I am about twenty weeks along in my pregnancy. It’s really hard to believe. Two weeks of the flu at the beginning of January for me, followed by a week of the vomits for everyone but me at the end of the month and it was time to raise my white flag and wave it wildly. I am so grateful to be healthy again, and to be caring for a family of healthy people. But now that I’m nearly half-way through my pregnancy, I think I’m beginning to feel the little everyday effects of growing and carrying a human person in my person while looking after the needs of five other human beings.
This is exhausting!
My back hurts, my hips hurt, I’m moody, and I’m tired. By the time 6:30 pm rolls around, all I want to do is sit in bed and watch a TV show or read a book. The trouble is, my mind is also racing with lists of things I want to do — creative things. Creativity is my go-to therapy. It makes me feel whole. It gets me out of my head. Many projects are in the process of being completed in the next month to six weeks, so at least I know that they’ll be finished by the time we host fifty people at our home for Smarty Pants’ 1st Holy Communion. Unfortunately, the usual surge of energy that I experience during the second trimester is nowhere to be seen. Every time I get underway with a simple project, my body slows down before it’s halfway finished.
I’ve been waking up every weekday morning at 6:00 am for my Do-it-Yourself Lenten Retreat and I love it. I get a solid hour of time to myself each morning before the children come downstairs to get the day going. I read Consoling the Heart of Jesus, write in my journal, have some coffee and a little breakfast, and just enjoy the time alone in the quiet living room and kitchen. It’s hardly a Lenten Sacrifice, really. I truly feel like I’m on retreat each morning.
So what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?! Well, as far as I can tell, the problem is this: I need to surrender. When my body says, “Please, crazy lady. Lay down. Stop lining the drawers in the bathroom cabinets and get your rear in bed!” I need to listen. When my heart tells me, “No. You aren’t going to that weeknight meeting that will require you to sit in an hour of traffic just to get there. You won’t get home until 10:00 pm and you’ll pay for it the next day and probably the day after!” I need to decline. When my conscience tells me, “You need to get to bed earlier this Friday night because you need to get up Saturday morning and go to confession!” I need to do just that.
And…..When my heart and my head and my body and my conscience tell me that it’s all okay and now’s not the time to be the perfect housewife and mother and Martha and Mary and friend and sister and daughter, well, I need to listen loud and clear, surrender it all to the Lord and keep on keepin’ on.