Monday, October 29, 2012

The truth about weakness

I'm not sure where to begin, as my gut reaction and operating strategy for the past two-plus months has been one of ignoring, stuffing down, trying to get by. There was the delusional idea that maybe it would just go away-or at least my emotions, which seem to be less fleeting than they are designed to be. But I guess I've come to grips with one thing, and that is that although I seem to not be able to overcome these feelings, I should at the very least try to be accepting of them and at the most thankful for them as they are a seriously heavy cross right now.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant. And even now after knowing for more than two months its difficult for me to even say the words or ackowledge the fact to anyone other than my husband. I'm not only overwhelmed but just the idea, but overcome with such strong feelings of powerlessness, frustration, anger, and simply not wanting to be pregnant. I don't want to talk about it simply because its so hard and I can't possibly contain my emotions. Which of course makes me feel even more guilty for feeling this way at all.

The problem isn't just the baby, although babies are work and I will now be having my fifth is less than 6 years. Its the impending chaos, the constant feeling I have of going from one time of survival to the next for the past 5 years. And although I've done fairly well so far with four, the idea of even more seems so completely overwhelming no matter which way I think of it. And of course, there's simply being pregnant. I am so tired of being pregnant. Of the constant body changes, the nonstop roller coaster of emotions that tire me even more than the physical pains, the feeling of living in a nine month pressure cooker knowing the only way out is labor and delivery, the spiritual burden of worrying for a baby I cannot see but feel, a baby whom I am the only one to provide and care for until it is born.

But if someone, let alone Jesus, knocked on my door and handed me a child and told me that I was the only one who could look after and care for this unique person in this unique moment I would without hesitation, no matter what my resposibilites or "busyness" or current situation, want to take care and love that baby. So yes, I know and understand intelligently that a baby is momentous, and the most important thing compared to the little things in life which we make big in our minds. Unfortunately my emotions just don't seem to get the message and I'm left this mess of depression at only the thought.

This divide within myself between what I know and believe compared to how I feel is like nothing I've experienced before. It is a spiritual break from God that I have never experienced to this degree. Somehow I felt that because of how difficult and unexpected our past pregnancies have been, how difficult they have been just to deal with and accept, how much work and sacrifice having these babies so close together have been, how hard we've tried to live faithfully the Church's teachings of love, sex, and marriage, how simply tired I was with four babies that God would understand, that he would know me, that I could trust, even as little as I am capable of trusting, that He would know to give me a little more time between babies. All of this is not to say that I/we were practicing some blissfully ignorant form of NFP, oh no, I can fill numerous posts/books on how much and how hard we've worked on NFP, how two of my babies were conceived while fully breastfeeding but by stretching two different rules, and how my last baby was the only inexplicable pregnancy my NFP teacher has had in over 25 years of working with women, and how the number of times we "used" days and while solely breastfeeding since Max's birth last December can be counted on one hand. I just thought that somehow God would cut me a break, a little slack, just know everything I was dealing with. Yes, I know intellectually God doesn't owe me a thing. I am blessed beyond measure of what I could possibly deserve. And I am not faithful simply because it feels good. But I can't seem, yet, to get around this deep feeling of somehow the Lord choosing to not understand me, for my feelings to count as nothing, for my sense of trust to be squashed.

I've been left feeling terribly alone, angry, and inconsolable. As if somehow God has put me here and is now nowhere to be seen. I've never had such a overwhelming feeling of desolation. All while feeling incredibly guilty for having these feelings at all. Because of course, being open to life, being a good Catholic, being a good mom means always feeling happy about pregnancy, about this miracle. And only saintly mothers have lots of kids, and are joyfully accepting of babies no matter when, no matter the number. Not only am I not saintly in this department, but lately in moments when I feel run over by a truck I cannot believe my own weakness at the realization that I am having such a complete spiritual breakdown over something that in of itself is so good. I am not even being tried by something as awful as infertility, death, severe illness, a child's severe illness, let alone war, poverty, oppression, persecution, or the myriad of horrible things in this world. I'm knocked over by my own weakness of faith. My own crappy self-centered inability to trust or believe. Weakness, weakness, weakness. 

So I'm trudging along, hoping I can be picked up eventually.


11 comments:

  1. Oh Christy....prayers for you, friend. I know a lot about the emotions and feelings you are talking about here. Please e-mail me if you need to talk!

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  2. I love you, Christy! I'm here for you and praying for you always.

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  3. Sweet lady, I've been thinking of you often. Praying for you!

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  4. I'm sorry this has been so hard on you. Let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do. We fully support you and the beautiful children you have brought into this world. We will continue to pray for you. You are a very strong woman. It's very humbling!

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  5. That feeling of God "not cutting us some slack" is especially hard when we have been faithful to Him. We've given all we have, we have given til it hurts, and it just keeps hurting worse. I have lamented on many occasions "what else can He possibly put on me?" Many, many blessings on you...will put you on my pregnant moms list...will pray and fast for you. PM

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  6. Definitely praying for you...may God give you so much grace and peace for having the courage to share this with other mamas who are sharing this burden.

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  7. Oh Christy thank you for having the courage to share this. The way you are feeling is completely understandable. I am praying for you!!!

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  8. Christy this was just amazing. Thank you for writing. I would love to print this out and pass it around to all the doe-eyed OLSWA girls who think marriage and family is a cake walk with unicorns and rainbows. Your family *is* a witness, and your courage in admitting these things is a gift to those who struggle with similar feelings. I think we all feel this immense pressure to be a witness to the greater culture, which amounts to being HAPPYHAPPYHAPPY all the time, and the reality is, marriage and family life has lots of crosses. I will pray for you.

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  9. Christie. I love this. I really do. I admire you so much. And I admire your honesty. I feel sometimes as if admitting that things are hard is a taboo subject. But people need to know this - to be faithful is not easy.

    Anyway. You are in my prayers.

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  10. My heart goes out to you Christy!! You are in my prayers as you go through this tough time. And you WILL get through this! You are such a strong woman. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I can relate on every level. We also just had five in six years, and I have had some extremely dark times of feeling resentful of pregnancy and feeling depressingly out of control (we also evidently have ridiculously high levels of fertility that have been known to confound NFP experts). One thing that always inspires me is to think of my Thanksgiving dinnertable 20 years from now. It will be so cool to have all these adult children who are close to us and close to one another.

    Also, I will say that things have really begun to turn the corner now that our oldest has turned eight. I've been working with the oldest three kids to do a lot more of the housework, and together they can get the whole house clean in about 30 minutes at the end of each day -- HUGE difference from even a year ago.

    Anyway, hang in there. You'll be in my prayers.

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