Expect the unexpected

This week I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of a delightful baby boy, age 3 months, and get re-acquainted with his lovely parents. We’ll soon see more of them – they are all moving back to this part of the country! I’m really looking forward to our families bieing friends.

In enjoyed holding the babe, which pretty much goes without saying. It was really interesting, talking to his parents about their recent, and our not-so-long-ago, experience of birth, nursing, and just having a baby in the house.  Our discussion reminded me again of  our great good fortune in having generally healthy, happy pregnancies, births and babies. Honestly, it is just that, great good luck. We talked about how little I felt inconvenienced by pregnancy and breastfeeding. After all, Iwas just so thrilled to have it happen, expected it to be my last chance, and had experienced most of the various unpleasant side effects before. The various drawbacks, even combined, were pretty much as expected.  Having babies and little kids in the house has been tiring, frustrating work, intermingled with moments of pure joy.

I believe  that childbearing and for that matter, childrearing, thus far, has been one big lesson in acknowledging both our lack of control and the miracles among us. That point of view, where learning gratitude is entwined with adjusting ones expectations, was really well summed up in this quote from Ellen Painter Dollar published in the Literary Mama Blog:

I recently came across one theologian’s description of people without any obvious illness or disability as being “temporarily able-bodied.” There is such truth in that. All bodies break, all bodies fail. The power of childbearing does not lie in our bodies’ ability to do exactly what we want and expect them to. My body has never done exactly what I wanted and expected it to, especially when it came time to birth my babies. The power of childbearing, rather, lies in our bodies’ ability to bring forth something exquisite, miraculous, and imperfect (as all human beings are) from its own exquisite, miraculous, and imperfect depths

I struggle to remember that all of life is a series of surprises and our attitudes make it what it is.


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