gratitude challenge

Yesterday, I worked a fairly chaotic, difficult ten hour day, then worked out at a high-intensity aerobics class for 1 hour, then went to Trader Joe’s to pick up food for tomorrow’s training session, then came home, showered, folded some laundry, and read a Dean Koontz book. I fell asleep at 9:35 PM.

Then, I woke up at 1:45 AM, fully awake and unable to sleep. I tried to simply lay down calmly for an hour, to no avail. I got up and mopped my entire kitchen/dining/living area. Still wide awake. I was upset, angry, and annoyed because I have another 10-12 hour workday tomorrow, and I need all the sleep and energy I can get at this point.  I’m an admitted night owl and normally love being up at this time…just not when I know that it means I’ll be drained, barely able to keep my eyes open, and struggling to be productive tomorrow.

But being up and about showed me several challenging things about myself: 1) my productivity level is woefully low. A more virtuous, organized person would have picked up a sewing or embroidery project, read, written something productive, meditated, prayed, read the Bible, or done more cleaning with this precious time and energy. What did I do? I mopped my floors and hopped online to catch up on blog reading. Not the best use of my time. Quite lame, in fact. I’ll take this as a challenge to cultivate meaningful productivity that will allow me to make the best use of times like this, rather than seeing them as a frustration.

2) I feel oddly conflicted about the thought of being  a parent…mostly, I just don’t feel ready. No, it’s not that I’m not ready to “give up” the freedom that comes with being childless…I’ve been ready to give that up for some time now. It’s more that I feel horrendously unprepared to be the parent that I should be. It’s so….challenging to know that I will inevitably, at some point, fail to parent well. I HATE failing. I usually do everything possible not to fail. But life and parenting aren’t about avoiding failure…they’re about showing God’s love to my sphere of influence in the best way that I can. Why is that so hard to grasp? Shouldn’t that be a joyful realization? Why this conflicted, messy feeling?

3) I have to say that I’m not sure how to process pregnancy and marriage together. What does this pregnancy mean for my marriage? How will it change us? How do we make sure that this pregnancy brings us closer rather than driving us apart? After all, for the duration of the pregnancy, all the weird changes and drama are happening to me, not him. Even when you’re married, it can still be tough to empathize with your partner’s circumstances when there’s no way you’ll ever be him/her or experience what s/he does. I don’t want to expect too much of my partner, but at the same time, how do we purposefully grow together in this?

4) My awareness that pregnancy can end in tragedy and loss at any time is constant. Intellectually, I know that’s just a fact of life–one could say the same thing about marriage, parenting, friendship, etc. Life and love always hold the risk of that ripping, tearing, horrifying loss that comes with death. Normally, I’m fine with this awareness….but with this pregnancy, it’s really making it hard for me to embrace the experience fully. In fact, I’m not embracing the experience fully. I’d like to, but I’m not sure what a healthy embrace of (vs. obsession with) this experience looks like.

Yeah, lots of food for thought and prayer.

Grace and peace to you.

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1 Comment

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One response to “gratitude challenge

  1. Katie P

    Hey Miriam! Ok, just my $0.02 on #1… woefully low productivity level???? And you were mopping your floor at 2am? Give yourself a break woman! You are creating a human life right now, not to mention the reality that every human being (pregnant or non-pregnant alike) has varying energy levels. I definitely struggle with the same feelings sometimes, but I do believe this is true (Lord, help me to believe more!)

    Thank you so much for sharing so honestly… I can definitely relate to a lot you wrote here. Pregnancy ushers you into such a huge new transition in… everything! How you think of yourself as a woman, as a worker with a vocation, as a wife, as a ___. Hang in there! :) Love you, katie

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