Abortion,  motherhood,  pregnancy,  Pro Life

Be still, and know

I am not a good waiter.

(I was, don’t get me wrong, an excellent food service professional back in the day. But that’s not the kind of waiting we’re talking about here.)

This past week or so of sleepless nights have been as much about my stubborn insistence that this baby was going to come out when I say so as about any actual physical discomforts of late pregnancy. Well, mostly, anyway.

When we originally calculated this bebe’s due date I stubbornly refused to divulge the actual date because “it’s just a number, and I always go early.” I thought that my 2 out of 3 past early deliveries have had as much to do with baby’s readiness as they have with my own efforts to dislodge my little womb mate at the time of my choosing. (Never mind the fact that my middle guy was riiiiight on time/4 days late. I conveniently left that outlier on the outskirts of my statistical reasonings.)

So while I’m just embarking on week 39 here, I feel as if I’ve gone over by a good month in terms of what I expected would happen and what has actually transpired.

And it is, by far, the hardest part of pregnancy for me. And right now? It feels like the hardest of all 4 pregnancies, even though I’m surrounded by supportive and helpful siblings and in-laws and basking in great summer weather and all the big kids are sleeping through the night. I’m so blessed. And yet, I grumble.

Over the past few days I’ve been trying to turn more to God not with accusations or demands but with an openness, asking Him for His timetable, His wisdom.

You know what He keeps telling me?

Be still and know that I am God.

THE. WORST. Amiright?

Anything else Lord. Like, maybe a “gird your loins for battle” or even “the Lord will surely deliver you from your time of anguish” because both those appeal to my warlike nature and desperate desire to do and to accomplish.

But nope. He’s all, nah, I want to see you patient. I want to see you surrender. I want you to be still. And to know that I’m the one calling the shots.

In other words, to behave in ways that are nearly antithetical to my choleric need to control, to dominate, and to conquer.

Every morning I wake up and I can’t fathom that those contractions I was pacing through the night before really did peter out, and that I really do have to face another day of this sweaty, enormous undertaking.

Be still.

Every afternoon around 3:45 pm the kids start their recurrent freak out cycle (the witching hour, some call it. I like to sub the “w” for a “b,” personally) and I can’t fathom that I’ll have the energy or the wits to get us all through till 6 pm. I usually think this from a prone position on the (much cooler) basement floor, where we’ve taken to “camping” while we wait for daddy to get home. Mostly they step on me and we read 3 pages from each of the 37 books that are systematically piled near my head. It sounds exactly as fun as it is, which is to say 100% more fun than real camping. And I lift mine weary eyes from the taupe carpet and make pitiful, soundless motions of supplication with my unkempt brows and occasionally tap into my inner Italian grandma with verbalizations of “Mother of God,” and “Lord, save us” and He’s like:

Know that I am God.

But I don’t want to be still, because it makes the contractions slow to a crawl and then dissipate entirely. And while I intellectually assent that of course Lord, you’re God, I’m still over here doing hourly shots of raspberry leaf tea and galloping across the backyard and sending obnoxious text messages to my support team because THIS IS GOING TO WORK, and this baby is coming out on my terms and in my time.


Motherhood has taught me nothing if not a real-world application of the oft-Pinned “We plan, God laughs.”

Want your daughter to walk? Be still and know that I am God.

Want to escape your husband’s foreign assignment and repatriate to the familiar surroundings of home and family? Be still and know that I am God.

Want to get through your 6-month-old’s surgery and recovery period? Be still and know that I am God.

Over and over again He has shown me, through these kids and through my task of mothering them, that I’m little more than a willing participant in His design.

Which should give me, noting my excellent track record for screwing things up on my own, tremendous encouragement that they are going to turn out okay in spite of my best efforts.

But I forget over and over again that I’m not “doing” motherhood, that I’m receiving and responding to a call, not inventing the flipping telephone.

Which is why, I presume, He called me to this particular vocation, where I regularly encounter derailed plans and foiled schedules and days void of any sort of perceptible “proof” of productivity at all. I have no final product at a week’s end to submit for the boss’ approval. I have no measurable achievements (unless I start tallying diapers and time outs) of how effectively implemented my managerial strategies have been for current month.

And right now? I have no newborn to cradle and erase the long, uncomfortable memories of pregnancy and delivery. Just a laundry list of first world complaints and physical aches and pains that should be screaming to me “you’re so blessed, you’re so lucky, you’ve been chosen for something with an eternal weight” and not “oh my God, deliver me from this eternal wait. (And the weight too, while You’re at it.)

So I’m trying. And it’s killing me. And that’s probably the point.

And I promise, at some point, I’m going to write about something else. It’s just that I’m trapped in the moment over here, and my entire universe has narrowed to a tiny point of light marked: “L&D, floor 4” and I can’t, for the life of me, see anything else right now.

be still


(Also, and far more importantly, please, please, don’t forget to contact your legislators for today’s #defundPlannedParenthood vote. The momentum is there, but they are so well-covered by the current Administration that I truly believe it is going to take a miracle to accomplish their demise.)


