November 19, 2008

The Pedestal of Pregnancy.

"O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love..."

-St. Francis of Assisi

A friend of mine posted this part of The Prayer of St. Francis on his blog earlier, and as I read it this morning while sipping my coffee, I had an epic-ly gargantuan revelation.

Something along the lines of: I tooootally suck at this.

And: This is the kind of heart attitude that makes a great marriage.

If ever there was a prayer that I have needed to be praying lately, it's this. A prayer of selflessness and not feeling entitled to things simply because you think you deserve them.

Case in point: I'm pregnant. Very much so pregnant. And lately, an attitude has crept in to my heart that tells me I deserve some sort of special treatment. Now... while, on the outside, this sounds completely innocent and can even be a healthy thing to expect while expecting ("let me lift that 50lb box for you, dear!"), I have allowed this attitude to quickly turn into bitterness in my heart when I don't feel every one of my needs being met. I have allowed it to turn into resentment. I have thrown a big pity party and imagined every other pregnant woman in the world being fussed over and dotted upon while I feel like the "same old emery." I have cried. I have let it drive a wedge between me and the one I love most.

And you know what else I realized in thinking through all this? Just because my body is the only one that's physically changing during this time, that doesn't mean my family's entire lives aren't changing as well. I'm not the only one in this equation. I'm not the only affected party these long nine months.

I have been seeking consolation without offering any.
I have been seeking understanding without offering any.
I have been expecting love without opening my arms.

Pregnancy is a very special time, for sure. But part of me wonders if our society hasn't built it up to an unhealthy place in some ways... telling women they should be sitting on a pedestal the entire time and elevated to a queen-like status. This just doesn't seem completely right to me. Women should be cherished during this time, for sure, but do we have a right to demand it? To expect cherishing without offering it in the same amount to those around us?

Pregnancy should be a time of strengthening the love between your husband and yourself, shouldn't it? How do you strengthen love? One way: Selflessly. By laying your life down for the other over and over again. Because when that baby gets born, there's gonna be some big changes... and any love will take a whopping after months of 3AM feedings, to be sure. Doesn't seem like a good time to go and isolate yourself, right?

I don't know. This suddenly feels controversial, so maybe I'll just leave it at that for now.

All I know is that, for me personally, I haven't been doing a very good job at keeping my eyes focused on the people around me more than I've kept them focused on myself. (Don't they call this 'navel-gazing'? How very appropriate, as my navel is increasingly hard to miss these days...)

So, this prayer will definitely be on my lips as I go through my days from this point forward, because, to me, it feels like good love. And good love is what I promised to give... what I aim to give... and most importantly- what I have first received freely from the Author of love himself.


MOMMY-MOMO said...

I couldn't agree more!!!

Andrea June said...

This is such an amazingly revelation, Emery! Thanks for your honesty , it really speaks to my heart. I will be praying that God imprints this prayer on my heart as well!

Andrea June said... "amazingly revelation." I meant amazing. Oops!

Andrea June said... "amazingly revelation." I meant amazing. Oops!

skylana said...

i dont think its controversial, though i've proven over and over i may not know what is considered 'controversial' ..... haha.. but that is the best way to get through all the 'life' that comes in marriage for sure... seth is VERY good at this and he has been the one to teach me this kind of love. when i was pregnant with ara i would ask seth to drive BACK to slo to get me tio albertos if i wanted it... this time i went grocery shopping and brought it all upstairs by myself until like 34 weeks... haha i learned my lesson from wearing him out last time. poor sweet guy.

Laura said...

I love this post.
I actually felt very humbled during pregnancy. I don't like fusses made over me, and I desperately tried to blend in and keep everything as "before" as possible. In reality, I felt as out of control as I've ever felt in my life. A power MUCH GREATER than me was at work, with physical results that couldn't be denied. Add to that the fact that I was pregnant during the holidays and due around Christmas, and sometimes I felt a bit like Mary must have felt. So many unknown, uncontrollable changes. A knitting together of life, yielding a product far beyond MY abilities. Growing a human with a power that was so NOT OF ME. It was that point that I finally felt in my soul what it would mean to abort a baby... and since that definitely IS controversial, I'll just say that I never had the "I am woman, I have the right to control this body" feeling while I was pregnant. I had the "ohmygosh, this is so undeniably GOD and NOT ME" feeling. It was beautiful humility like I've never known.

Sorry to be so rambly, it probably doesn't make much sense. :)

t h a i t r a i t said...

Oh, Francis. He always has a lovely way of putting things, doesn't he.

Blessings to you as you strive to selflessly strengthen love.

sufferingsummer said...

A friend recently sent me that prayer in it's entirety. Since then I have read it on a somewhat daily basis.
shit I can't even take it all in.

I like what you're sayin...and now excuse me whilst I go love on my husband a tad bit.

Court said...

I'm not married and I don't have kids...but your post still hit home with me. I totally suck at that too!

Don't worry about the controversy. This is YOUR blog. Write what you feel. Personally, I admire your admitting your faults and laying it all out for us to read.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh Emery not controversial at all and I totally understand. I felt like you did when I was pregnant with my son. My husband is a very busy person. He worked his regular job during the day and was working on his own business managing bands at night. I had felt so alone. He was very helpful when he could be, but I was wrapped up in my emotions. I had to learn to pull myself out of it and become the independent person I always knew I had been. I had felt that the pregnancy put my emotions on overload. The proof was in his actions after the baby was born. I had a spinal headache from the epidural and couldn't get out of bed. My husband gave 110%. He took care of our son all by himself for two weeks. Husbands always seem to surprise you when you least expect it. :)

ElizabethSheryl said...

That is a beautiful prayer, and I think something we all need, pregnant or not, to focus on. :) Thank you for sharing!

Married for Keeps said...

Ouch! That hurt really good. Thanks - I too needed that

little birdy said...

"whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done unto Me"

this post is beautiful, emery.

anna joy said...

oooo0o0o0o this is a good post. thanks for slapping me in the face, i needed that