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Pregnant (Really Long) Pause December 21, 2011

Posted by mjhoward in Contentment, Pregnancy.
1 comment so far

Well, this pause was a little longer than I intended – lasting nearly my entire pregnancy.  I thought I would be one of those bloggers who would post belly pictures and talk in intimate detail about every facet of pregnancy.  Well, the opposite occurred:  I suddenly felt intensely private.  Everything happening to my body, everything I was thinking was so all-consuming that I could not imagine sharing such an experience with others.  I just didn’t have the words…or the time.

I really haven’t had time to blog with preparing a new house, preparing my mind by reading about pregnancy and caring for a child, and preparing to actually bring a child home (i.e. making sure the kid has a place to sleep).   You might think I would have spent a lot of this time reflecting about how my life will change, but I do most of my self-reflection in this blog, so not much of that has occurred.  Well, I figured that I better get reflecting because my time will soon no longer be my own.

So here are the facts:

Due Date: December 31st.  And if you see me in the near future, please don’t tell me that you think the baby should be born on this date for the tax savings or on January 1st so we can be in the newspaper (or some people seem to think he’ll be eligible for a college scholarship).  I know people are just trying to make conversation when they see my mound of a belly, but I’ve about had it with people telling me when he should come.  The kid will come when he wants to, and even I have to deal with that timetable (Sorry – that is the only venting you’ll get from me about the annoyances of pregnancy).

The Baby:  It’s a boy and his name is Henry Texas Howard.  Henry is not a family name, nor is he named after the numerous famous Henrys throughout time.  Ted and I simply liked the name.  Texas is the family name (if it can be called that) – mostly to commemorate our love of the State Fair of Texas and the fact that Ted’s family has been in Texas a long time.  As of our doctor’s visit today, Henry is about 7 pounds and almost finished growing.

The Body:  I feel I’ve had a relatively easy pregnancy.  I’ve even relished in some of the more unpleasant moments because I know that all of it is bringing me to the end result: meeting this little guy.  I also feel like I’ve had some things to complain about, but I feel like complaining about them only focuses your energy on the negative rather than the positive.  So, the old mantra really rings true for me:  if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.   But truly, I’ve felt healthier during my pregnancy – mostly because my little Henry and the hormones my body has created to carry him have caused my migraines to lessen in frequency and intensity.  I can only give thanks to God for making that particular aspect of pregnancy a wonderful reprieve for me.

The Reality: In 10 days or fewer or more, I will become a mother.  Weird. In a way I feel prepared because I have a crib (even clean sheets on the mattress), the child has clothes, and I have read just about every book under the sun about caring for an infant.  In other ways, I feel totally and hopelessly unprepared, but if I have learned anything from other new mothers, it is that you can in no way be prepared for this life-changing event.

If you know me, you know I’m not good with change, but I am left strangely content with all the change that has already happened and all the change that will come in the future.  With this mystery awaiting me, I am content to wait upon the Lord to see what new wonders he will bring me.

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A Pregnant Pause July 9, 2011

Posted by mjhoward in Contentment, Pregnancy.
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4 comments

In case you haven’t heard:  Ted and I are expecting a baby (not sure what gender or species yet).  The party is on December 31, 2011!  This recent development has been my excuse for not blogging:  I didn’t have the energy, didn’t have the interest (might have been the energy thing), and was sitting on my news until the obligatory 1st trimester had passed.  I’ve had quite a lot on my mind, but just wasn’t ready to share it.  Now I am:  watch out.  (If you want a better excuse for a blogging absence, read my friend Shanna’s blog post.)

This year, I decided to follow the word contentment.  Everyone around me was buying a house and having babies, and I felt left behind.  I decided to be grateful for what I had, being content in any circumstance.  And I was doing okay…fell off the wagon a bit, but was mostly grateful.  Well, now I am getting everything I wanted.  Not only am I pregnant, but Ted and I are about 2 weeks away from closing on a house.  The American Dream is swiftly becoming our own.

And this is what gives me pause…God has now blessed me with those things I was (im)patiently waiting for, but getting everything I wanted makes me realize how my contentment is still dependent on my circumstances.

I feel somewhat content because I’m getting everything I want.  I’m very excited/terrified to be having a kid, and I’m really looking forward to putting down roots in this neighborhood we love, but there is an opportunity cost to everything.  Being pregnant and buying a house has taken over my life.  Yes, these are things I wanted, but not necessarily what should be the driving focus of my life.  And I can tell you that they have been.  The focus of my life should be others, and I haven’t really thought much about ANYONE ELSE but me since I became pregnant.   If my circumstances had not changed, I might have my priorities a little straighter.  Instead of searching for Consumer Reports approved baby products, I could be helping my sister-in-law with my niece much more often.  Instead of dreaming of the space that I’ll have in my new house, perhaps I should be offering to clean one of my friend’s who is uber-busy.  Instead of bemoaning my nausea, I should have been visiting someone really sick in the hospital.

I have everything I want, but I’m not content, and I don’t think I should be.  I shouldn’t be content because my new circumstances have made me more selfish than usual.  I talk about wanting to be a thoughtful person, but my thoughts have been with how to keep from being nauseated and where I’d put our furniture in the new house.  My circumstances are right where I want them, but if I can’t be a thoughtful person in those circumstances, then I should not be content.  I think I needed a good, swift kick in the pants, and now that I’ve given myself one, I can refocus on becoming the person I want to be, not the person who is still ruled by her circumstances, even if those circumstances are wonderful.