Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Confused – Weekly challenge through FaithWriters.com, August 21, 2007

Since I haven't posted in a while and I don't really have much time to really think and draw my thoughts outward because I'd rather be napping while the kids are, I am posting a copy of an article I wrote for a weekly challenge at Faithwriters.com. It goes with my occasional allusion to not really knowing what I'm doing in my life! :-)


“What’s your purpose?”

I hear the question so loud in my mind, I am sure someone else has asked it. But it is just me, asking myself a question so clear, yet with as distorted an answer as ever. After all, I have asked myself a million times what my purpose is.

Five years ago, I would have been at such a loss to even begin to answer this question. It always confused me, the answer evading my understanding as quickly and easily as the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I was living a life that did not leave room for questions such as these. It did not allow for moments to reflect on the confusion of my existence. It only allowed for the pain and emptiness I felt having neglected finding out the answer, while subconsciously knowing it desperately needed one.

Three years ago, my purpose was to take care of myself and the life I carried within my womb. An unexpected change to my life that made my future path seem even more obscure.

And now, my purpose seems to be that of a wife and a mother. But there’s still something missing, or so I always feel.

Could there be more?

The emptiness I have always felt is still there, only smaller as I have filled my life with several purposes. But I can’t help but reflect on the fact that my mother once told me I was meant to do great things. During a prayer session with several of her friends, in an exceptionally hard time in her life, my mother prayed for her seven children, worried and fearful of what was to become of us. And all at once, her friends started telling her that the Lord said to them that He will do great things through each of us.

I know the importance of being a good wife and a good mother, characters in life led by God’s holy word. But is this the extent of the greatness I am to do for Him and if so, why do I still feel so lost?

Am I making it up, that emptiness I feel? Is Satan playing a game with me? Am I just unable to see the measures of greatness the Lord has placed in the aspects of being a wife and mother? I am always perplexed as I wonder if there is still something else, is it there and I just don’t see it? Do I hear the answer, His answer, and just pretend I can’t? Because I am not ready. Because I am afraid.

I feel in my heart that I am so willing to do what He asks of me but at the same time, I am unsure as to whether I am actually ready to take that last step over the edge into being completely obedient and willing, which is what this greatness would require of me. How do I know what His path for me is? When will I hear His voice, leading me in the direction He wishes for me to go? And if I never do anything other than be a good wife and a good mother, will He say to me as I enter the gates of Heaven, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Potpourri

It seems as though my intentions for this blog have dwindled a little, as I seem to post but once a month now. Being pregnant with my third baby and the daily routine of having two other very energetic children under 3 has really taken its toll on my intentions for a lot of things! But I think this is just the norm. for someone who is dedicated to her family and is desparately searching for answers to many questions regarding her life.

In any case, here I am at 9:15 on a Wednesday night. My husband is at his second job, which he took so that we could have benefits to pay for our child's birth and to catch up on health issues in general since we have gone over a year with out. However, we realized that the benefits said work place offers are not so great and it's better to just bank the money and use that toward the birth and figure out money for regular stuff later. We are once again planning a home birth. The closer it gets, the more anxious I feel.

A lot has happened in the last month, as we have moved through our new routine and adjusted to life with "Daddy" being gone moreso than usual. I have found it especially hard, as I am getting further into my pregnancy and am having a tough time doing my normal tasks and chasing after the kids and all the many wonderful things a stay at home mommy gets to do during the day. Today was an especially trying day as the kids, especially my daughter, have been a little bit....obstreperous, as my mother would say, and I have been on a crazy emotional roller coaster. My friend just found out she's pregnant with her fifth child and I am so excited for her but at the same time, I wonder how her life really is; the part that she doesn't tell me about, the dirty details of being a mother of 4-and now 5 in 40 weeks or less-and how much she wishes she had none at times. I know she has a hard time, she tells me about it a lot. I know she is stressed out about this fifth baby and the idea of there being one more mouth to feed, one more being to take care of, one more heart to raise. But she is a good mother and I know she'll do her job well. I just wonder how hard it really is, as I am struggling with just my two..

I am also trying to find time to work on my motherhood book, finish another book that I started 7 years ago, work on a referral business I joined and still take even a short nap when the kids are taking theirs. Motherhood is so beautiful and so wonderful and so rewarding but sometimes, I just feel like I'm losing my mind! I need a little bit of me time, as I'm sure many can relate to, but it's very hard to get this on a regular basis. Not that I'm complaining. Even if I was working out in the world during the day, I wouldn't have the me time that my soul really needs and if I were to be out working during the day, someone else would be raising my children and I would be failing at the most important job I've ever had in my entire life, the job God handed to me the day I found out I was pregnant with my first baby. But I'm also worried that somewhere along the line, I've lost the other parts of me that made me who I am and I wonder if I'll ever find them again or if it matters.

Today I have yelled a lot and I've had a head ache (probably from yelling) and I've gotten myself worked up over what I see now in the wisdom that can only come at this semi-late hour is nothing...and I've grown tired. But I've also realized, just in writing about how I felt today, that I will have time, when the kids are a little older and need me a little less (which as a mommy makes me kinda sad) and it will be then that I can sit down and have a little bit of quiet, to lose myself in my thoughts and go digging deep within myself to pull out the other parts of me that have been buried underneath everything else..... I will have time to search for that part of my creative soul I know is in there somewhere and pull her out and sit her down and allow her to do things she can't do right now. And I've also realized that there are fragments of that 'me' that are allowed to show themselves even now and I just have to figure out how to let them shine through my exhaustion, my worries, my busy schedule, my daily routine, my fears, my anxieties and my doubts and perhaps then I won't feel so lost at times.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Unconditional Love

I have been battling with a heart issue with my husband's family for a long time and recent events have caused me to pause and really reflect on how I can use it to help myself be a better mother and a better wife. The term unconditional love is a very hard one to grasp and I have learned that it's also a very hard one to express, for some people. I have always thought that while my family has its own measure of dysfunction, we knew what unconditional love was and we knew how to make the effort to show it and make sure each of our members knew we loved them beyond any hardships and despite any shortcomings or problems. However, I took this model as a rule and I have been given a hard lesson in learning that we are not the rule but the exception. I brought this model into my marriage, hoping to convey to my husband and my own children that no matter what they did or what happened, my love would never be conditional.

1 Corinthians 13:7-8 says of Love, 'It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.' This is not speaking of the type of 'love' we feel, or even the love between friends or childhood couples. It is real love, love like God loves, love like we are called to love. Love is not a feeling but a truth rooted in our souls, nurtured by our selflessness and giving to others.

I have struggled for the past 3 years, trying to understand the interworkings of my husband's family, how they could be on again, off again with their "love"; how they were sure that seeing us and their grandkids only for special occasions and only if we made the effort was showing their love and how other various issues that arose could even be part of the equation for a healthy and close family. It is a difficult task to really live by the rules of the type of Love conveyed in all of chapter 13 in 1 Corinthians. But to constantly be turning a blind eye to your family's cry for this love totally bewilders me.

