Like most first-time moms-to-be, I’ve already been offered lots of advice and counsel. I actually welcome it because I appreciate hearing about other people’s experiences. I also welcome it because over the past several years I’ve learned not to listen to everyone who gives me advice.
That might sound contradictory, but it isn’t. I truly do enjoy hearing about the experiences that different people have in their Christian walk. As long as they tell their story with humility and a desire to be helpful, I am always up for a good story and advice. However, when the “advice” turns authoritarian and judgmental, I politely listen and then move on.
So far the best piece of advice I’ve received was from David’s Aunt Gail. When I called to tell her the news, she told me to trust my instincts. God has given me those instincts for my own situation and to trust them. I really appreciated that because we’ve already had to make some choices that I know not everyone would agree with. But that is ok, because David and I are in agreement and feel confident of our decisions before God.
I do believe that God’s timing is not our timing, but His timing is always perfect for His will in our lives. I’ve written before of some of the challenging spiritual experiences David and I have gone through in our marriage. Some were self-inflicted and some were not. I am thankful beyond words that God saved us from making some really stupid decisions. I am also thankful beyond words that God graciously kept some blessings from us until a better time. I see this pregnancy as a prime example of this.
I shudder to think some of the choices we might have made if we had had children sooner. I also shudder to think of some of the unnecessary burdens I might have labored under (pun intended!) if I had allowed the convictions and thinking of others to dictate my own decisions.
One of the things that David and I have clearly seen over the past couple of years is that “religious systems” do not work, even those that are given in the name of Christ and are backed up chapter and verse with Scriptures. There are lots of “experts” out there who claim to have the Bible all figured out and who can tell us in minute details exactly how we are supposed to do absolutely everything in our lives. This includes how to have babies, how to take care of them, how many to have, etc. They present their systems in such a way that any deviation from that system is labeled sin – clear and simple. Some people can look at those “systems” and just walk away, shaking their heads in disbelief. Other people are drawn to them, I think primarily in a desire to be right before God and to live biblically. Those are good and proper desires, but the desire to be “right” can become addictive and override the desire for God Himself. I am thankful that although I can tend to be this way, God in His GREAT GRACE saved us from anything worse than what we went through.
So because of having my eyes opened to the bankruptcy of these “systems”, I’ve gone into this pregnancy with my expectations lowered. Not in the bad sense, but in the sense of not having these illusions of what it means to have a “perfect” pregnancy and delivery. When the doctor told me that it was likely I would have to have a c-section, it did not make me feel like I would be less of a woman. Frankly, to a certain degree I could care less how the baby comes out. I have never had thoughts of being a “real woman” by doing natural childbirth. Instead, the main thought that came to me was a sense of profound gratitude to live in a day and age where a c-section is possible. A lot of women in the past have suffered horribly and died because that option was not available to them. Having a “natural childbirth” doesn’t make a female a “woman” any more than impregnating a female makes a male a “man”. I was a complete woman in Christ before I ever got pregnant and I’ll be just as complete whether the baby enters this world one way or another. Frankly, I just don’t get it when I read pregnancy books about women who feel like failures or that they have been robbed because they had to have a c-section. I thought the point was to have a child? Isn’t what goes on in the eighteen+ years following the birth a lot more important than zipper vs. vaginal?
I feel the same way about breastfeeding. Of course I know that God has designed women in such a way that breastfeeding is the best choice for both the infant and the mother. I am well aware of the fact that it is the healthiest choice. However, I’ve watched many women suffer horribly through trying to achieve the “perfect” motherhood experience and they thought that HAD to include breastfeeding. At what point is the physical and emotional suffering on the part of the mother no longer worth it? Of course breastfeeding is of great value and I plan on making an effort to make it work. (And it’s thrifty!) But drive myself and everyone around me crazy if it doesn’t work after some effort? No way.
And don’t even get me going on cloth vs. disposable diapers! I cannot believe how some people make this an issue of life or death. Good grief! Keep the baby dry and happy! Isn’t that the main principle?
Well, I’m sure I’ve shocked and alienated some people by now. And I’m sure there have been a few “Amens” said as well. I’m sure it shocked some people the other day when I joked about vasectomies. I’m just trying to be honest here. My objective is to have a CHILD, not an EXPERIENCE. When we contemplated adoption, I thought the best part of it was that you walked into the hospital, picked up the baby, went home and started living. No recovery for your body, etc. Just start enjoying that baby! I thought that sounded rather wonderful myself!
So those are my thoughts on this journey I’ve started out on. And, no, my thinking hasn’t been (too) clouded by my first trimester woes. These are things David and I discussed long before I ever got pregnant. And just to be clear and avoid any misunderstanding… I do not look down in any way on women who want the whole “natural” thing. If they find it enjoyable and an important part of their life experience, more power to them and good for them! Me, I’m more looking forward to baking cookies, reading books, and watching David and my parents hold our little Peanut more than any of the process I’m currently going through. I’m just paying my dues so I can reap a beautiful harvest in October.