My mother told me this. I'm not sure if it belongs here, but it is a report of how her life changed because of one little thing, and so I think it might fit. When she was a young woman, she was told it was very unlikely that she would ever have children and whilst this news crushed her - she had always wanted a child of her own - she accepted it and carried on with life.
At that point, all her life was spent on making others happy and keeping the peace in the family, acting as mediator between feuding siblings and doing all the tasks that nobody else wanted to do. She wasn't aggressive, preferring to quietly adapt and deal with each situation as it came up. My mother got married at twenty-one and spent the next eleven years investing herself in work and in her marriage. During this time, my father found out he had MS, and she dealt with that too by holding up and being his strength as he learned to cope with the idea that his body would slowly stop working as well as it had.
At thirty-one, both my parents decided to go on holiday - a rare occurrence, so they had enough saved to go and visit Gambia in Africa. They loved it there, and so they went back in December the following year. This time, she wasn't so lucky and managed to catch typhoid, coming very close to death in her illness. It took a while to recover from the shock to her system, but it brought home the fact that if she had died, she wouldn't have left much of a legacy. Her time was devoted to work - if she wanted to make a difference, she should have a child. She couldn't; she had been trying for years without success, but adoption was the next best thing.
As a Catholic, though, she tried one last prayer - a final bargain. She prayed to God to let her have a child, reminding him that she hadn't asked for anything solely for herself before and that with everything that had happened she felt she deserved to have the chance of raising a child of her own. She promised to never ask for anything for herself again if he would grant this request, and she waited a few months.
Mom says that she knew within a few days that she was pregnant, and that I was a girl. The doctors told her it was impossible for her to know so early on, but as the tests were positive they had to admit she was, indeed, pregnant, but of course there was no way for them to tell if I was male or female. Still, she stuck to her guns, and they told her the date of birth was likely to be November 7th, or thereabouts. She tells me she knew that this was nonsense from the start, and that I would be born later. In actual fact I was born on December 8th, bringing with me some of the worst blizzards that had been recorded for a decade.
She had a painful and long labour, thirty-six hours in total. At one point, she was so exhausted from the effort she had to be sedated to get some rest. The midwife, too, was a nightmare woman who made it almost as bad an experience as she could, but all the time she could feel God's presence, telling her that it would be alright and that even though it hurt now, the results would be worthwhile. So she carried on, and didn't give up hope even when they said the baby was stuck in the birth canal and would probably suffer from brain damage from being deprived of oxygen. When I was delivered, Mom didn't even see me for hours whilst the doctors made sure that she was going to be alright, and that I wasn't dead from oxygen-starvation (I hadn't cried out when I was born, so they were worried that I wasn't breathing).
Still, when my mother and I were finally reunited and she held me for the first time, she says that it was a magical moment in her life when she realized that God had given her this life to protect and love as she has asked, and that she could feel a link being forged. Of course, as a result of being in the womb for ten months I wasn't exactly your tiny little baby, with a club foot that I eventually grew out of and scars from the forceps, but she loved me anyway.
Often, she says that I was born for a purpose in this world, that I showed too much intelligence (despite being labeled initially as mentally backwards) and seemed so much older than I was from so young an age, (as well as being a bizarrely quiet baby - my parents almost never had a sleepless night!) that she believed her prayer had only facilitated something that God had been planning for a while. Personally? I think if that is in any way true, then the purpose was only to make her happy.
Now, because she's a mother, she's less inclined to allow herself to be used. She's still gentle and sweet, but she doesn't tolerate bullies or people who leech off others in a far more active way - she will stop them if she can. She's more outspoken and more confident, according to my aunts and uncles, and more aware of when she is being taken for a ride. She's less likely to hide her head in the sand and ignore the bad things, too. Not to mention, work became less of an all-consuming part of her life and she began to assert her own individuality as a person. She's gone from being a barmaid to a lead BA and Project Manager in a well-known credit card company since I was born as a result of her newfound confidence in claiming credit for her work, and says that she is always thankful that she prayed for this minor miracle, and that God saw fit to grant it.