So, in trying to understand this and trying to move through and beyond the hurt and pain my husband and I have endured over the past few years, the pain he has endured his whole life, and the most recent events that have caused further injury, I have come to the point where all I want to do is heal, move on and use this lesson as yet another building block in the foundation for the type of family I want mine to be. It is through our greatest trials that we learn the most important aspects of life and love, understanding and strength and I am trying to beat this thing into submission enough to get what I need out of it and leave it on the ground where it belongs.

The thing is, because my husband has had the model that he has within his family, it is hard for him to not model that type of "love" within our family. He just doesn't know how to model the real kind of love. His first words when we are arguing are often 'I'm done, we're over.' And it took me a really long time to understand that it really wasn't how he felt, he was just mirroring the type of love his family had always shown him, which really isn't love at all. When things were hard, they walked away. And they were never there for him to begin with as he grew up and faced the world. It has been one of the hardest things for me to do to get past the hurt I feel every time he expresses his desire to just give up, or every time he belittles me as his family has done to him. And it's been hard for me to not want to yell at him when he's dealing with the kids in the same way he was dealt with.

There have been many times when I myself felt like just giving up but because I really love him and our children, I can't really ever give up. I want to teach my children that you never give up on the people you love, that you are always there for them, that you have to be selfless when it comes to your family members and really make an effort to show them that you do love them no matter what. And I want my husband to know this, too. I want him to have all the love I could possibly give him because he has spent his entire life not knowing what love really is, not experiencing the support that love provides, the concreteness of it and the strength in which it carries you through life.

'If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.' ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 2,3

Friday, August 10, 2007

Juggling Act

I've been contemplating lately my positions in life; as wife, as mother, as a child of God, as a writer. I have a hard time making time for every aspect of my character and I feel like when I concentrate on one more than the others, the others sort of just fall a little. I am trying so hard to do all the things I need to do but I don't know how to juggle them all properly so that I can do them all the best way. But my fears and insecurities within each position have made me feel like maybe I am just not going to ever be good enough at any of them.

Being a writer...

I've struggled with the idea that I am really meant to be writing on a regular basis, working toward something major. This idea has played around in my mind for several years but I have had so many distractions I've allowed to push it into a small corner in the back of my mind. Not distractions like being a mother and being a wife, those are very important, obviously. But distractions like several direct sales businesses I never really was interested in except maybe this last one. Distractions like the chaos in my head or the melancholy in my heart. Distractions like regret from the past or hurts that have yet to heal, wounds still open and raw and throbbing with the need to be closed.

Being a child of God...

As a child of God, I know I am supposed to obey what He tells me and I always say I'm willing to do what He wants me to do. But then He tells me what to do and I am instantly afraid. I am often asked to do things that are exceptionally hard, things that make me go out of my comfort zone, that often cause me some pain. And sometimes I am able to tell myself that the pain is from growing, the unknown path will soon be familiar, the hardship will make me stronger. But other times, I am weak and feel so small and insignificant in my ability to do what is being asked. This fear creeps its way into my other positions and makes it hard to breathe in the seemingly thin air of the duties they entail as well.

Being a mother...

The imperfections I face in myself each day, the ones that I am aware of even when I look in the mirror after feeling like I've scrubbed them off in the hot shower, have hurt my ability to really be the kind of mother I know I'm supposed to be. Specifically, a long time ago, there was this anger that controlled me, that I allowed to all but destroy me completely. Then I got some help with it and learned to tame it and for the longest time, I thought it didn't really exist anymore. But it comes out in small ways when my children are behaving badly and it comes out when I feel suffocated by my obligations to them.

Being a wife...

And then there is the position of being a wife, the one I have a really tough time with. Things between me and my husband didn't exactly start out the way things normally do between two people who end up getting married. But we dug really deep and found a small seed of love and decided to nurture it as best we could and make it grow. But we didn't really leave room for each of our imperfections, our flaws and the humanly sinful nature in each of us. I've had a tough time being able to see past his and I am sure he's been struggling to see past mine as well.

The thing is...

Even though all of these things are separate positions in my life, they all intertwine and go hand-in-hand with each other. Each one affects the others and that juggling act I've been trying to do must be perfected, even if the positions that make it up never are. My biggest fear, I think, is the one of not being able to really be a good mother and seeing how each of my other positions has often affected my motherhood makes me doubly afraid. God gave me these children. Me. And I'm blessed, flattered and elated but I'm also surprised, fearful and totally in awe. Because it's not just that two people made love and created some babies. It's that God put these babies in our lives. He trusted us with three of His priceless treasures and I cannot begin to fathom the intensity and sincerity required to truly accept the position of taking care of them the way they need to be taken care of. With all the other 'balls' I'm juggling, how do I make sure I don't hinder their life in ways that will scar them? How do I make sure I nurture their growth, allow them to be who they are meant to be and make sure they understand that they are God's children? And do all this in spite of my failings, my imperfections and my struggle with my other positions?

Is it possible that I need to learn to juggle them all in the right order and if they fall, it will just be into place?

Friday, July 20, 2007

DaySCARE

These past two weeks have been a little crazy around the Mack house. My husband is dealing with some issues with his family, so that means we both are because naturally, it affects me as well.

In the middle of these issues, it was brought to our attention that my in-laws think that we should put the kids in daycare, or as I call it, dayscare, and I should go back to work. For what, we inquired? So we can have tons of money and buy our kids everything and so we can do what we want to do, was basically the gist of their answer. My f.i.l. even made the comment that his 3 kids, which include my husband, were in daycare and he doesn't see anything wrong with them. My husband said "are you blind?" My f.i.l. also said that he worries about my husband having to work all day and then come home and deal with the kids and not getting to go and do whatever he wants to do. My husband said "I'm their father, it's my job. I chose this life."

I worked in a daycare. I've seen some of the things that go on, how they're run, etc. It's scary. I know people that work in daycares, some that have their children in daycares, some that wouldn't go near a daycare if their life depended on it. I can honestly say I've had a fair share of experience, even if it was through other people, to be able to justify our decision for me to stay home with the kids. None of this even touches the true reason why I stay home, though: BECAUSE IT'S MY JOB. If we can get by with paying our bills and feeding our children, why should I get another job that actually pays me money?

Sure, more money would probably help with the stress we have over bills sometimes but I feel like there is always going to be stress. It won't matter how much money we have, we are always going to be stressed about it in some way. And if it's not about money, it's going to be about something else. And I don't feel like sacraficing my children's happiness and emotional well-being just so I can buy them tons of things and have a huge house and do what I want to do is what God wants me to do. Besides, there's no better pay than the time I get to spend with my children, experiencing the world through their eyes, allowing them to teach me about a love I never knew existed. No job I could ever get out in the world would pay me in sloppy kisses, bear hugs just because, angelic faces deep in slumber, sibling rivalry, lessons in disciplining children, peanut butter faces, or even messy hands and feet on a clean floor.

