dating and singlehood · faith · family · womens issues

things I’m (re)learning while preggers

Well here we are at 39 weeks… I’ll say something everyone says… It went by fast! Our first nine months of marriage went by fast. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I wasn’t even engaged yet. And here we are! Love sure changes everything.

Off and on throughout my pregnancy I’ve been reminded of little life lessons. I knew these things, but the past 9 months have reinforced them in a new way, a unique way, in the context of babymaking.

Waiting is hard

You’ve seen little kids melt down while waiting, right? Waiting on a line or waiting for their meal to be ready, or waiting for dad to get out of the bathroom so they can go wherever they’re going. They stomp around and weep and it feels like FOREEEEVVVVEEERR!!!

I get it. I totally do. Can we go yet? Are you done yet? Will you please get up? I have this conversation of late with my child. Don’t you want to come out now? Aren’t you getting claustrophobic in there? Let’s go already!

But you can’t rush these things. I mean, you can and people certainly do. Waiting is very anti-intuitive. It’s unAmerican really. Why wait? Ain’t nobody got time for that. I hate waiting more than 2 seconds for a YouTube video to load. It takes time though. Anything worth anything takes time. So choose what you do with your time wisely. Time will pass whether you are doing something worthwhile or not.

Those who don’t sleep well AND aren’t Oscar the Grouch need more respect.

My husband doesn’t sleep well. He hasn’t since he was in high school or so. I knew this while we were dating when he said that it’s partly a function of his brain suffering from too many concussions.

I’ve never really suffered from sleep deprivation or from blows to the head for that matter. I have always slept well, through hurricanes and loud movies. There are nights I had no idea my husband watched an entire movie with me sleeping right there beside him and I didn’t hear a thing. Once I’m asleep, I am dead to the world.

Until the past couple months. And I’m up every few hours. And it’s killing me. I have to say that I have a renewed awe of how people function on so little sleep. I mean without punching alot of people all day long.

We are all different. We are all the same.

As soon as people know you’re pregnant, they have a lot to tell you. Lots of stories. This is what you do. This is what you don’t do. This is what I read. Here’s the big mistakes I made. It’s all good and I say bring it on. I would like to think I’m no fool, and that means I know I don’t know everything and that the more information you gather, the better your choices should be.

But I also find it mind blowing how very many different experiences there are in life. People have such a wide range of experience and life paths, and it’s foolish to think that any one person has it all together and that any other person’s experience is going to work absolutely for me.

When it comes to something like motherhood, we’d like to think there’s a wrong and right way. And we want to villainize those who don’t do what we do, or if we are insecure about it, we think everyone else must have a better handle on this baby thing and walk around feeling defeated. It reminds me to be more compassionate with others, to realize that all of us are very different, struggling with different things, coming from different backgrounds. Only one thing is truly the same for all of us – we are all in desperate need of grace. And there’s more than enough grace to go around.

Your husband is your greatest ally.

Not your manservant. We women don’t need much provocation to feel superior to men in a lot of ways. We always think we’re smarter, more intuitive, and as moms we think we know much more about babies and kids by default.

Just because he didn’t carry the kid in his pelvic region doesn’t mean he is clueless. There are other reasons a guy may be clueless – I mean he may not be paying attention at all – but when it comes to a good dad, there are few who don’t rate. I think they deserve some credit – at least more than they are typically given.

I don’t watch a lot of tv. I hate tv. I hate commercials for sure, but I also really hate mindless shows particularly sitcoms. And one trend that bugs me more than maybe anything else is the depiction of clueless dads. Either society is really that bad or I just happen to live in a bubble where all the men went to sensitivity training. And maybe I just hit the jackpot and got the man of the year who brings me a bowl of ice cream before I even know I want it, but I really do refuse to believe that there are THAT many idiotic men out there. I happen to know 4 men who rock as dads and will all be sitting at our christmas table this year. We have GOT to stop, as a collective society, making fun of our dads.

All pain has purpose.

Pain sucks. It’s the worst. People with chronic pain should be allowed to go to Disney for free all the time. If I owned Disney World, I’d make that happen.

