You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Marriage’ category.

More first trimester thoughts

I’ve become very introspective in the past couple of weeks.  And I love it.  Maybe that’s weird, but I’m finding comfort in going into myself(?)  Sorry to sound hyper-spiritual.  Its been a little strange because I’ve been craving community and people that know me, but I’ve been wanting to be myself and read and sit in the hammock and…just be.

My most recent visit to the OB/Gyn was empowering.  I’ve been hesitant to get super worked up about wanting to have a natural labor.  I’ve seen friends be absolutely devastated when their birth didn’t go as they expected.  I didn’t want that for them, and I don’t want that for me.  I’ve been protecting myself from the possibility of this kind of disappointment.  Also, after working in the hospital with pregnant women both right before and after they have their babies, I’ve seen the outcome of different types of delivery is basically the same.  When a healthy baby is born, it doesn’t seem to matter how their baby was delivered.  But the process (the pregnancy and the birth) is important, I missed that before.  I talked to my OB about how I’m used to being an observer, but, now that I’m a participant, I’m beginning to see things differently.  Also, not working in the hospital any more, I think I’ve gotten some of my compassion back and lost some of my cynicism.  That place does it to ya.

My Ob/Gyn encouraged me that its okay for me to have an opinion and to want to approach my pregnancy, labor and birth in a specific way.  She encouraged me to write down the interventions that I would want and not want.  To this, I told her that I know how nurses respond when a patient rolls into the unit with a Birth Plan.  They roll their eyes and prepare for the worst.  (What is it with nurses?  I think, we’re both the meanest and nicest people in the world.)

I’m developing my pregnancy/childbirth/parenting reading list and loving it.  I’m open to suggestions.

Advertisements

I promise that all my posts from here on out won’t be devoted to pregnancy, but I’ve typed up a couple thoughts that I had during my first trimester and want to share them….

Pregnancy seems similar to engagement to me in so many ways.  One major difference between engagement and pregnancy is that, for me, the first trimester is one long drawn out proposal.  For 2 months, I have felt like Gregg has been slowly putting a ring on my finger, and I have been thinking things like, I want to be excited, but can I be yet?  Is this for real?  I imagined both periods of waiting (engagement and pregnancy) to be blissful and fun and exciting.  And, so far, pregnancy has been more fun than being engaged (sorry, Gregg, but I’m sure you agree with me).  But, of course, parts of it have been hard.  My complaints are not different than any other woman’s, so I won’t go into the specifics.  But, the hardest thing for me, I think, has been not feeling like myself.  Not having the energy to do the things that I normally like to do, like reading or knitting.  Sometimes I just sit (weird).

I’m writing this smack in the middle of my first trimester, but I’m going to wait to actually post it.  I read this wonderfully encouraging post about “First trimester woes.”  (I actually googled this phrase.)  I had been having this internal battle between listening to my body and resting when I needed to VERSUS putting aside how I feel and doing the things that I don’t feel like doing. What I am learning is that I can do more than I think I can.  Sometimes I just need to rest, but sometimes doing things that I don’t want to do takes precedent.

And, knowing that other women have had/are having much worse first trimesters than me, makes me want to pick myself up by the boot straps.

My former pastor Heath (the one who cried while marrying us) once said that after two years, you are no longer considered a newlywed.  When he said that, I remember feeling a little sad, like I wanted to be a newlywed forever.  But now?  Bring it on.

Two years.  We’ve lived in 3 different houses plus one apartment.  I’ve started and finished my master’s degree.  I’ve had 4 jobs.  Gregg’s had 3.  We’ve vacationed in Columbia and Hawaii.  We’ve been without jobs, without friends, and without a church.  But we’ve had each other.  With everything that’s changed around us, we have been constant to each other.  I like thinking about that.

Constant=Not going anywhere=Loved no matter what=Committed to each other even when you wanna run away

One thought I’ve had about marriage is that it does get easier, like they all say.  But its not easier in the way I thought it would be.  We still get frustrated and hurt feelings, but the arguments are not as dramatic as we have grown into each other.  We keep getting to know each other better.  We have learned/are learning to disagree well.

We aren’t getting each other gifts for our anniversary this year.  (We did have a mini-shopping spree, taking advantage of Patagonia’s semi-annual 50% off sale.)  I’m making Gregg write me a letter.  And I’m going to write him one, too.  We’re also going to celebrate with Batman and a slow moving trip through the mountains and back to Knoxville.  We’ll be headed to our good friend and matchmaker Joey Fizzle’s wedding.

Madeleine L’Engle wrote a book on marriage called Two-Part Invention.  I haven’t started it yet, but I liked her last book so much I named my blog after it.  In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d give this one a shot, too.

I’ve been loving Anne Lamott lately.  She lives just north of San Francisco, so she’s always walking around on the hills of Marin County.  That is a lovely, sacred place up there.  As Wimbo says, its smells like “sun-drenched eucalyptus.”  She is so irreverent (Anne, not Wimbo), talking about her hatred, literally, of the Republican party.  But its her honesty that makes her so easy to relate to and such a joy to read.  She talks about her love/hate relationship with her body.  She writes about trying to do well but failing most of the time.  She is self-deprecating in a way that makes you, as the reader, feel normal.  Grace is always the theme of her books.

Usually, she’s fairly light-hearted in her story-telling, even as she shares about God and her faith.  Every now and then, though, she has this heavy wisdom that smacks you in between the eyes.