I know there are some people who need to put their children in daycare for certain reasons such as being a single-parent or disability, etc. But I have a bit of a problem with the people that put their children in daycare just because it's covenient for them, because it frees up time for them to do what they want to do, because it allows them to work and make more money and all of that. I just don't see how you can trade spending time with your children, raising your children, having the opportunity to really love your children in every way possible, for some extra cash and time.

The reason why my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home with our children is so they would have a secure environment with someone who loves them, not someone who is 20 years old and works for $8/hr and doesn't have anything invested into our children whatsoever. My motives for caring for my children are of love, of sacrafice, of selflessness. Their motives are a paycheck.

God did not give ME these children so that I could give them to someone else to raise while I went out and chased after money, more time, a bigger house, etc. He trusted ME with these children to raise them how He wants me to and that means staying home when they are home and taking care of them. I can't imagine missing all the milestones a child goes through between being an infant and being a toddler. I can't imagine someone else spending all that time with my child, getting to know them, but not giving back what children deserve to get from a caretaker.

God told us it was my job to stay home with our children and raise them for His purposes and no matter what anyone says to us, no matter how much the world pushes money and everything being about 'me,' I will not disobey my Father. My sister pointed out that the Lord said 'you will look like a fool when doing my work.' But, I feel like those people who think we're the fools are really in for a big surprise.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Incredible Shrieking Woman

I haven't written in a while and I apologize to anyone following my blog. It hasn't been very interesting, huh?

Today I had this huge melt down and I started to feel kind of crazy inside, catching an even bigger glimpse than I had before of why some mothers really just can't handle being good mothers or why some even go as far as hurting their children. I have had a rough couple of weeks, an even rougher couple of days. Most of this lies where my children are concerned; disciplining them, taking care of them, dealing with their day to day emotions and personalities as they are constantly testing me and figuring out what to do to really push me. (As is normal for children to do.) Today, after one small instance when my daughter upset me and I went to my room to scream into my pillow, I came out to find that I had been gone what apparently was far too long because they had enough time to find the Desitan and squeeze most of the tube all over themselves and the rug. At that point, I lost it. I started shrieking and screaming and crying and wondering why they would do this "to me" and as I started to run a bath and put them in to scrub them down, I couldn't control my hysteria and I just kept sobbing and muttering about how I couldn't do this anymore and how much I hated "you."

And I was so angry with God and I'm pretty sure it was Him that I felt like I hated at this point.

After all, why would He give me these horrible children that would do something so awful to upset me and why would He allow me to become pregnant once again when I can barely take care of the two I already have?

Of course, this was my hysteria thinking, not that I actually feel this way when I am calm. Of course the children are going to get into whatever they can get their hands on, it's my job to keep stuff like that out of their reach. And wouldn't it have been a completely different scenario if I came out to find that they had gotten into a medicine bottle or some cleaner?

And of course He's going to continue to allow me to become pregnant with children if that is His will because I left it completely up to Him to control this aspect of my life and was willing to accept and love any children He gave to me. After all, it is our privilege as women to be given such gifts and who are we to refuse them?

But at the same time, is there room for me to "plan" at all and do I have the right to say not at this time, Lord?
I struggle with this issue, especially after having several discussions with different people in my life who all have different scenarios and feel strongly about it in different ways.

This may sound awful but I still haven't come to the point in this pregnancy where I actually want this baby and it really kills me to feel this way. My husband tells me that's not normal and I shouldn't feel that way but I have to wonder if it really is just a normal reaction to the situation I feel I'm in? It hasn't helped being harassed in the beginning from certain people about our "choice" to get pregnant again. And it hasn't helped that my daughter is just at that age where she's really starting to test her limits and boundaries with me. It hasn't helped that I just can't seem to make a decision about what I want and how I feel most days.

When will I come to the point of being excited and happy about this pregnancy, having the joy that comes with doing God's will and allowing Him the power over these things?

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Did I just threaten the pizza delivery boy's life?!!"

One evening this past week we had a major storm in my area and our power was out for a few hours, making it impossible to cook dinner. We had originally planned to go to the store and get some food to make but since the power was out, we opted to spring for pizza. Joe called his friend that lives nearby and asked him what pizza places were good around here. We don't have regular chain pizza joints like Dominos or Pizza Hut but the small specialty shops are even better anyway. His friend suggested this place about 10 min. down the road and we called to order 2 medium pizzas.

The guy taking our order told us it would be about 1/2 hour to forty five minutes. At this point, it was about 5:30 and I was a little hungry but not too bad and it was earlier than we usually eat dinner so I wasn't so worried about the kids needing to eat right away. But then 6:25 came and we realized we hadn't gotten our pizza in the time that was given to us. So Joe called and the manager was a little evasive and said "Oh, he's leaving right now. Bare with us, we're a little busy." Joe told him to hurry up and asked him how much longer because he has a pregnant wife and two young children that need to eat and we can not make dinner for ourselves because the power is out. The guy informed him it would be maybe another 10 minutes at the most. So, 10 minutes came and went and before we knew it, it was almost 7. By this time, I was shaking because I was so hungry and the kids were crying because they were hungry and we didn't even have any snacks to tide us over! (We really needed to go to the store!)

So Joe called back. The guy said he didn't know where the pizza delivery guy was and he'd call us back when he found him. He didn't call back. Joe called again after another 15 minutes passed. He informed the manager that we would not be paying for the pizzas and that he needed to take the pizzas off our bank card that we had given him over the phone when we ordered. The manager said he was too busy to do this. Finally the pizza boy showed up and the pizzas of course were cold. I was so upset and out of my mind from not just regular hunger but pregnancy hunger, that wonderful feeling that you're about to pass out and your mind is a big blurry mess and you can't think straight and I don't know about anyone else but I get irate over everything!!!!!

Joe argued with the boy about taking the bill off our bank card and the boy said he would have to come in to the shop and do it, that they couldn't do it right then. He also told Joe he could come in and get two free pizzas instead but wouldn't give him anything to prove he could do this. I told him to tell the boy to leave the cold pizzas but to go and get us 2 new hot ones and bring them back as well and that would be our free pizza. I don't think that agreement was exchanged and finally the cold pizzas were brought in and the boy left.

I immediately started cutting up a piece for our son Aidan and was trying (not very well) to stay calm as I bantered on about how stupid I thought Pennsylvanians are and how no body around here ever seems to know what they're doing and how I wanted to move "home." Five minutes later, the boy showed back up and informed Joe he hadn't signed the credit slip. I told Joe not to sign it and he got into an argument with the boy about it. The boy then asked him why he had to make things difficult and at that, I lost it!! I was so hungry and so angry at this point that I stormed into the living room and told the boy shriekingly that if he didn't leave right now, I'd kill him!! And I slammed the door in his face. I don't even really remember doing it so much as that it was me that was doing it, rather I felt like I was watching it happen. I was so crazy!!!

