Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What has worked

While the blogging every day idea did not work for a Lenten discipline, there is one that has.  Another one of the ideas I had for this period of Lent was to give up asking R about money issues.  

Of all the places where we could be different as husband and wife, money management seems to be the most pronounced.  We are a good example of ying and yang--a spender and a saver.  He tends to be the spender, I tend to be the saver.  

Being the person I am, I can be both a bit of a penny pincher and a bit compulsive in tracking spending (not totally useless in their own right, but not always the most productive for building trust and confidence in marital bliss).  And, because my husband is self-employed, the "steady income" is based on his customers paying and paying on time, which unfortunately doesn't always happen. 

As a consequence, R sometimes often gets struck by a maelstrom of inquisition about who paid and where money is going, etc, etc, etc.  

In an attempt to be a little less neurotic, and much more supportive, I decided to fast from my obsessive questioning.  I don't ask about who has and hasn't paid. I don't ask about how much was spent at this store or that store. And I trust (work on trusting?) that he will tell me if something big pops up that I should know about. 

It may sound simple, but it definitely requires discipline on my part. And hopefully in drawing near to my husband this Lent, I am also more fully able to receive the love he has to give, which in turn teaches me about God's love for me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So much for that idea

Clearly, the plan of blogging every day in Lent did not pan out the way I had planned.  In the last couple of weeks, I have been exceedingly tired and somehow that does not mesh with setting aside daily time to write.  It probably doesn't mesh with a whole lot of anything, besides lounging around and being lazy, which hasn't really been possible either.  And I'm sure the disciplined among you would simply say that I need to devote myself to the practice or otherwise I could simply make the tired excuse for the rest of my life (especially with a new little one on the way, but whatever). 

I have about 10 ideas for entries in my head right now, so I'll just sit here and type and see how far I get and that'll have to suffice until I get my next bit of down time coupled with a burst of energy.  =)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bradley, Lamaze, and more, Oh My!

Disclaimer: I think this post might be more for me than for any readers.  I think I need to process through writing to try and figure out what I really want to do.  As part of that, if you are interested enough to keep reading, I am happy to have feedback.

I am 7 1/2 months pregnant now.  Wow, it's crazy to even write that.  It seems like just yesterday I was 10 weeks along counting each day trying to move along to the next week and yet it was only so slow. Now, though I know which week I am in (31), I mostly keep track by month.  That may not seem like much, but from a pregnant perspective, it's fabulous.  

At this point, I have read a good number of books.  I have read:

 All are good books.  What to Expect is the basics of pregnancy and all the various things that will happen during Dr. appointments and to your body and to your baby.  It's like the encyclopedia of pregnancy.

Belly Laughs is a comic take on some of the crazy (to the non-pregnant or newly pregnant woman) things that happen during pregnancy.

Thank you Dr. Lamaze is old school but it is super insightful about the Lamaze Method (mostly known for the weird "hee, hee, hoo" breathing, but actually so much more) and what it actually aims to do.  The woman who wrote it actually had Dr. Lamaze as her doctor in France in the late 1950s and she gives all kinds of insights about why the Lamaze method works (it's based on Pavlov's method and so you "train" your body to have the necessary "automatic" responses come time for labor and delivery). From what I've read, it was the pioneer in natural childbirth in the early to mid 20th century (when the accepted practice was to knock the mom out with gas and have her wake up after everything was already over).  It aims to train your body and mind to stay "ahead of the pain" (acknowledging that there is pain during childbirth but that it doesn't have to be so extreme if you make your body work for you in the process). 

Husband Coached Childbirth
is written by Dr. Bradley of the Bradley Method.  In essence, he is the modern (though he started practicing as an OB decades ago) proponent of natural (read: medication free) childbirth, which uses the husband/partner as the primary coach during labor.  (Remember: for decades husbands/fathers were not allowed in the delivery room, they were kept in the waiting room).  It advocates a method of childbirth that mimics what happens naturally (and easily???) for animals.  It tries to parallel their breathing patterns, activity patterns, and positions asserting that childbirth is just as natural for humans as it is for animals and so we shouldn't make it so complicated.  If we want it to be "easier" then we should go back to natural patterns that seem to work. 