Last night, I read the second to last chapter in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.  In it, she shares with the reader the advice she usually reserves for graduates when she is asked to give a commencement speech.  Its not your typical, Go get ’em tigers, message.  Instead of run in the rat race and shoot for your dreams and try your best to succeed, she says get to know yourself.  She says that, as a successful writer, she’s reached her dreams, but that hole inside of her has not been suddenly filled up now that she has arrived.  So, her advice is rest and pray and enjoy life.  Okay, so you have to pay your bills.  And, hopefully you can do that by working at a job that you love.  But, her point is that getting that dream job is not what’s going to make you happy.

Her message is very applicable to us.  Gregg sold his chickens.  I was disappointing and sad about it, but he felt relieved.  Day after day, he was watching their numbers decline due to the foxes and hawks and whatever else.  He says that he was over-eager.  He was so ready to get started working with animals, but he didn’t really have a plan.  Oops.  To his credit, he didn’t really know what the plan needed to be.  So, what now?  Quit?  Go home?  Pack up and move back to Knoxville?  We’ve thought about it, but no.  We’re sticking it out here.  He’s got more to learn, A LOT more to learn.  And, more and more, I think that learning is the point of all this.  Making money is not the point.  Hopefully that will come eventually, learning how to make money from farming.  But, now, and maybe for awhile.  The point is how to plan and care for animals and get something in return (eggs, wool, milk, meat, whatever).

So, we are (probably) moving, but not out of town.  We are going to move to a farmhouse on the Eastern Shore.  Ugh.  Moving again.  This makes house #4(!!) for us since we’ve been married.  I can’t wait to show some pictures of the house.  Its got wallpaper in the hallways which I kind of love, but then the carpet is just ridiculous.  It has swirlies on it.  And I think there’s hardwood under it!  Oh well.  The reason we are strongly considering the move has nothing to do with the wallpaper or carpet.  Gregg needs to live with his animals.  With the chickens, he had a fifteen minute drive every morning and evening, and then he wasn’t there with them during the day to protect them and all of that.  About an acre or two of land comes with the farmhouse.  On the land is a fence, a barn, a shed, a grain storage bin.  All the things a farmless farmer needs to become an actual farmer.  And all these things are already in place, ready for Gregg.

Living out here in the country has been like a retreat for Gregg and me.  Its been like a long but intense therapy session.  It started out H.A.R.D.  Gregg was frustrated with work, I was frustrated with non-work.  It was like we had just gotten married.  Every little thing seemed to cause friction between us.

And now, its bliss.

Just kidding.  Seriously though, we are doing so much better than we were when we were first moved here.  This is partly because Gregg’s less frustrated, and I’m working.  Its also because we’ve gotten to know each other better.  We’ve become a self-contained unit.  Some couples always function like this, relying only on each other, not reaching out too much when things go wrong or get hard.  For us, I don’t think this is our natural inclination.  We thrive with friends and community.  With girlfriends and guy friends and couple friends to do life with.  But now, we’re all we’ve got.  We’ve met people here and there, but for the most part its us.  And being just the two of us, has forced us to be just the two of us.  Redundant.

We’ve learned about each other.  I’ve learned that when Gregg isn’t complaining about his day, that means he’s had a good day.  I like to share the good and the bad.  He mostly shares the bad.  So, when he’s quiet, things are usually good.  What else?

I’m not sure what he’s learned about me, I’ll have to ask.

I guess I’ve learned some things about myself, too.  I like the quiet country life.  I love and need and want people and friends.  But slow-paced non-city living is good for the soul.  The soul can settle nicely in the country’s back pocket and rest for awhile.  I guess that’s what we’re doing.  Resting.  Being on an extended retreat.  Together.

We talk a lot.  We’ve got no internet.  We do have a tv, which I have a love-hate relationship with.  We’re having a beach day tomorrow.  I’m reading the second book of Harry Potter.  I’m not sure why I resisted for so long.

When we told our pre-marriage/marriage counselor that we were moving, he said that a good friend of his recommends that every married couple move away.  Some place that’s new and foreign and just the two of them.

I miss my friends.  I miss my family.  I’ve gotten homesick out here.  That feeling has been lost on me ever since I stopped going to Girl Scout camp.  Home is definitely with Gregg.  But it’s also people that know and love you.  Me.

I know that we’re not in our forever house or our forever jobs.  Do those even exist any more?  Gregg says that the next place we move, he wants us to be there for twenty years.  Yes, says part of me.  Twenty years??!!, says another part.  At 28 years old, its really hard to imagine being somewhere for a little less than how old I am.  (Does that make sense?  I’m 28 and we’re going to move somewhere for 20 years.)  In my 28 years, I’ve lived in two houses in Roanoke.  Two in Knoxville.  Four in Clemson.  One in Australia.  Another in Nicaragua.  A bo-go-zillion in Europe.  Two in SF.  Two in Knoxville again.  One here.  16 homes in 28 years.  My pastor in Knoxville loves talking about place.  He talks about the importance of sticking it out and digging into one place.  You can imagine how guilty I felt when we told him that we were moving.  He’s on to something.  Its just hard for people our age in a not-so-good economy to get settled for the long haul when they don’t have kids and a mortgage.  And, let’s face it, we’re all commitment-phobes.

So, for now, we’re here.  Retreating.  Trying to make this our home.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Goodreads

Advertisements