After I got pizza in me, which was really cold and kind of gross but would've probably been good if it had been hot, I realized what I did and felt bad. "Did I just threaten the pizza delivery boy's life?" I asked my husband in shock. I didn't feel bad just for having threatened the boy but also because I totally went crazy in front of my kids and while they might not have noticed being the age they are now, if they were older, they definitely would have noticed. I don't like feeling like I set this horrible example of how to deal with a problematic situation such as what happened that evening. But at the same time, I wonder why does hunger and especially pregnancy hunger, make me so crazy? And how do I make sure that if I ever am that hungry again, I don't snap like I did over that pizza being so late? It doesn't just happen to me, either. I've witnessed many other hungry women, a lot of them pregnant, going nuts over stressful situations. Or maybe not even stressful situations but a happening that could've been pretty innocent but in the hazy mania of a hungry person's mind, it was not innocent at all.

I know that this is not how God wants us to set examples for our children and that we need to learn to be patient with people that upset us. And I know there are always going to be situations that don't pan out in the exact way we might like them to and that there is a proper way to deal with our disappointment or anger over this. But in a situation like mine where hunger was a major factor and I have always been susceptible to being cranky when I don't eat every few hours anyway, how do I avoid acting on the crazy hysteria I feel when things are even the slightest bit irritating? Is it just that I have to be responsible enough to make sure my blood sugar is always at the norm and I am eating every few hours as I need to?

I am wondering if this isn't right along the same lines as avoiding temptation, as we are called to do. Avoiding temptation all together, not allowing ourselves to be in a tempting situation and then trying to battle our way out. I think that it is kind of the same with this hunger thing. I know that if I get put- or put myself- in a tempting situation, there is a really good chance I will not make it out, that I will give in. Just like everyone. No body is totally immune to temptation, no matter how strong they think they are or how strong their faith is. But here, in the hunger situation, I think that I have to make sure to avoid the beginnings of hunger all together because I know there is a good chance that the end result, which is usually getting crazy upset with the closest person (usually my hubby or children), will not be avoided.

I think back to that evening when we ordered pizza and I know I should've probably scrounged for something, anything, to put in my stomach while we waited for the pizza. And yes, it still would've been annoying that the pizza was so late but I probably wouldn't have threatened that poor delivery boy who stood open-mouthed as I slammed the door in his face. I was so nauseated, I just didn't want to eat anything but I should've made myself find something and eat anyway. It is a funny story in actuality but at the same time, it's not. I scared some poor teen-aged boy and I set a really bad example for my children. I hope I can remember this the next time we order out if it ends up being a little late.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Potty Training Continued

The past few days with a diaperless 2 1/2 year old have been pretty good. Only a few peeing accidents here and there, mainly happening when I allowed her to put panties on and she got back into the mode of feeling like she had something to go in. However, other times she did make trips to the bathroom when I did have a diaper or panties on her and she took them off herself and went potty. The other day, she did #2 3 times in the potty. Two of them, she went in on her own decision and did it. I am determined to have her potty trained completely in the next few months. Lets hope she doesn't revert back to diapers when the new baby comes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Potty Training

We started potty training our 2 1/2 year old around the time she turned 2, probably at about 18 months, actually. But we weren't very gung-ho about it. We bought her a potty (one that sings and does all that crazy stuff but we didn't put the batteries in it) and started teaching her that poo poo and pee pee belong in the potty. In the beginning, she was very excited about trying this new way of "doing her business." Like a lot of parents, we rewarded her with M & M's (or as she calls them, "Lemmys") when she went. She had one accidental #2 in the potty but for 8 or so months, that was it for that aspect of it. She went #1 more easily. It was never a matter of not knowing she had to go or not being able to control herself. Most days, she would do a few #1's in the potty but no #2's. She just wasn't ready for that. Then she lost interest in using the potty, I think about the time her brother started being more active and had more of our attention, as is usually the case when a new baby comes. She was 19 months when he was born and wasn't really aware of his place in the family so I think at first, she wasn't too threatened by his presence. But as he got bigger and more pronounced as an addition to our family that was vying for our attention, mine especially, she started to feel a little competitive. I only am guessing at this by her actions, of course, I'm not sure how she really felt.

So, here we are, a year later. She will be 3 in November. And I keep thinking that I am not going to be able to stand changing 3 butts a day! Hers will undoubtedly seem enormous to me once the new baby comes and I am determined to have her potty-trained completely by then. She is Miss Independent for the most part and I feel like she is completely ready. She knows when she has to go. She tells me "Mommy, I poopy, change my diaper" as she hands me a diaper and the wipes box.

We always make a big deal out of the times when she does go on the potty. And she loves that attention. And I KNOW she loves those lemmys!

The other day, I decided to take my sister's advice and let her go with out a diaper. Yes, this means bare-butt all day! (Unless of course we go out.) It's a little frightening at first, especially for someone like me that usually has to have things 'just so' and can't stand the thought of my area rug getting messed up. But at the same time, I am really determined to have her potty trained and if this is what works the best, I have to sacrifice my little OCD tendencies and let her do what she's going to do. Besides, most of our floor is hard wood surface so it's not a huge deal if she has an accident!

So off came the diaper and the real potty training began.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

You Have Something On Your Sleeve....Oh Wait, That's Just Your Heart

Being pregnant allows for many things. It allows for a reason to sleep during the day with a good excuse. It allows for the chance to eat more food. ( I say more, not bad!) And I agree with my sister that it also allows for being able to wear certain articles of clothing that you couldn't get away with if you weren't pregnant. It also allows for the not so nice things such as extra skin and aching muscles and those fantastically crazy hormones that tend to go rampant at any given moment.

Today, I woke up in a bad mood. I have been very short with my children for doing things little children do that really aren't anything to get upset about....but there I was, yelling at them both. And, earlier, I was sitting with my daughter in the living room while she watched a cartoon before she took a nap and I was just suddenly overcome with the need to cry. I hadn't even really started crying yet when she looked at me and said "What's wrong, mommy? Don't cry." And then came and gave me a kiss on my cheek.

At that moment, I just wanted to squeeze her just shy of too-tight and tell her how much I love her and that I always will, no matter what. I wanted to try to make her understand somewhere in that 2 1/2 year old brain of hers that her mommy isn't perfect and that even aside from crazy pregnancy hormones, there is this sadness I can't get rid of and I don't want her to ever feel like it's her fault and I don't want her to be stunted in her emotional or mental growth in any way just because I can't seem to get a hold of myself sometimes. I have found that even though crazy hormones are a norm. when you're pregnant, I can't seem to shake feeling just as crazy and out of whack when I'm not pregnant.

