January 22, 2015

Not much has changed with our girl, except that, generally speaking, she is becoming increasingly pleasant to be around, and I mean that truly.  However, she also has a newly-acquired knack for making psychosomatic complaints, which can be both amusing and annoying, depending on the day.  I’m going to take it as a positive sign, that it indicates a developing sense of empathy, which has previously been lacking.  She sees one of us in pain, and takes that pain upon herself…out of love…not because of an implacable desire to always have everyone’s attention on her own self…right?

Todd participated in a marathon last weekend (yes, an entire marathon, and he signed up for it just a few days before on a whim, because he is that amazing and that insane, and MAYBE because he is also that competitive and just wanted to make sure he ran a marathon right before I had a baby, so he could be like “you and me babe, we both do hard things”), and anyhow the next day SHE kept complaining of various muscle and joint pain.  She, who had done absolutely nothing out of the ordinary the day of the race.

I had an incident of pregnancy-related nausea the other day that left me weak and clammy for the better part of an hour.  During that time, as I drank water and ate food and buried my face in my hands waiting desperately for my blood sugar to come back up and make the world stop spinning, she repeatedly stated that she was feeling poorly and requested to have her temperature checked.  As soon as I began to feel better, so did she.

The question is, what will her interpretation of postpartum pain look like??  I’m just dying to know how she will endeavor to convince everyone that she is in as much or more discomfort than I am.  To her credit, she does alternate her complaints with concern over the well-being of those around her, and has even been making efforts to bless us in times of emotional or physical distress.  Knowing that I’m all nest-y these days, she has been keeping her room picked up for a week straight now, which is a breakthrough of epic proportions for her, and she often comes over to me and rubs my back if she thinks I’m uncomfortable.  (Never mind that the other day she screamed at my oldest for doing the same, “because SHE wanted to do it!!!”).  And she is truly trying to treat others with more patience, sometimes even correcting herself when she starts to shout, or volunteering an apology afterwards.  We are having more and more peace-filled days, a fact I’m immensely thankful for as the arrival of this baby draws near.

For my own part, I feel like I’m becoming that person who is annoying to be around because all I can think or talk about is pregnancy and its imminent conclusion.  My thoughts are so muddled that I can barely string together two coherent sentences in day-to-day conversation.  At home I alternate between bursts of insane nesting behavior and absolute lethargy.  The other night I stayed up until one in the morning cleaning and tidying and preparing, but then this morning I spent two hours on the couch watching television, which I haven’t done in…years.  I daydream about holding my babe in my arms, but am constantly battling fear about the process that brings that about.  You’d think that after delivering three babies naturally, I would feel empowered and excited about this fourth labor, but I don’t.  I don’t really know why, except that this kind of double-mindedness seems to be characterizing everything about these last few weeks of pregnancy for me.

The other day, my good friend was talking about the Israelites and how God provided exactly how much manna they needed in the wilderness, and how He does the same for us–He provides just what we need for each day–and that has been tremendously encouraging to me.  It helps stay my fear and my craziness when I feel it mounting, and I keep reminding myself that right now, in this moment, God has given me what I need.  And when labor starts, He will provide what I need then too, even if that’s an epidural.  And He will provide for us as we care exhaustedly for a newborn and four other children, and as we address our girl’s misguided attempts to relate by pretending she feels our pain, and as we help our kids with their science fair projects (how am I having a baby right in the middle of science fair season???).  God’s word is clear that we should not worry about tomorrow.  He promises to care for us, for His glory and our good.  So even though my nighttime rest is punctuated with heartburn and leg cramps and weird dreams, and any daytime rest I happen to snatch is interrupted by children who think they’re doing me a favor when they wake me from what must be an accidental narcoleptic episode, I will still find rest in HIM, who more than adequately provides for our every need.

Empathy and Rest

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