Edit: I have a tendency, when some small inconvenience happens in my life, to act like it is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone—-EVER. I pout and whine and complain about it. I’m extremely introspective (so much so that it can -and often does- become sinful navel-gazing). Even with the knowledge that this is my default the lie that “it cannot get worse than this” still runs my life and I still fall into the bad habit of lamenting and whining.
The following blog post is one I wrote when I was deep in a state of “woe is me.” I was quickly shaken out of that state when a young boy (whose family I love dearly) died unexpectedly in an accident.
The severity of that tragedy (and the proximity with which it lined up next to my own non-tragedy) brought me back down to earth.
I toyed with the idea of deleting the following words or keeping them private so I wouldn’t seem extremely vain or ungrateful, but the truth is I am extremely vain and I often am extremely ungrateful.
In the end, I decided to share this post because I think being authentic and honest is important. I think it’s important for many reasons but the most important of those reasons being this: when we speak our truth (and others recognize themselves in that truth) community is formed. We are reminded that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ–all of us equal. We feel less alone and more like everything is going to be alright. That’s the whole reason I write.
I am pregnant. I found out yesterday. The bare bones truth of it is this: I do not want to be pregnant. That’s one of those things “good“ Catholic mothers are not supposed to say. Most people are smart enough to keep this information to themselves. At the very least they text a friend or maybe cry into their pillows in the privacy of their bedrooms. I do all of that, too, but then I come here and hammer out these words for all of the world to see because it is my way and because maybe you know how this feels, too.
By now you probably know that my husband and I practice NFP (which mostly means that we abstain from sex during my fertile window–about one week per month– when we feel called to avoid pregnancy). NFP has never failed us (not even this time), but we have failed to follow the rules. We knew the chance(s) we were taking and we took them anyway and now, again, we are pregnant.
When I saw those two little lines on the test I sobbed uncontrollably and said, “But I don’t want to.” over and over and over. The night before I took the test my oldest daughter prayed that God would give our family another baby (and that it would be twins). She hasn’t prayed that prayer in years so I’m mostly blaming her at this point because I’m a rational adult totally capable of taking responsibility for my actions. Shut up. It’s true.
My issue with pregnancy has nothing to do with the baby. Please don’t confuse the two. Had God written me a letter saying, “Hey, by the way, in 9 months you’re going to have another baby.” I would’ve been fine with that. Five kids is a lot of kids, y’all. I know this. Trust me, I do. But, for us, it’s only one more kid and at this point one more kid seems totally doable.
Homeschooling and Pregnant
You know what doesn’t sound doable? Being pregnant whilst taking care of 4 children (who, by the way, I decided -before finding out I was pregnant- to homeschool this upcoming year). It doesn’t sound doable because pregnancy straight up sucks for me. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you probably know this by now.
I’m not going to go into all of the reasons it’s unbelievably hard, just know that the entire 9 months are really rough for me physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As He always does, the Lord gave me exactly what I needed. Just as I was elbow deep in a full-on pity party I was gifted one sentence I could say to turn my mind and heart to God’s will for me in this moment.
I was reading a post from one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert. God used Liz to give me exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. (Liz wrote Eat, Pray, Love, but she also wrote Big Magic which is one of my favorite books of all time.) Liz was sharing a bit about her partner who recently passed away and she said the following about grief:
“When Grief comes to visit me, it’s like being visited by a tsunami. I am given just enough warning to say, “Oh my god, this is happening RIGHT NOW,” and then I drop to the floor on my knees and let it rock me. How do you survive the tsunami of Grief? By being willing to experience it, without resistance.
The conversation of Grief, then, is one of prayer-and-response.
Grief says to me: “You will never love anyone the way you loved Rayya.” And I reply: “I am willing for that to be true.” Grief says: “She’s gone, and she’s never coming back.” I reply: “I am willing for that to be true.” Grief says: “You will never hear that laugh again.” I say: “I am willing.” Grief says, “You will never smell her skin again.” I get down on the floor on my f-ing knees, and — and through my sheets of tears — I say, “I AM WILLING.” This is the job of the living — to be willing to bow down before EVERYTHING that is bigger than you. And nearly everything in this world is bigger than you.”
I’m not entirely sure what Liz believes about God but I would bet our views are pretty polar opposite. Still, she says, “This is the job of living —to be willing to bow down before EVERYTHING that is bigger than you.” That’s about God, y’all. Whether she knows it or not. That’s the job of life: to bow down our wishes, our desires, our EVERYTHING to Him who is bigger and greater than all things.
I Am Willing, Lord
I am willing, Lord. When the baby needs her 3rd diaper change in 30 minutes: I am willing, Lord. When I just want to sleep for 30 more minutes (but the kids are up and need breakfast): I am willing, Lord. When I wish I could have a glass of wine or a margarita or three: I am willing, Lord. And, now, in this moment when I am pregnant and don’t want to be. I AM WILLING, LORD.
Grief is deep sorrow and the truth is this: I was deeply sorrowful when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to share my heart and Liz’s words in the event you could use this in your life even at the risk of being labelled the worst Catholic mother of all time.
Please pray for me. I’ll pray for you. And, let’s make a deal, ok? When you see me out in the world say “Congratulations” and nothing more. Let’s pretend we never had this chat because we both know in the rational, self-giving, God-led parts of our hearts and brains that this pregnancy is a beautiful blessing and that everything will be alright—it always is.
I am willing, Lord.