How do I explain to my children that emotions are a normal part of life and some people have a harder time dealing with them than others? I worry constantly that I am unable to figure out why I'm so sensitive and that there's nothing I can ever do about it and that somehow, in some way, it will affect them negatively. Will my bouts of anxiety or sadness scar them in some terrible way? Will they take on a constant worry about me every time they see me cry? How much am I supposed to not allow them to see?

I remember someone telling me that they never allowed their children to see them cry. I can't even remember who that was now, I just remember that statement and I remember that at the time, I didn't understand why, having not had children yet. And I remember someone else telling me it was okay to allow your children to see you cry. But what if you're crying for a reason you can't explain? And as quizzical as children are, you know they're going to ask. I'm sure it's a scary thing to see your parents cry so where is the line that we should draw between what's appropriate show of emotion and what's not? I worry about this constantly, especially now because my daughter, even though only 2 1/2 seems to notice these things and has some sort of understanding that crying often means something is wrong.

It's hard to wrap my brain around the intricate details of a human being, the way God made us, how He planned it all out and why. It's an ever-evasive concept to grasp, God's work, and I can't seem to even glimpse the smallest idea of why emotions are so profound and how we are to understand these things, especially within ourselves. And then, how are we to teach our children about the natural part of it all and the proper way to interact with each other, despite how we are feeling at any given moment?

I used to be really good at hiding how I felt but then my life threw up all over itself and I was left wearing everything I ever feel right there on my sleeve. I haven't figured out what to put away to hide and what is okay to be seen, so everything is right out there in plain sight, in view of everyone, waiting to be slapped off or cleaned up or lovingly wiped away.....or just accepted as somewhat of a beautiful mess. But I have found that my inability to "put away" or hide my feelings about things has gotten me into some trouble of sorts. And then there's that whole parenting thing as well, trying to figure out what is okay for my children to see and what really needs to be hidden.......


Even though Angelina has a pretty good grasp on things and understands a lot for only being 2 1/2, which answer is better for her question of the morning?

"Angel, I'm fine. Mommy just has a baby (maybe two) in her belly right now and they make her feel like throwing up every day and we have several family members that feel the need to make us feel bad for allowing God to work in this area of our lives however He wants. Oh and my back hurts and you and your brother are driving me nuts and the house is a mess and I don't want to get off this couch, even to eat. You woke me up at 4 this morning and your brother woke me up to get up at 7. I miss your daddy and the fact that he has to get a second job to support us is really wearing on me because then we will be seeing him even less. I want us to go on vacation this July but it seems like we might not be able to, even though we already sunk some money into a condo at the beach that we can't get back and who knows how long it will be until we get another chance to have a vacation...maybe never? Not to mention that the hot water heater is leaking and I don't think the dishwasher is in good working condition either."

or

"Mommy just doesn't feel well, baby. I'm okay."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Worldly View of What Matters

I recently had an email discussion with one of my mothers-in-law (because I was blessed with two!) about the whole topic of more babies and our particular stance on it. We told Joe’s side of the family last week that we are expecting another baby and we were met with the responses we knew we’d get.

In the end of the email discussion, I’m guessing so as to not get into a conversation about feelings (because they are often viewed as something you’re not supposed to have on his side), she stated that as long as Joe and I are comfortable and happy, that’s all that matters. At first thought, this might be a completely nice thing to say but given the context of the email, it wasn’t her saying “We are happy for you if you’re happy…” so I took it as the general worldly view I have come to know quite well through others in my life. I wanted so badly to respond to that but I feel as though I’m always fighting a losing battle when it comes to opening up his side of the family to less-narrow views of things and this one, the view that if you’re happy nothing else matters, is a particularly hard concept to swallow. Do people really believe that or is it always just a jumble of words people throw together because it sounds good and they don’t want to invest any other emotions into it?

I don't think that we can say that as long as we're happy, that's all that matters. What if happiness to me was drowning my kids in the bathtub or stealing cars or even just being lazy all day or smoking pot all the time or sleeping around or snorting coke? Or allowing the world to raise my children instead of giving 150% of myself to their growth and emotional well being? As long as they’re happy who cares that the world raised them to be sex-aholics or alcoholics or child molesters or abusive spouses? And as long as we were happy allowing the world to teach them those things, nothing else matters, right?


That’s what I really wanted to say to her. Because I felt like it would maybe open up her mind a little bit to think about the general statement she made of as long as we’re happy, that’s all that matters. Where was that line last year when we decided we weren’t going to circumcise our son and got a whole lot of crap from his side of the family because they had to express their opinion on how wrong we were in deciding that? How about how wrong you are for torturing your sons as infants by cutting off part of their body just because society said it was okay and everyone else was doing it? And how come she can’t say that to Joe’s brother who in her mind is this big loser because he is in and out of jobs all the time and likes to party and smoke pot and drink a lot? How come she can’t say “as long as you’re happy, nothing else matters” instead of talking about him all the time and putting him down every chance she gets?

I really mean no harm in saying any of these things and really, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just don’t understand and I have to wonder how people can justify doing whatever they want because it makes them happy and then feel like they have nobody to answer to for it? Sometimes I really have to think God was crazy in giving us free will but then again, how are we to grow and strengthen our faith in and love for Him if we never have free will? How are we to teach our kids about this supposedly loving God when all they could ever see is the bad stuff He “allows” to happen? And not be able to teach them that it’s individual people that may have caused those bad things in the first place (because of free will)?

And didn’t He send His only son to die for the sins we commit because of that free will? But why back then and not now, when the world seems like it couldn’t possibly get any worse?

How do I teach my kids that it’s not about our happiness? That yes, we should strive to be happy people and some of us have more trouble than others doing this for many reasons, but at the same time, we shouldn’t be selling ourselves out for that happiness. We shouldn’t be allowing society or anyone tell us what it means to be happy or what we can do to gain happiness if it goes against God’s plan or God’s law. How do I teach my children that they will have to answer for every decision that they make and they should constantly be seeking God’s guidance and approval in every aspect of their lives in order to make good decisions that would be pleasing to Him? Especially when there are so many people telling them it doesn’t have to be that hard, that all they have to do is do what makes them happy and they’ll be fine. I already have this fear, as I am probably going to someday too-soon have to explain to my daughter why she was at our wedding. How do I make an example out of that, teaching her to understand the ways of sin and as much as I know of the ways of God, so that she can see it as an example and not view us as hypocrites?

I probably sound really harsh, especially concerning my in-laws. But I tend to get a little upset over the idea that I really care about them and I can’t do anything to help them see God’s desire to be number one in their lives. It kind of makes me feel helpless because I also constantly find myself feeling like perhaps there is a specific reason why someone like me has entered their lives. I get a little upset that they cut me off the second things start to lean in the direction of talking about feelings and pointing to the possibility that the way they view certain issues might not be completely right. Not that I am always right but I am convicted on the general idea that since God created life, we should be humbled to allow Him to control it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

News Story

Today I am very sad and contemplative over a news story I first heard about on t.v. and then read about on AOL news. A 23 year old woman and 3 of her 4 young daughters were found hanging in a closet this morning in Texas. It is believed to be a murder-suicide deal. As I am thinking of this, I am grieving over the loss of those children and left wondering what went through their mother’s head as she was tying them up to hang? Her 4th child, a mere 8 months old, was also hung but somehow miraculously survived the hanging and is said to be in good condition at a nearby hospital.

