Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pride and Pregnancy

I've been feeling convicted of late... I've been struggling with pride issues. Over the course of the past few weeks, Chris and I have been "showered" with three baby showers (two surprises, one I knew about in advance). Added to those three are the two that are coming up in the next two weekends (Knipe Family and Meckbach Family). What is the problem, you ask? You must have gotten tons of gifts! 

I am the problem. I have always had issues with showers. When I got married, I didn't even have a bridal shower. I didn't want one and refused to allow friends or family to throw them for me. The idea of sitting in a chair while the masses watched me open presents one by one, seemed exhausting, appeared to be no fun, and made me feel uncomfortable.

My real issue here is that I don't like the idea of asking or needing people to buy me things. It makes me feel indebted, like I can't obtain stuff on my own. Even as I write that, I  realize I sound snotty and unappreciative. I really don't intend to come across that way, but I know sometimes I do.

I believe I get it honestly: My father has always hated his birthdays or Christmases because of the gift thing. He lavishes others with financial gifts frequently, yet does not like to open the smallest of gifts given to him. I remember, as a kid, being so excited to give him something, only to see him quickly open it, say thanks, and change the subject. I recall other instances where family members or friends attempted to pay for his dinner at a restaurant and my dad subsequently throwing a fit about it. Conversely, my dad is guilty of paying for entire tables and walking out without them knowing. He likes to give. He is generous. He just hates being on the receiving end. He is a wonderful, generous man. But somewhere inside, there is an issue of pride.

I acknowledge I have a pride issue. I want others to feel that I do not need any help and that I can do things on my own, or buy things on my own... I don't want to feel indebted to anyone. 

I have a healthy amount of pride in what Chris and I have worked hard for--- our marriage, our home, our jobs, our degrees. Pride is not always bad-- it is good to feel proud of hard work and accomplishment. However, when I'm too proud to graciously accept help or gifts from people who want to give to me, that is a problem.

Yesterday I had a conversation with my cousin, who is also currently pregnant. Whether she realized it or not, she gave me some perspective. She and her husband live in Florida, away from family and friends. Her husband's extended family consists of two people: his mother and his brother. My cousin knows she will have one shower given by our family and that will be it. She said, "When I heard you were having so many showers, I was jealous at first. You and Chris are so lucky to have so many people who want to support you and give you stuff to prepare for the baby. I threw myself a pity party after hearing about your showers when I knew I would only be having one. I know that's messed up, but I was jealous that you guys would be given so much and have so much support and I would be in Florida, away from all of that."

My pride is so large that it often obstructs my view of the sweet things others want to do for me. God is not calling me to LOVE bridal and baby showers, but he is calling me, commanding me to be humble and to be gracious, to have a soft heart for the people who want to support us, to let them support us.

This is not an easy lesson for me to learn. I am working on it. I just have to remember all of the times I have gotten excited to give a gift to my dad, yet have felt apprehensive because I knew he didn't like receiving gifts. I don't want to steal that excitement from someone who wants to give me something. It's not fair to them and honestly, it's not how God calls me to react.

Family shower #1 is this weekend. I'll report on my "humility-training" next week.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Breastfeeding Class

God has a sense of humor. Last week, Chris and I waltzed into the Breastfeeding 101 class at the hospital; it was a 90 minute crash course in breastfeeding. Chris wasn't originally going to come along. I didn't think he needed to as clearly, I am the one with the integral anatomy required for the task. But, Chris wanted to come, saying he needed to be in the loop too: "We're in this together, right?"

I fully expected to see no other testosterone represented at the class. I was completely wrong! There were about ten other couples there, both husbands and wives,  ready to learn the ins and outs of breastfeeding. Oh the joy!

What I noticed next upon stepping into the room, was a blast from my past---- my first kiss! There he sat....next to his very pregnant wife. (I told you God has a sense of humor!)

He immediately jumped up out of his seat and walked over to give me a hug.

"Bob": "Imagine seeing you here!"

Me: "Yes, wow. I didn't know you and your wife were expecting. Congratulations!"

"Bob": "Yes. We are expecting a little girl in a few weeks. We have read so much and taken four classes. I even took the Father Boot Camp course last week. We are excited for this breastfeeding class so we can be even more ready for the baby! "

Ready for their future daughter... now that was an understatement coming from Type-A First-Kiss Boy. You'll see why:

Some background---- I've known "Bob" since birth. Our families attended the same church for the first 20 plus years of my life. During that time, "Bob" and I were in Sunday School and youth group together. What stood out most about him, as I thought back, was his fierce competitive nature.

From bible sword drills to other games, he was always the most competitive guy participating. He broke a girl's collarbone playing ultimate frisbee, only weeks before her wedding. I mean, come on! It's church fun, but not kill-or-be-killed! ( I do know he felt really bad about it though!)

Let's just say that nothing has really changed with regard to "Bob's" competitiveness.  Chris and I sat in the back of the breastfeeding class and watched as his hand was ALWAYS the first to shoot up to answer a question or to correct the breastfeeding instructor. Seriously?!? She is the licensed lactation consultant!

I know that I am competitive too. I am not denying that. In fact, as we walked out to the parking lot after class, Chris says:

"Can you imagine if you'd married "Bob"! Your kid would annihilate everyone in every game or activity. He or she would have no friends because they would be too intense. Seriously. It is good you married a low-key, pleasant-natured person like me."

Ha. Ha. Yes, Chris Knipe. You're right.

All in all, it was a comical night. From watching videos about nipple confusion and engorged breasts, to seeing my first kiss, I am once again reminded that God does indeed have a sense of humor....How can you not laugh at that? Chris actually  reprimanded me several times for laughing too hard at a "formal class" that couples paid to attend. Formal? If I learned anything it is that there is nothing formal about breastfeeding!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pillows, pillows, everywhere!

My stomach is getting bigger. No shock there. As a result, I really can only sleep on my sides. My FAVORITE* sleeping position is sleeping on my stomach, but clearly that is out of the question at this point. So, each night, I put a pillow between my legs (to help relieve the pressure on my knees) and a pillow under my stomach on whichever side I am sleeping. Then, of course, there are the two pillows that my head rests upon. So four pillows total-- not too shabby.

This pillow process has been going on for about the last month. I am used to it; apparently, Chris is not.

Two nights ago, I woke up to go to the bathroom (I'm usually averaging about three trips per night). I got back into bed, did the meticulous pillow placement, and started to drift off when, all of the the sudden, Chris jolts, sitting straight up in bed. He grabs one of my four pillows and says, "Seriously! I can't handle this! I am being attacked by these pillows! Everywhere! Pillows!"

I can't even utter a word in retort before he lays down and falls completely back to sleep! 

The next morning, I approached him about the outburst. He had no recollection of this incident. Apparently, subconsciously, he hates the excess pillows in our bed.

*Sidenote: A few weeks ago, Chris and I went to the beach for a few days. By far the most romantic things he did for me was dig a hole in the sand for me so I could take a nap ON MY STOMACH. Bliss. Pure bliss.