(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.
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.