My heart aches at the thought that any mother could do something so horrific but at the same time, I wonder if there is something about being a mother that causes such crazy thoughts that lead a mother to do something like that. I am going to be completely real here and say that there have been times when the angry thought of throwing my child against a wall or putting a pillow over my screaming baby’s face have flashed through my mind in a millisecond when I’ve been completely overwhlemed. But at the same time, I have that filter that enables me to realize that the tiny flash of a thought is like a red flag for me, telling me I’m getting too caught up in the desparation of my child’s neediness and I need to take a second to breathe. And I do. And everything is fine. It’s not even a second thought in my head. Ever. I have been told it’s completely normal to have such feelings, especially when I was a new mom in a less than ideal situation and everything for me was so crazy.

So what is it that makes these mothers go beyond that little flash of craziness in their minds and allow it to bypass that filter, plan out such a brutal thing and carry their plan to fruition? Is it the situation that they’re in? Is it, as some cases have panned out, a mental thing? Apparently, there have been several other mothers in Texas in the past 5 or so years that have killed their children, one committing suicide afterwards as well. In this case, is it location? They were all found not guilty by reason of insanity but I’m not sure I buy that whole insanity plea thing completely.

Can it be that they go temporarily insane?

This woman lived in a trailor with 4 young children and no husband around. Can it be said that her situation, as stressful as it probably was, be the cause for her “temporary insanity?”

It’s times like these that I have to ask God “why?” He gave this woman those children, knowing she was going to take their lives. I don’t understand this part of the “big picture” but I have to believe that there is an even bigger picture, a huge part that I can’t see and if I only could, then I’d know why. But right now, right here, on earth, it is not meant to be seen. I have to remember my faith in a God who gives and takes as He sees fit for His purposes, a God who allows us free will but at the same time has a perfect will of His own that will make sense to us when we are in eternity with Him. We are not meant to understand these things and I think that their purpose is to help us turn to Him and allow it to strengthen our faith in Him.

As a mother, I am horrified over the idea that someone could actually murder their own children. Regardless of the circumstances or reasons or mental status, I can not wrap my mind around such a heart-wrenching occurance. I look at the faces of my children and even when they’re screaming, I feel such a love for them that I could never adequately describe in even the most heart-warming concoction of words. I look at their big blue eyes and even when they’re filled with angry tears I see a beautiful innocense and light that I am completely convinced is the face of God. How does one see something other than that in their children? Something that apparently is so horrible that they can’t stand the thought of them taking one more breath?

Being the mother of a 2 ½ year old, I can attest to the fact that I have been so angry I sometimes couldn’t even think straight, over something she did or how she was acting toward me. But at the same time, I know that as her mother, it is my job to teach her to be different. She is, after all, acting her age. How can one be so completely in disregard for this fact that they would take whatever they are feeling and turn on their children with it? Is there really such a thing as blind rage?


I am completely lost over this whole thing today and I feel as though I’m just babbling on with whatever thoughts come into my head, rational or not. I apologize to anyone reading this if it doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps I can come back tomorrow and edit. Right now, I have to go hug my children.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bursting Bubbles

I have a heavy heart as I contemplate a predicament I face with one of my friends. She has several children and while she loves being a mother and serving God in that aspect of her life, and does give that aspect of her life completely over to Him, she isn’t in the position of really wanting more kids, just as I am not. She has a very hard time accepting the news of a new pregnancy and often is in denial about the reality of her situation. So, as I was speaking with her this morning about how overwhelmed I am and she was empathizing with me on the subject, she shared with me her own fear of the possibility of yet another pregnancy.
I urged her to take a test.
She was supposed to be going to a family party this weekend and was worried that she couldn’t have a drink and then people would be asking her why and she wasn’t ready for all of that. But she needed to know so that she could make the decision not to have a drink.
This afternoon, she took a test and I called her to find out the result. The first thing she shared was her elation over a negative result. She was so happy. I was happy for her, in that I knew that she would have a very hard time allowing herself to give in to the concept of another baby. But as I recalled what she had been telling me earlier about her NFP charts and her cycle, etc, with the teeny bit of knowledge I possess on the subject, I saw out of the corner of my mind’s eye a red flag slowly being raised.
I did not want to burst her bubble with my reservations about the test being accurate. How do I tell my dear friend, who means so much to me, something that will put her down into a low that I myself have been in numerous times and can vividly remember the complete darkness and total chaos it can create within oneself?


*Now, before I go on, I must reiterate that both my friend and I are on a similar path when it comes to child-rearing and the fact that we are willing to do whatever God plans for us as mothers. But at the same time, it is a hard task to mother even one child, let alone three or four or five (or more) and I understand, especially because I am now faced with mothering three, how she feels about mothering five. I do not think her fears, worries, anger, resentment or any other initial negative reaction to another pregnancy are unwarranted or out of place. After all, the most important things in life are also the hardest and it is very much human nature to have a sense of anxiety over such things on the surface, even if your heart is completely willing to oblige.*

I allowed my friend to have her moment and after a conversation about other matters that were unimportant in nature, we got off the phone.
Then I talked to my sister, who is as newly pregnant as I am. She knows a lot about NFP, as she was practicing it before. She also suggested that the details of our friend’s chartings and cycle were a little bit fishy and that she was a little worried that the negative test result could have in fact been wrong.
So here I am, knowing I need to at least tell my friend that she should take another test at some point, but I still am hesitant about bursting that bubble. And what if she hates me because I suggested she take another test and it’s positive? There’s a reason the phrase “don’t kill the messenger” was coined.
But at the same time, I am thinking I want to scream at her and say “Don’t you know that there are tons of people out there that are in worse situations than you are that are pregnant and don’t know what the hell to do?!!” The situation I was in when I was pregnant with my daughter was far from ideal and it was all I could do to get out of bed every day and get to work, knowing my life had already changed and that I just had no clue as to how much yet…..knowing I could do absolutely nothing about it. God bless my friend, she isn’t in a place where she can say “yippee, a baby…” and she may never be there. But hopefully, she will find the strength to accept what God plans for her with a little more ease than she has in the past.


