Sunday, August 23, 2015

Continued Humility

     As promised (for once), I continue the story. The lessons in letting go didn't stop with varicose veins. At our 38 week appointment there was cause for concern regarding preeclampsia. I had some tests run that weekend, and the results were not promising. At my next appointment, the midwife was strongly suggesting to try and induce labor. I was upset. This was not how it was supposed to be, a week early. I had things that needed to get done before Mary arrived. Code Monkey had a project due that weekend. Things were just not how I wanted them to go. I reluctantly agreed to take the midwife's advice, and left the appointment with a kit to try and induce labor naturally. I honestly was hoping that it wouldn't work; this was not how I had planned it. God had different plans. After taking different herbal tinctures and homeopathic remedies every 15 minutes for 4 hours, there was some cramping but nothing consistent, so I went to bed. Around 2 a.m. I started timing the cramps, which were 2-3 minutes apart, and called the midwife around 3 a.m. We packed up the van, headed to the birth center, and Mary Ryan was born at 6:02 a.m. on the 14th. All things considered, it was the best birth experience yet, though I don't think labor will ever be anything remotely enjoyable for me.
     At any rate, it has taken me three births to finally allow myself the "luxury" of taking time off, and actually resting. Three times my body has been pushed to its limits, and it is only now that I am fully acknowledging that, and allowing myself to recuperate without guilt. But even now it is hard to let go of the control, to admit my inability to do things, or to force myself to say "no" to things I really shouldn't be doing, especially when I can see how hard my absence has been on the boys. Particularly in regards to not holding them. I ought not be picking them up, or anything heavier than the baby, really; and it is so hard because Juanito doesn't understand. Jose is able to comprehend that Mama has a boo-boo in her tummy, and can't do X yet, but Juanito only knows that Mama isn't holding him. I know I have a responsibility to take care of Mary, and take care of myself so I can get back to doing things again, but it breaks my heart to have to tell them no, we can't do that thing because I am too broken at the moment. 
     *sigh*  I know it will get better; I know it won't be like this forever; that it's been just over a week, and I'm halfway to the slowly getting back to normal stage; but sometimes that knowledge doesn't make it any easier. 

A Lesson in Humility

     Two weeks ago, I confessed the sin of pride. It struck me, as I was waiting in line, that I could not remember confessing it before. Which is kind of a huge oversight on my part, considering how proud I am, as those few who are close to me can attest. This past year, and definitely this last pregnancy, have been one really long lesson in humility, and I'm afraid I haven't been learning as quickly or as well as I ought. 
     As much as I may seem to be a go with the flow kind of person, deep down I really like, and on a certain level need, to be in control. Not of everything, mind you, but of certain things. I guess that's not really saying much, since it seems to be part of the human condition. Anyway, losing control of those things causes me to feel like my security blanket has been stripped away, that I'm left drowning with no hope of recovery. The feeling is made that much worse when the control was so attached to what seemed like your very essence.
     My two major points of pride were my ability to govern (i.e. hide) my emotions, and how physically capable I was. This past year has derailed me on both counts. Admitting to myself that I could no longer control my emotions was extremely difficult, and admitting that to even close friends was nearly impossible, but somehow I managed. Looking in the mirror, seeing my body deteriorate, even if only a little, nearly broke me. My identity has been so tied to strength for so long that I have lost sight of who I am. In some ways it has been a good thing, being broken down like that; it has lead to some deep soul searching, trying to figure out how I came to identify the way I did, but I am still sort of at a loss for where to go from here. Not that I'm done examining myself, there are still a few more posts that need to be added to Ashamed & Afraid, which will eventually happen some day. 
     What I realized while waiting my turn for confession, though, is that I am still so proud. In spite of being broken down, and even admitting how broken I was, I was still too proud to accept help. Even though I've blogged about it multiple times (here, here, here), I'm still really bad at taking care of me, and I think that stems from a mix of being too proud to allow people to help me out and do things for me, and not considering myself worth taking care of. If I'm not doing the things I usually do, and am instead taking "time off", then it feels as though I am useless, and not pulling my weight. I forget that my worth and value does not come from how strong I can be, how well I do my work without help, but rather from the fact that I am a daughter of God, made in His image and likeness, and that is enough. 

As this post is long enough, I'll continue the subject briefly in my next one. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Called To Be Simons

     I had my first real, in person chat with an online friend today, and it was wonderful. It isn't often that I get to have conversations with people older than 2, let alone conversations that don't revolve mainly around mothering of some kind or another, and this man is just a wealth of information, resulting from both his academic background and life experience in general. As the conversation flowed, it came up that we, as Catholics, are not meant to sequester ourselves away in avoidance of the world, but are called to be missionaries to it. In addition, all people need someone that they can feel safe being themselves with, in all of their woundedness and vulnerability, because everyone, at some level, is broken. It got me thinking again, how we are all called to pick up our crosses and follow Christ. What we often seem to overlook, however, is that Christ did not carry his cross alone. Even He had help. Granted, Simon of Cyrene didn't exactly volunteer for the job of assistant cross carrier, but he helped shoulder Christ's burden none the less. So, too, are we called to help each other bear the burdens that we are struggling to bear in life. Often, like Simon, we end up having other peoples issues sort of thrust upon us. How do we handle it? Do we try to wriggle our way out, saying "It isn't my problem?" Or do we decide to will to take what part of the burden that we are able, and help them carry this cross? I don't know what Simon's reaction was, as it doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere, but I do know that a willing heart usually makes a heavy load much more bearable. This is an area I know I need a lot of practice in, but thanks to people like the Janaros, I am not lacking in good examples to follow.