Saturday, November 27, 2010

the best laid plans, part 2

the questionnaire the nurse handed me read something like this:

is this your first pregnancy? no
if no, what number? four
how many living children do you have? one

(listen here.)
This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
But this is how it is
And our God is in control

This is not how it will be
When we finally will see
We'll see with our own eyes
He was always in control

And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control

Though this first taste is bitter
There will be sweetness forever
When we finally taste and see
That our God is in control

this is not how i would have planned it. if you had told me ten years ago that i would, in 2010, be pregnant for the fourth time, i would probably have told you that i wasn’t sure i wanted that many children. how small our minds are.

i don’t like being pregnant. not one minute of it. i am not a particularly sick pregnant person; i don’t gain record amounts of weight or experience dramatic swelling or unbearable back pain or any of the other stories people tell. but i dislike it all the same.

i think what i dislike most about it is the sense that something—quite literally, someone—else is in control of my body. don’t usually eat breakfast? too bad. you’ll now wake up ravenous even before sunrise. like to keep busy? too bad. you’ll now be forced to pause for a nap every afternoon, no matter how uneventful your morning has been. enjoy chicken or avocadoes? too bad. you will now be repulsed by them or any number of other quite ordinary things—and will develop equally extraordinary cravings. and if none of these things that will happen in just the first few weeks is enough to turn you off to the whole experiment, just wait until junior gets to swimming around in there. alien possession? i think so.

i don’t like to be out of control. and if i live with any kind of illusion that i am in control, pregnancy provides ample reminders that i am, in fact, almost entirely out of my own control most of the time. i’m just not always as aware of it. when i am pregnant, i take prenatal vitamins. i eat healthfully, as much as i can stand it, and i stay away from alcohol and even over-the-counter drugs. every time, that’s what i do. the first time, this resulted in a healthy, brilliant little boy. the second time, a little girl with more congenital defects than one body could handle—including a brain full of holes—who wouldn’t live to be three years old. the third time, a miscarriage at 7 weeks gestation. and this fourth time? well, that’s just it: though i will follow all the same healthy pregnancy rules yet again, i have no control over what that will mean for my child.

have i mentioned how much i dislike being pregnant? but even as i am frustrated yet again this time around at the lack of control, i am learning to be grateful. because despite what i may imagine, i really don’t have any more control over the rest of my life than i do over this period of my life or over the little life growing inside me, either. just as i would never have planned four pregnancies and their varied outcomes or lemonade-cravings or waffle aversions, so would i never have planned so many other things in my life, either. work in a church? live in the south? be a minivan-driving soccer mom? be overweight, out of shape, and completely disconnected from any athletic activity? have a yard full of weeds? never.

it's funny, though; despite the fact that i'd much rather it be otherwise, the struggle isn't to find a way to gain more control. take more vitamins? eat fewer food additives? drink more water? not really. the struggle is to give up more, to rest more in being out of control. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world”--john 16:33. overcome the whole world? really? since i can't do that, i figure i'm better off in the hands of Someone who already has done it. and i'll take joy in the promise that there will be sweetness forever.


meredith kraine said...

Thank you for these thoughts, Daniele. I, too, struggle with the need to be in control. I feel physically sick when I enter situations where I feel out of control. Thank you for reminding me that the most stability and peace I can find in life is to put my whole trust in the One who made me, the One who is in control of the entire universe, in God my Father and Jesus Christ my Savior. Blessings to you, Daniele!

Leslie Ruth Petree said...

I so appreciate, admire, and adore your honesty about pregnancy. It's refreshing amidst so many other "cotton candy" tales I hear! And the control thing? I can't relate to that at all ;)