Happiest Baby on the Block is one I've read before (when my sister was pregnant with her first child) and I appreciate for the ways it teaches parents how to calm their babies.  

Obviously, I've done a lot of reading.  And, quite honestly, the debate in my head is now between methods for childbirth.  At their core, Bradley and Lamaze propose the same thing: medication-free childbirth that helps the mom engage the process of labor and delivery.  Both include the father in both the preparation and the delivery.  The major difference seems to be that Lamaze seeks for you to be relaxed, though alert, to try and stay ahead of the pain.  Bradley wants you to be relaxed and more relaxed, with little distraction and the father right by your side.  (I don't really know a better way to explain it).  

It's interesting having read the books because both were written when their methods were new and radical and not widely accepted. Both have a bit of a bias against "modern medicine" and hospitals. Bradley seems to have become known as adversarial against hospital staff including doctors and nurses.  

We tried to ask our doctor for his honest input and advice and all we really got was diplomatic fluff. He said they want what is best for the mom and the baby and are good with pretty much any method.  Which, on the one hand, I'm grateful for.  On the other hand, he left things vague.  We wanted to know which exercises and practices to work with.  We wanted to know what seems to work best for his patients. We didn't get that input.  

Instead, we've started the childbirth class the hospital offers, which, after just one class, was the most boring thing possible. It probably wouldn't have been bad if I hadn't read any books, but I have, so it just seemed really basic and as unhelpful as our doctor.  So for now, I'm basically working the preparation and exercises of both methods with a hope that it'll all come out in the wash. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Privilege to work where I do

I serve an amazing church.  I tell people that all the time.  I serve really faithful people who love God and love each other and love newcomers. They are willing to be pushed to grow in their faith and willing to risk and try new things.  I love what I do and they make it easy to do so.

A few years ago, when I had passed the Board for ordination, my DS called and congratulated me and then asked if I wanted a move. When I asked why he said, "Well, some people want to go to a better church when they are ordained. They want to move up." I told him I didn't want a move. I serve a church where there is no debt, no major conflict, and people who are devoted to their faith.  Where exactly is up?!?

I still serve that wonderful church and they just keep proving how wonderful they are.

Case in point: last week I met with my SPRC (HR committee for the non-methodists) and discussed what their expectations are for when I come back to work after my maternity leave.  Essentially, my question was "When will it be ok for me to have the baby at work and when will you expect me to have childcare?"  At least one person wasn't sure why I even asked the question.  I explained that R & I wanted to be sure of what would be acceptable and what wouldn't be.  Someone else asked if they even needed to make any kind of declaration. I said yes, that there were bound to be at least a couple of folks in the congregation who had a gut reaction against me bringing the baby to work.  That they wouldn't have been allowed to take their baby to work and so they would expect that other women (including me) should not be allowed to either.  

I offered to leave the room so people could feel free to be completely honest in sharing their thoughts.  The chair asked me to go ahead and go and then she came to find me about 5 minutes later.  

When I returned to the meeting I was told, "We trust you.  We trust you as our pastor, and we trust you as a person, and we expect to trust you as a mother.  We will leave that up to your discretion."  

I am honored by their confidence and their trust. And as I thought further about what they had shared, I realized how very fortunate I am.  Most women who go back to work cannot take their child with them.  There isn't even a question of possibility.  And even many clergywomen aren't allowed to take their infants to work, for whatever reason.  But I serve an amazingly supportive church who trusts me to know when it will be ok and when it won't and to plan accordingly, without restrictions.  

I am so very blessed!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday a day late

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and it was very full.  I started with a private devotional communion/ash opportunity for the church at 6:30am and finished with a small corporate worship service at 7 last night.

One of the things I want to "add" for Lent is blogging each day.  Obviously that didn't quite work in the way I wanted for yesterday, but I figure I shouldn't give up the goal just because of one missed day. 

My hope is to reflect more and to slow down to do so. 

Quite honestly, I miss finding theological connections in the every day matters of life and I hope taking time to write daily will give me the fresh perspective I need to gt it back.

quote of the day

A: If that's the case, you shouldn't even ask questions.
B: I always ask questions. I'm a questionnaire.