Limitations and Possibilities

on Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am 6 months one day pregnant today and this past month has been one of the hardest and most wonderful times in my life. I have been working on my first post-doctoral fellowship and submitted it yesterday. The past two and a half weeks have been more hours sitting and writing and thinking than I think I've ever done. It was exhausting--mentally, physically, and emotionally. I found myself working long days and trying to do everything that I normally do, at home and for myself. Except I couldn't. My back was sore and my legs were swollen from sitting at my desk all day (yes, just sitting). If I pushed myself harder one day, it would leave me foggy and tired for the next. It scared me. I felt that if I couldn't do everything that I could do before being pregnant, how, on earth was I going to handle things when this baby is born? Feeling limited made me doubt myself and Ryan. We aren't ready for this. Ryan traveling, coming home tired, me needing him more than ever when he is home--it all turned me in to a sobbing mess.

But then, I realized, we aren't ready. That's ok. It just occurred to me this morning that pregnancy is a lot like the christian seasons of advent and lent. In both, the point is to turn inward, reflect, and then, when the day comes celebrate and move forward from a different place, with those lessons learned. This is our season of learning and reflecting before life takes a completely different course. As my body changes and I feel more limited, I am forced to slow down. This is counter to our culture--walk faster (its good for your heart), work harder (you'll be more accomplished), and always always do more (because good enough is not perfect). As I am forced to slow down, I have had to readjust all of these tenents of my living. In the last 2.5 weeks? It smacked me in the face. On the other side of it, I am thankful. My expectations and priorities are shifting, as they should, and they will continue to shift and adjust as we get closer to the baby's birth. My need to rely on Ryan is getting bigger, as it should, because it is going to take two of us to raise a son. We are no longer individually self-sufficient. We are a give and take unit--a family.

While I feel some doors closing during this season of waiting, a big window opened, too. Writing this post-doc has been the most rewarding thing that I have done for myself in years. I drafted the design, I did the research, I wrote it up, I am my own PI. I didn't do it all myself, of course, I sought advice as needed, but I have never felt so much ownership of any of my intellectual work. It was draining and stimulating at the same time. During the month of May, I drafted two different pieces of work that I am extraordinarily proud of, and now I know what I am capable of in a way that I never knew before. WHAT A BLESSING! While I have struggled feeling like I am failing in some ways, writing this post-doc has been extraordinarily empowering.

All along the way, stress and blessings, the baby has been so reassuring. When I thought I couldn't do a task another minute, he was there, wiggling and reminding me it was o.k. Last Thursday was particularly hard, but I SAW him moving for the first time. Ryan put his hear to my belly and could hear the baby sloshing around. Then the baby kicked Ryan in the head. I was full of joy. Those moments are a, "foretaste of the feast to come". I can't wait, but I will. I see now that waiting is part of the blessing.


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