I was deceived. For years I was under this misunderstanding of Grace.
Scratch that. I didn't know about Grace. Really, I hadn't heard of it.
For years I judged women. Admittedly, I still do.
Mostly, I judge myself.
So when the Physician's Assistant asked me four weeks before my due date how I was feeling, and I told her the truth (because I've learned its importance), I wasn't quite ready for what she offered me.
I had a plan to be out of work on a set date and even that plan was a generous helping of rest I hadn't ever considered nearly 11-years ago when I was last pregnant and down to the wire, so to speak. Back then, I worked until Noon on the day of my scheduled induction . . . two-weeks after my due date. Yep. I sure did.
Everything had been going so well and I truly didn't even consider an end date for work except unless something happened that would require being taken out of work, or actually being in labor.
This time, I mostly had the same viewpoint; except, I thought about how difficult it is to go to work each day and wonder if it'll be any day, and I thought about my nearly 11-year-old Boy-Man and how I'd really like some time together before we become a family of four. So, I planned to take a "vacation" starting the week preceding my due date and just continue a stay-cation until the delivery, at which time maternity leave would begin.
Knowing our "plans" can get sidelined, I was prepared for the possibility of potentially getting taken out of work earlier than expected, or of something going quirky that would derail all of my highfalutin plans. So, I kept my ideas loose-ish.
What I hadn't considered was being offered to be taken out of work "to rest," and it not necessarily being because anything is wrong.
I told my PA how exhausted I am . . . how the baby is "so low" . . . how I'm incredibly uncomfortable . . . and of the regular-ish (Braxton-Hicks) contractions.
She reminded me of the magnitude of pregnancy and encouraged me to consider resting even more than I'd so diligently and deliberately focused on (and was) doing.
But, it just seems so silly . . .
Women have babies all the time . . .
There's not really a compelling reason . . .
What will people think?
My perception of pregnancy had deceived me from reality.
I thought mean things like:
Women who didn't enjoy their pregnancy weren't appreciative.
Women who complained about the discomfort of pregnancy are weak.
Rest is for the weak ones.
Yeah, I was a judgy one -- tight-fisted, insensitive, irrational, and incredibly intense!
I'm not sure I ever considered all that pregnancy requires of a woman's body, especially in the last month of pregnancy. I'm not sure I ever considered kindness, either.
So here I am with nearly two-weeks until this baby's due date . . . with a tween-age Boy-Man who is so happy to have his Momma home . . .
And I'm still learning the importance of rest . . .
I'm still learning the ways of Grace.
You can preach truth at me all the livelong day to loosen my grip and rest, and I'll nod my head in agreement that I get it. I write about it. I preach about it.
But growing is a process, and it requires my patience.
Even though we know truth it doesn't mean our "muscle memory" automatically reprograms.
Though I am willing and aching for a life with less fear-based living that is the reason for my tight-constricted way of living, I'm definitely a work in progress and still growing.
I'm continuing to chase hope for my "muscles" to further develop . . .
that I will live less clenched and rule-based.
I'm learning to be patient in and with the process.
I was hardwired to be a hard-worker, a "go-getter," and (at least slightly) Type A. This is a good thing. It helps me get things done and accomplish goals. Yet, it isn't all of me.
About my concern of what people might think?
I'm hoping that like my Physician's Assistant ultimately did, others might look into my eyes and with honesty say:
"I get it. I so get it. And, I'm with you."
Because, as much as we all know loosening our grip is important, and we want to grab our friend's by the shoulders and shake them until they get it, I have to believe we're all a work in progress . . . we all struggle to fully rest.
And one of my biggest realizations?
There is no shame for the difficulty in ever more fully learning this truth.
It was a couple of friends who stood in the gap for me, holding space for my continued growth. They walked alongside me in my struggle and didn't judge me or make me feel inadequate.
These few friends didn't try to fix me. They didn't tell me to get over it and command me to "simply" loosen my grip.
These few simply held space for me by opening their hearts, offering unconditional support, and let go of judgment. These friends honor the necessary part of the process.
As one dear friend prayed for me, I also pray, for us all:
"That the paths you are so prone to go down -- the ones of production, the ones of appearance, the ones of showing yourself worthy -- that the rigidness of those routes would soften, and that what spills out the edges of that would find new ground and new ways to make paths . . . for newness of life to grow . . . and a new strength to come from giving over to the work of God."