Something a friend shared with me recently at church really made a lot of sense to me. She said that a lot of times, people have pain and suffering in life and they just don’t know why. There doesn’t seem to be a reason and they despair. With labor pains, you have a reason and a goal. And that makes it a little easier. It still isn’t great, but you have something wonderful to focus on – getting that baby out.

It got me thinking about people I’ve known who have had to deal with chronic pain for way too long with no end in sight. I’ll admit, I don’t think about them that much. But now having discomfort or these weird shooting pains from time to time, I use these as a reminder to pray for those who have this daily occurence for years now. I’ll get relief. And I’ll have something to show for it. And I pray that the purpose in their pain will be shown as well, that they will have strength of character and that they are learning to endure with grace. And I’ll try to remember to do the same when I’m screaming bloody murder in the delivery room.

Pregnancy is not a disease or an excuse.

Being pregnant seems like a great excuse for everything. I’m tired and cranky. I’m hormonal and weepy. I could easily blame everything on this trimester – whatever trimester I am in doesn’t matter. It’s all a big pain in the, well, every where. And it’s easy enough to say I give up! I’m not doing anything!

I’d like to think I’m stronger than that. Sure, there are very definitive concerns about doing too much. Sure, I get winded and need to rest more than I would like to. And yes, there are times when I really can’t stop crying. But I didn’t suddenly turn into an invalid, emotional cripple. And throughout life, you learn to have resolve to get through – you just do – sink or swim, fight or flight. And during the times when you are at your weakest and most despairing, you find out exactly who you are, no excuses. I haven’t had high blood pressure but it’s not in me to panic. I’m not trying to say that I’m some kind of role model. I’m just saying that when push comes to shove, I have lived by a code of sorts and that whatever was already inside my soul is what gets revealed under pressure.  By the Grace of God, I came to understand years ago that worry and panic and anger and bitterness get me exactly nothing. Strength, perseverance, kindness, hope, and full and complete TRUST in a Creator who loves me and holds me in the dark gets me everything.

God is a Parent.

I might even go so far as to say God is a mom. Yeah. I’m going to say that. God is a mom. He birthed us. He carried us around in His very heart and continues to for all time. He continues to nurture and feed us, in ever growing amounts and with just the right nutrients.

But as we grow up we try so hard to move away from Him, to be independent and we think that is maturity. Maturity is not equal to independence. Maturity is recognizing the place relationship has in our lives, realizing that relationships are two ways, understanding that we are all forever connected together, and balancing our needs and interests with one another to the glory of God our Creator and for His pleasure.

I have thought at times about my birth mother who I will never know in this life. I’ve thought about how she carried me around for, presumably, nine months. I considered what it would feel like to give birth and then to never see this child again, to wonder for the rest of my life what happened to her. Or to have completely rid myself of her very existence, denying the past and eradicating what may have felt like a terrible mistake the entire time. How painful and overwhelming that must have felt. Who knows what the circumstances were? I’ve heard hundreds of stories of other adoptees who did piece together their birth parents’ lives – some with sad stories of unwed teens or those mothers who were promised to see their child again but never would. It breaks my heart.

I think about what I would do for this child, this flesh of my flesh, this joining of my blood with my beloved’s. I think about when this child talks back to me the first time, or purposely touches something I told the kid not to. I think about how much love and sweetness I will feel in that moment, and just how redeeming I want to be. Or how this child may break my heart when the choices made are what seems like the worst possible thing ever and all I can do is pray like crazy and cry. I think about how I did those things to my parents and get a renewed sense of what it means to be a parent, to stay the course, to be there when they fall, to watch and wait on the porch, to run out to meet them.

And then I think how much more our God and Creator could not bear to be apart from us for all eternity. How He gave birth to us and carried us in His arms, only to have us wrenched away by sin and pride. How He fought back to save us and directed all of history to enact this painful horrific plan that would include watching His Son, beaten and broken, just so that we could return to His house. Just so we could be a family again. Just so we would cry out, Daddy, and fling ourselves into His arms.

And I can’t wait for the day when I’ll get the smallest glimpse of that epicness when I hold this baby. And we’re back to waiting…



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