Later……

So I called my friend and she didn’t want to hear what I had to say but she listened anyway. I was shocked she made it through letting me speak but at the same time, her reaction was not surprising. In total denial-fashion, she told me she had to go. She was going to enjoy her day because it was such a happy one finding out she wasn’t pregnant and she wasn’t going to heed my advice about taking another test.
I love her, I really do. I love the way she won’t allow things to knock her down right away. Me, I’d be flat on the floor crying as soon as she said that the test could’ve been wrong and I would’ve hung up the phone and not answered it ever again.
I am praying that she can get over this enough to see it for what it is and, just to be sure that she isn’t putting herself or possibly her baby in any sort of danger over the weekend, take a test.
And I’m praying that even though I popped her bubble with the largest pin I could find that she won’t hate me, especially if her next test is positive.

Setting Examples For Our Children

Yesterday, I watched “A Wedding Story” on t.v. as I rested and my children were down for a nap. I seem to have forgotten how taxing the day can become even by 11:30 in the morning when you’re pregnant. I wasn’t really watching for content, although it’s always nice to see two people who are truly in love get married. I really just wanted a taste of the feeling I get when I do witness this particular type of event, a mix between sadness and joy over my own beginning of life with my husband.
However, this is not what I sat down to write about.
When the girl was talking about how thrilled she was to have her father walk her down the aisle and how much it meant to her, she said she loved him for showing her how a man should love his wife. Today I am contemplative over this thought as I revisit what I must’ve felt yesterday but was too tired to explore and write about.
It makes me think about the concreteness of being a parent; the specifics by which we are to uphold our willingness to teach our children about every single aspect of life. Children learn from us first and foremost. Relationships are one of the biggest (and toughest) concepts to teach, as they are the hardest things to really understand and work out. I think about my son and how he will grow up and probably find a woman who reminds him of me. I think how scary that is, in that I am far from the ideal woman I’d like to see my son marrying. But at the same time, it makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to be a better wife; and in turn it makes me be a better mother. I think of my daughter and how she will grow up and find a man who treats her the same way her dad treats me, and she will see the role I play as a wife and mimic that in her marriage. They both will soak up every ounce of relationship exampling we will give them over the years like thirsty sponges on the shoreline. How do we make sure we don’t leave them wanting?
I’m not sure Joe understands the concept of getting deep into the murky waters of parenting. He seems to have his waders on, pacing back and forth where the waterline reaches just below the top of them. I don’t think he quite gets that these children are ours to teach about life, to love unconditionally, to raise knowing the many faces of God and that we have to give a major effort to all of that. I think I’m a little further ahead, having jumped into the deep end the moment I decided my daughter was for keeps. But I am sometimes floundering and often wish I could retreat back to that safe spot where I can just put on my hot pink waders and a bathing suit top and just kind of mother my children between catching a tan and drinking a margarita! But I know that mothering unlimited is as for keeps as my daughter is. I can’t allow myself to take the easy road, busying my life with what I want to do and giving my children my time when I allow for it.


I can’t really blame my husband for being a little hesitant about wanting to go into the deep end with our kids. He didn’t have parents who did that. He learned from them that parenting was an option, not a priority. He doesn’t know any different. But I am amazed at how well he has adjusted to this concept, even if he doesn’t get it completely yet. I’m not even sure I get it completely yet, as I am still discovering new things each day that I don’t realize are my jobs as these children’s mom. So, Joe, have a big pat on the back from me because you are doing the best you can at the stage you’re in and I love you for it!
I think I am having a hard time because examples weren’t set for me in the best of ways either. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this issue but at the same time, in doing so, I have come to realize that a lot of what I thought mattered when it came to the way my parents raised me, ultimately didn’t matter at all. And in fact, despite the feeling that the aspect of relationships wasn’t really a strong point in my parents’ teachings, I have discovered that I somehow knew the examples that were set were not right and came to the conclusion on my own that I didn’t want things to be that way with my relationships.
The subject of relationships is probably the hardest thing to teach out of anything our children can learn from us or in school. I can only pray that I am doing the absolute best that I can in setting good examples for my children. I think about how different my relationship with my husband is since we got married and how we are slowly coming to an understanding of the way we each work, the inner ticking of our hearts, and the differences that make us unique, the ones that build up our relationship instead of tear it down as we initially thought they would. We are desperately grasping at anything that will show us how to love each other better, respect each other more and trust each other in a way that shows us, our children and everyone else that we actually do love each other. Someone once told me that she can see the potential for a love between us that people will envy. I want my children to learn that kind of love between a husband and a wife and the only way I can make sure they do is by working hard at my relationship with my husband and keeping their best interest in sight as one of many motivators.
The love I have for my husband and my children will never be as great as the love God has for His world but I am going to try my hardest to get as close as I possibly can to that and make sure my children take at least that example from me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Son's Birthday and More

Today is my son’s one-year birthday. I can’t believe that it was a year ago today that I was back in Frederick at our condo, giving birth to my baby boy, Aidan. It was my first home-birth and he was my VBAC baby, two accomplishments that collided into one great adventure on a beautiful May day.

I think back over the last year and I am amazed at the places I have been within myself that I never knew I could visit. I’ve discovered many aspects about my life that I want to change, things I want to get rid of, feelings I have grown from and depths I did not know I was capable of extending to. My son has inspired many thoughts and feelings that I could not have had with out him in my life. He has added even more joy to my life as a mother and has cemented my love for my children even more-so than before. I remember just the other day, he was having some sort of moment with his sister and they were both laughing so hysterically, I thought my heart would burst with happiness over theirs. I find it especially moving when a one year old can be filled with so much joy over- what I perceived as- nothing.

Today my son looks older to me, bigger, and I can’t help but feel a slight shadowing of my heart at the inevitability that some day he will be much older, much bigger, and he won’t need me the way he needs me now and he won’t squeal with happiness with his sister over “nothing” and he won’t glide through the house carefree and full of the knowledge that someone is taking care of him, that he has nothing to worry about. I only hope that even though he won’t be on that level of free spiritedness and joy, that he will still know that there is Someone taking care of him and he still has nothing to worry about. But how I do teach him this? When do I start? Now, when he can’t really understand so that it’s always in the background of his mind, always a flicker of knowledge in his heart, so that some day when he does understand what I am saying, he can say ‘yes, Mom, I’ve always known…” and really mean that?

Happy Birthday Aidan! You are loved and no matter where you go or what you do, your Father in Heaven is watching over you and you never have anything to worry about.

With the news of my pregnancy with my third child, I have grown more weary over the fact that life is completely out of my control. But at the same time, knowing Whose control it’s in gives me peace once I realize that it doesn’t matter where my path goes or what I am doing, as long as I have His hand to guide me. My children are really His children and I have only the few blinks of His eye in the whole span of time for them to be called mine.

I have caught a bit of negativity from people over this new baby and I find it hard to be able speak in a way that helps them to understand God’s place in my life, every aspect of it, including and especially this one. I remember one of my friends once telling me I sounded corny when I spoke of God in my life. I understand what she means but at the same time, I know she has no clue what it’s like to want to give up your life to Someone Who you can’t see and don’t have tangible proof that He exists. But then again, can’t our children be considered tangible proof that God is real? Babies especially are mirrors of God’s love for us, His faith in us as His children shining through the faces of ours. How can you look into a baby’s eyes and not know that God exists and that everything is because, for, about and in praise of Him?

