminds us not to judge ourselves to be better than others. Would we do better if we were in their place, with their suffering? My relatively small sufferings have given me a greater appreciation for the reasons why people might be afraid of birth, or might give up breastfeeding in favour of the bottle. I don't believe I was ever harshly judgmental of those who opt for elective cesareans or bottle feed from the start. Now though, I realise that I could easily be one of them if I did not have so much wonderful support.
Pain has humbled me again. May God be glorified.