  • Leticia Adams

    I love this post so much. I am not 39 weeks pregnant, but I am in a very similar place with things in my life. I have been waiting for two years but every once in awhile I decide to take things into my own hands and then I end up screwing up and going right back to the bench and waiting. It’s hard. I want a sword and a fight, not a sit and wait life. I will pray for you, please pray for me.

  • Meagan Daoust

    I hear ya! Aside from being fresh off the pregnancy boat with my fifth late-to-grace-us-with-their-presence-child, it always takes me aback when people tell me how patient I am. Say what now? I’m pretty sure I got this gig because I’m not patient. Life is Virtue BootCamp. It’s made to be tough on us. Just when I think I’ve grown a bit God hands me another challenge, er baby. Can I have another, Sir? 😉

  • Theresa

    Love this. I am, today, 3 days overdue with baby #4, and I, too, was so sure this one would come early. I really needed to read this today.

  • Cassandra

    I distinctly remember being very very done with my fourth pregnancy, and it was the only time I recall having extended prodromal labor. Of course. And that was my first baby that went past my due date, by five days! Which is practically a whole week! Which may as well be eternity! And then with my fifth I was certain that last one was the anomaly and guess what? Late. By EXACTLY five days. Hahaha. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? So this last time, five months ago, I had my sixth. Certain to be late again, right? Ten days early. Of course. Because we weren’t even ready quite yet. In fact, I was in labor with broken waters during my blessing way/shower.

    So, I don’t know. I feel ya and I empathize with you soooo much. I always try to keep it in perspective by remembering how far away the last days of pregnancy will seem in a few short weeks. Or like now, when I’m already holding a sitting up almost six month old but was only just in labor yesterday.

  • Sheila

    I read this post a little earlier today, and thought of you when I read this just now, from today’s meditation in Magnificat … “The only thing Jesus requires of the hungry and tired crowds – indeed, what he *orders* them to do – is that they recline comfortably on the grass and dispose themselves to receive what he has to give them …” (by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis)

    You’ll be in my prayers as you wait for your little one to arrive! God bless you!

  • Viki

    I am 40 weeks tomorrow. This is exactly what I needed to real today – don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to go for a looooong walk this afternoon in hopes that those contractions I only seem to get at 2:30AM come back at 2:30PM, but as I walk, I’ll reflect on this post, on the things for which I am thankful and remind myself for the fifty millionth time that there is no time like God’s time. Really, after me telling him all of the “good” days for my firstborn to be born – He picked the Feast of our Lady of Mercy and my son came into the world right smack dab in the middle of the mass that was being held outside of “Mercy Hospital” where he was born (clarification, we were not at the mass, but said mass could be seen from the window of the room where I gave birth). God’s Plan > my plan.
    The other day, my husband pointed out that at least I wasn’t sitting on a donkey traveling to Bethlehem. I suppose looking forward to a hospital with Grace Patton’s laminated birth plan in tow are among the other things to be thankful for…
    Praying for you!

  • Barbara Burke

    I am praying for you and the baby to-be. God loves you, and I love Mama Needs Coffee. Hope you have the time and strength to continue to write. I am a grandmother of 12 and a recent widow. Let us pray for each other.

  • Elizabeth

    Praying for you! My #5 is three weeks old now, but this was the exact quote I kept repeating over and over as I was at 4cm for a week, and she was 5 days late. Hope the babe comes soon

  • Erin

    I’m a bad waiter, too. I went ten days overdue with my twins and then labored with them for three days. It was AWFUL but also completely reshaped my character. Pride was whittled down. Docility came front and center. I’m way less of a butthole now than I was prior to that birth. And I certainly didn’t do it without whining and worrying, but God still allowed that suffering (which was not “suffering well”) to make me a better woman.

    And let’s not forget that the newborn period is full of its own suffering. My midwife always reminds me that the labor actually never ends. You will always be laboring with/for your child as long as you live. And in the throes of sleepless nights and colicky late afternoons, I sometimes find myself wishing the baby could’ve gestated a few extra months. (;

  • Amanda

    I’m anxiously waiting to be term so I can start obsessing over IT HAPPENING. I feel ya in advance. I’m going straight from worrying about a preemie (this week) to being impatient for it to happen (two weeks from now). Orrrrrr, I could be still. I guess.

  • Lindsey

    I can definitely sympathise. With my 2 month old (my first) I started having regular contractions at 35 weeks – so frequently that my OB gave me terbutaline to stall the “preterm labor.” Didn’t do a thing – I kept on contracting all day and night and very slowly dilating, but didn’t actually deliver until 40 and 2. I was so mentally prepared for a late preterm baby that the waiting at the end was brutal. I just finished my medical residency plus a move, so I certainly didn’t shy from physical activity, but it didn’t do a thing to bring on labor. But every time I became especially impatient I could hear that voice “just be still, and learn to be patient, and humble.” All babies come out eventually, right? Hoping yours comes exactly when he/she is supposed to, and that your last few days of pregnancy are blessed with rest and peace!

  • Laura

    So relevant even if I’m not 39 weeks pregnant. But He is faithful, so I take comfort in the fact that my impatience is not bigger than His plan. Prayers for a healthy baby!

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