We have not told Joe’s family yet. I think we’re both leery of even the thought that there might be some negative response to the news. Neither of us are ready for that. With things that have transpired over the past few years, it wouldn’t surprise either of us but at the same time, we are always hoping that it will not be the case. We are always hoping that they’ll be completely overjoyed at the idea of a new baby just because it is proof of God’s work in our lives, one of His greatest gifts to human beings. I think we both are always praying that the hearts of his family can be more open with things like this. This isn’t to say that they are horrible people, because they’re not. They are wonderful people. I just think that the world has taken its toll on them and they don’t know how to be any different.

I am blessed to have the kind of family that knows with every ounce of their being that we can not be subject to the general nature of today’s world. We have to keep sight of the truth of God’s promise of Love for us and His absolute power over us. A lot of people think that just because my family is big, we all want big families of our own and aren’t being realistic when it comes to having babies, etc. This is just not true. I actually would rather not have a big family, even though there are countless benefits and blessings that come with having many siblings that I wouldn’t want my children to miss out on. But I know myself and I know that I sometimes allow difficulties to drag me down further than other people; and it is difficult to have a big family.

But I grew up knowing, having solid proof, that no matter what situation we were in, God always took care of us, He always provided for us. I don’t need anything trying to muck up my faith in Him, especially not when it’s coming from friends and family who are supposed to be loving and supportive without “secret” feelings of their own that they hide behind pasted on smiles and only speak of when we’re not around or who are overly annoying about their thoughts on the subject. Our God is an awesome God and He never gives us anymore than we are capable of handling.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"I know you don't believe in birth control, but...."

Today I spoke with a friend of mine to tell her that I was pregnant. I originally decided to keep the news a secret from most people, family included, until I was ready to face the reality myself. But yesterday, when I was visiting my mom, my sister somehow got it out of me. She does that a lot, I could never keep anything from her. So, after that, the idea to keep it a secret extended only to certain family members and a few other people in our life.
My friend's first reaction was "you should really do something about the fact that you keep having kids...." I'm a little unnerved by this statement. I know she means well and given the fact that she doesn't really know me deep down, I tend to want to just dismiss her comment as unimportant. But at the same time, I have found myself in contemplation over the fact that as a society, the general attitude about children is one of viewing our God-given GIFT of procreation as a negative thing that needs to be controlled. One of my sisters and I had a discussion about this just a short while ago. As she said, it's like children are looked at as something that we allow in our lives only if we are ready, if we feel like we want the "burden" of them.


My friend said "I know you don't believe in birth control because of your religion but......." Right there, I just wanted to laugh out loud at her narrow view of what my beliefs are and her general assumption that I would do something just because someone told me to. I do believe in the authority of the Catholic Church but I have to feel like there is something to back up that authority. My heart-felt conviction on artificial birth control is that it completely closes the door to God in allowing for His work in my life in the aspect of procreation; which by the way is a beautiful aspect of human life that He created. If I do everything in my power to make sure I don't get pregnant just because I don't want to have more kids, I am cutting Him off from doing with my life what He wants to do. I can't pick and choose what aspects of my life I want God to be a part of, it has to be all.

I feel like in any situation, it would be cutting Him off. I am a little saddened by people who choose to do so for reasons such as not wanting more kids, not feeling like they can handle another pregnancy, etc. I am even more saddened by people who spend their life trusting God in every aspect except for this one. A friend of a friend of mine has a problem with her pregnancies in that it's dangerous for both her and the baby. It's almost life-threatening. So she and her husband decided they aren't having any more children because it's too dangerous. I have mixed feelings about this subject. On the one hand, I can't say that I wouldn't at least contemplate that idea if I knew that being pregnant was dangerous and I can't pretend to know how it feels to feel like you have to make a decision like that. But on the other hand, I just can't understand how you can be completely devoted to God in every aspect of your life except for this one, a major part of all human life. I don't get it. If God allows you to become pregnant, obviously knowing that you have this problem, there's a reason for it. Perhaps He gave you this problem as yet another way to turn your faith and trust to Him.
I don't feel like you can take the Word of God and say that it does or does not apply to you because you may or may not have a "special circumstance."

Back to my conversation with my friend, I think it's easy for her to see my being pregnant for the third time as something that is bad. She has some of the same concerns I initially do. The difference between us is that I have God to whisper in my ear words of encouragement and peace, reminding me of His infinite Love for me as His child and my friend doesn't see God as the ultimate One in control of our lives. Doubts and worries are normal feelings to have as a human being. Putting our faith and trust in Him is what calms them and diminishes them so that we may give more of our lives to Him. I can't pretend that I want a million kids just to want them. I don't. I want what God wants for me. If He wants me to have more children, I want to do so with the heart and mind that He is in control of my life and that I am mothering His children for His purposes.

Babies aren't accidents. God knows each and every child on this earth before they are even formed in their mother's wombs. He plans for everything.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A little more stretching

This morning I found out I am pregnant again. I realized last night that I might be "late," but wasn't sure because my cycle is still out of whack after just getting it all back 2 months ago from having my son, Aidan, last May. So, this morning, when my husband got up, I did too and I took a test. He knocked on the bathroom door and opened it. I was sitting on the lid of the toilet, staring at the test on the side of the tub as if it was a child with 3 eyes. At first, the line down the middle of the "cross" was so faint, I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me. But as my husband entered the room and shut the door, the line grew dark and by the time I was finished telling myself for the fiftieth time that I wasn't sure I wanted to be pregnant again just yet, he had a look of complete fear in his eyes and he whispered, 'hold me.' I'm not sure how long I had the thought in my head that he should be holding me since I'm the one that is going to get bigger, I'm the one that has to carry this child inside me for 40 weeks, I'm the one who has to be up late at night to nurse after he/she is born......but the time couldn't have been more than a few milliseconds because I did hold him and I wasn't thinking anything but I hope he's okay with this.
The thing is, I had one and then 8 months later, I was pregnant with my second. I knew in my heart that God was not finished but I thought I'd have a little more time between the second and third. I had been exercising, I just bought a bunch of clothes because I had lost a lot of weight and nothing fit anymore. I just decided the other day I was going to start jogging in the mornings while my husband got ready for work. But as I am typing these things, none of it matters. I hear God laughing at me because these things are so petty. I hear Him laughing even when I worry about money and the fact that we have no health insurance right now. Because He is so much bigger than all of it and I can't seem to remember that quite as much as I should.
And I feel bad for worrying, for feeling like I don't want to be pregnant. I love being a mother, I love doing what God wants me to do. But I also feel overwhelmed and stretched way beyond myself....But then again, isn't that what mothers are supposed to do, stretch far beyond themselves for their children?
I guess in the next 9 or so months, I'll be doing just a little more stretching.