Going back to last October, when I found out I was pregnant, I was astounded and scared. But I knew God had a hand in it, so I prayed: "If you really want our family to have another baby, then please make this pregnancy easy, physically and emotionally. Oh, and please send me another daughter. Is that too much to ask with everything else that is going on in my life?"
And then it seemed He either wasn't listening or was saying no. I was sicker than during the other pregnancies, many foods I couldn't eat that I'd never had a problem with before. Emotional stress from church and from my marriage were worse than ever. And then I was getting another boy.
But now, I feel better than ever. (and of course I LOVE my sweet little boy.) Would I realize that I feel so good now if I hadn't felt so miserable before? I think back to how I handled other stress. If I could handle everything so reasonably well when I was miserably pregnant, then I should definitely be able to handle it now. Most of the time I think I do fairly well.
I attended a fireside with my daughter that concluded her youth conference the last weekend in July, just a couple of days after Scott moved downstairs. The topic was courage, referring to the LDS youth theme this year from Joshua 1:9.
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
The speaker talked about Joan of arc (yes, Rob, what you've been saying for two years is finally hitting home) and how at the young age of 19, she refused to deny what she believed religiously and politically. And so she chose burning at the stake over freedom. I felt a connection with her at that moment. After all, look at what have I gone through because I will not deny support for my gay friends. I cannot deny what is so emotionally and spiritually engraved in my heart.
The meeting was incredibly uplifting to me. I even enjoyed listening to the stake president as he shared closing remarks. And I left with even more determination to be strong and courageous.
I recognize many ways that I am already stronger than I used to be.
The first thing is with driving. I have anxiety with driving, and have had since I was 19 or 20, when I had a panic attack while I was driving home one night. Then, probably 12 years ago, I was driving on the freeway taking our two oldest children to the doctor and I had a panic attack. I stopped driving on the freeway for several years.
But over the last few months, my driving anxiety has diminished significantly. I can drive on the freeway now just fine -- or sometimes with minimal nervousness. And I bravely drove myself and my kids up the canyon one night for a ward dinner. A small panic attack did come on with that one, but it was not too bad (my kids helped me through it) and I was proud of myself for doing something I have always been afraid to do. Since then I have driven to and from a family condo in a resort town in the mountains about an hour away with no problem whatsoever. Scott's little sister was amazed!
Being able to drive anywhere without fear is something I NEED to be able to do now that I am required to be more independent. I am very grateful for the strength and courage that I have somehow found within myself. (Maybe it is because of Zoloft or a blessing from God or just coincidence, but regardless, I am grateful.)
Another thing I have noticed is that I am getting better at doing things on my own. Scott will attest, I am sure, that I would much rather ask him to do things for me than to do them myself. Not sure how I became so lazy and dependent on him. :(. Now I have to be independent, which is a TON easier in good health. Being pregnant again definitely gave me an appreciation for feeling good, and I am really enjoying it! I try to be more independent even when he is close by, but it is not always easy. He makes the best smoothies!
I hope I can conquer my dislike/anxiety with shopping next, not that I have never shopped, but if Scott volunteers to run to the grocery store for me, I do not complain a bit. :) Dislike of traffic and crowds of people, lack of energy and time, and concern that I might spend more money than I should often keep me from getting out the door to the store unless I absolutely have no choice.
I have always been very emotional and likely to need a plumber for my leaky eyes at the drop of a hat (even when I'm not pregnant!), but lately I don't cry as easily or as often. I must say it is much less embarrassing to have more control than I used to.
We always hear "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." Another quote someone told me recently is "you don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have." I wish that becoming a better person didn't have to hurt so much, but I might as well be grateful for everything that I can.
Coming soon, a blog post on this line from my patriarchal blessing: "you will find joy in living, for happiness comes from within."