Or should I say, sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. I don't always pay attention when the lessons come gently.
This pregnancy has taught me a few things that I should have already learned by now, but apparently haven't. I thought I'd better document them so when I forget again, I can re-read them instead of re-learning them again.
1. Just say "NO."
I am notorious in my family and neighborhood for my inability to say NO when asked to do something. It doesn't matter if I have the time, ability or goods to complete a task, I can be heard saying, "Sure, I can do that." Starting this pregnancy with bed rest and then 'light duty' (whatever that means) really made me take a few steps back and forced me to say NO to things I would have taken on previously. I also learned how to adapt and be able to say yes to modified things. When I couldn't help in Jenna's classroom, I was able to correct papers that the teacher sent home. That helped me not feel totally useless and out of touch with the school, but I could do it from my bed or rocking chair.
I have also had to turn away craft orders at times when I couldn't be sitting at my sewing machine. Turning away a hobby that earned me some spending money- ouch!
I know this is a lesson I will still have to work on. I did agree to be on next year's PTA board in the midst of all this. But I will keep trying. My health and family have to come first no matter what. My church calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher has helped me say NO more, compared to my former RS calling, but I know I will always struggle to find balance here.
2. Just say "YES."
As much as I try to help other people, I hate to have people do things for me that I can or think I can do for myself. I have had to learn to humble myself and accept help when it is offered- and occasionally call and ask for help. Gulp! This is so beyond my comfort zone. Showing signs of weakness is not something I do if I can help it. Can you say "control freak?"
I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family who have willingly picked up my slack on all sides. The first time my mom came and did my dishes I felt like a complete loser. My pride was wounded when my children had to take on more responsibilities. (I got over that quickly.) In the last few days I have heard myself accepting offers to come help get the house ready for the baby. I surprised myself when I readily accepted and I could tell the people offering were surprised that they didn't have to talk me into it. (Maybe they had hoped I wouldn't accept so quickly :) )
My sweet friend called yesterday to see if she could host a baby shower for me and told me that she wouldn't take NO for an answer. I wasn't going to say it! I am ready to admit that I could use a little help & will gratefully accept it! Without knowing the gender of the baby, I haven't amassed a wardrobe or other gender-specific items for the little one. (If you want an invite, let me know.) I will be eternally grateful for help!
3. Good enough is good enough.
You perfectionists out there are cringing right along with me on that one. I have had to learn to take things down a few notches & accept 'good enough' when that is all that is needed. Paper plates with dinner a few nights a week- hey, at least I fed the family. No centerpieces on the tables at the dinner after Jenna's baptism? The cute colorful plastic cups were fine and I doubt anyone cared/noticed besides me. Cupcakes instead of elaborately decorated birthday cakes for the parties? Six-year-olds can smear cupcakes everywhere just as easily as a fancy cake.
I wish I could say that the house work has had to be scaled back, but it has never been my strong suit anyway. I have learned to let the kids' best effort stand on tasks I've asked them to do- when they did their best. Sometimes the 8 yr old rushes and it looks like the 3 yr old did a job. She does get to re-do those.
I have come to realize that many of the things I spent so much time worrying about- as far as how other people perceived my effort- go relatively unnoticed by other people. No one else knows how I had envisioned XYZ to be carried out. They will never know if the decorations didn't turn out like I thought or if the game for the kindergarten class party was shorter than I thought.
I'm still uptight more than I need to be, but this will be a work in progress for years to come. 30- something years of a habit die hard.
4. You gotta have faith.
Logically I know this. From the previously mentioned items, you probably noticed a pattern of trying to do it all by myself. With the medical scare at the beginning of the pregnancy and other lingering issues, my faith has been put to the test. I knew going into this that everything would be ok. I don't know that my definition of ok and the Lord's definition of ok are the same, but I have faith that things will work out according to a greater plan. Everything that has had me worried over the last few months has turned out fine. Tim & my doctor have both told me repeatedly that I just need to have more faith. Men saying that to a nervous, hormonal pregnant lady are taking their lives in their hands, but they were right. I have had priesthood blessings of healing and comfort that have worked miracles for me. I have been the beneficiary of the prayers of many others. All of these have combined to increase my faith in the Lord & His promises. I know everything will be ok.
5. A little Prevacid goes a long way. (Same applies for Unisom)
This is not a philosophical realization, but a practical one. Last week I couldn't take the heart burn anymore. I was up all night after just having a small drink of luke-warm water. I have never had heartburn that Tums couldn't handle and I finally asked my doctor for something. This was hard for me, for some lame reason. I guess it goes back to admitting weakness. I hate taking medicine of any sort, so I had put this off as long as possible- suffering needlessly. Duh! A few days later I was late taking my dose and I could feel the heartburn starting and at the same time noticed my patience with my children crumbling. I realized that this same feeling happened every afternoon and I didn't connect it with the heartburn until the heartburn wasn't there for a few days. What a rotten mom- yelling at my kids because I was uncomfortable, something that I could have remedied easily. Sorry for making you suffer my wrath for longer than I realized. That was probably TMI. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor for whatever help you need. That's why they are overpaid.
I shouldn't have had to learn this lesson so late in life. My mom was always sympathetic when we had various ailments as children- unless we wouldn't take our medicine. I remember hearing many times, "If you're not going to do what you know will help, I don't want to hear about it." We could whine all we wanted about our braces hurting or knees aching as long as we had taken something for the pain. Why did I have to re-learn this decades later!?! Oh yeah, stubborn control freak...
Now that I have exposed a few more character flaws that you probably already recognized, I'm going to wrap this up. I am truly grateful that I am miraculously only 3 weeks away from my due date. That fateful night in December, I was sure I had miscarried. This little soul has an important purpose on Earth, even if only to teach his/her mother lessons that I wouldn't learn any other way. Can't wait to meet you, Little One!