And the baby is…

stubborn baby

Yesterday, I had hoped to be able to share with you something gender-based about our baby (called “the Bean”). I have super cute plans for telling the whole world “what the baby is”. (FYI, the Bean is a baby. I’m not pregnant with a puppy.)

Notice that everything is yellow.

The above picture is not very recent. Because most ultrasound pictures make the Bean look like Skeletor. Let’s be real. Ultrasounds pictures are confusing. And because… the entire time we were having our anatomy scan, the Bean had its legs crossed and was sitting on its feet. And would not move its legs when I talked to it. Or poked my belly. Or pouted. (FYI, the baby is totally healthy, and so am I. We are very, very grateful.)

(This is the second time that we’ve tried to figure out the gender. The Bean hasn’t cooperated either time. They’re in no hurry to satisfy my curiosity.)

So, when I got back to work and had a chance to text our families, everyone asked “So, what is it?!”

Stubborn.

Just like me. I am not in control of this tiny person.

The Bean is already a person, with likes and dislikes and a personality.

  • The Bean already likes coffee, as evidenced by the wiggles I feel after I drink my allotted 8 ounces a day.
  • The Bean likes cold water, and when I bounce around in the pool.
  • The Bean likes bluegrass music, and kicks me when I turn it off because he or she just can’t get enough.
  • The Bean loves their Daddy (maybe his name will also be Daddy-Man in addition to Husband-Man), and the silly songs he sings.
  • The Bean hates it when I get upset, and let’s me know that I am making their house uncomfortable and that I need to calm down.

God already has big plans for the Bean; bigger and grander than mine. God knows the hairs on the Bean’s little head, and exactly who He has created them to be. And I’m blessed beyond measure to be growing this human. I’m blessed beyond measure to already be this little Bean’s Momma, and to get to see the Lord work through a tiny life. (Even if I don’t like if that life is a girl-life or a boy-life.)

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhorthose who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
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Kind

Oh, my friends.

We all need a hug.

Why?

Because, collectively, we are terrible at being kind. And it’s a particular sort of kindness that we lack. We are not kind to ourselves. We work so hard to have grace with the children in our lives. We work so diligently to have grace with our spouses, loved ones, coworkers, friends. We pray for grace and kindness with pets, with inanimate objects.

But when I’m dealing with myself? I have less than zero grace.

Last week, I almost caused a car accident. I cringe as I think about it. We just moved, and the entrance to our new house is tricky to navigate. If you time your turn wrong and can’t see the four way stop not twenty feet ahead of the left hand turn, you can easily pull out in front of someone else. Which is exactly what I did. And instead of speeding up to get out of their way, I stopped and honked my horn. I have no earthly idea why I did this. But I did. And I have beat myself up about the incident time and time again. Because in my head, I should know better. I almost hurt my car. I almost hurt myself and someone else. I almost almost almost almost. And I feel ashamed.

I am even less kind to my body. I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant, and my middle is growing. I have turned into a teenage boy on the hunger scale. And I see myself gaining weight. And it’s so hard to accept that gaining weight is a good thing in this context. Because in my mind, it’s always been a bad thing. I already have stretch marks. I have this fun hip pain at the end of every day that keeps me from unpacking as much as I want to. I cry all the time, even more than I did before. And I expect myself to not need any extra rest. I expect myself to have a super energetic pregnancy. My expectations are unrealistic, and I am holding myself to a standard that I cannot and should not be able to achieve.

The other day, an unsuspecting friend asked me how I was doing. And she got an earful (via text) about how dumb I was being because I’m emotional, I’m not handling things well, and so on. And she was quick to point out how many times I used the word “dumb” in reference to myself. And then this lovely friend told me “This is normal. You’re pregnant. You’re doing a good job.” And I just about cried. (Lie; I actually in-real-life cried.) She had kindness for me when I had none for myself. And I want to pass that nudge along to you.

You’re not perfect. You’re not supposed to be perfect. God created you, and knows all of your flaws. He’s not surprised when you mess up. He’s not surprised when you don’t do well. Now, that’s not license to stop trying. But it is license to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, kindness is asking for help or encouragement. Sometimes, kindness to yourself is accepting a failure, dusting yourself off, and trying again. And sometimes kindness is giving yourself permission to take a break and rest. Sometimes, kindness is working to accept who you are and where you are in life.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV).

Praise God for our failures and weakness. Praise God for His grace and kindness.

Be kind to yourself when…

  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re a momma
  • your heart struggles with wanting to become a momma
  • your heart struggles with not wanting to be a momma
  • your children ate sugary cereal for breakfast because that’s what’s in your house
  • your husband ate Ramen noodles for dinner (again) because you didn’t cook anything
  • you need a nap
  • you lack patience
  • you make a mistake
  • you don’t measure up to someone else’s standard of “beauty”
  • you don’t measure up to your own unrealistic standards of “beauty”
  • you’re only human

be kind to yourself

How do you need to show yourself kindness?

Let’s start here:

Dear self:

Please, be kind to me. Work to show me as much grace as you work to show others. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, and I deserve kindness.

Love,

Me

“Home”, whatever that means

“Home” is a funny concept.

“Home” to me for years and years had been Momma and Daddy’s ranch on a basement with the big front window, big yard, and layout that I can walk with my eyes closed (except when Momma moves the furniture). “Home” was a permanent, immovable building that still houses my childhood memories.

I’ve been living in my small town for about… eight years now (wow). I came here for college, and spent those four years feeling like I was going “home” every time I passed a certain exit on the interstate on the way to Momma and Daddy’s. Even after I got married, this little town didn’t feel like “home”. It felt like a temporary place, because I was sure that we would move closer to my family before we had kids. (Definition of irony: in which Carla decides that she will move north before she has kids, and is now pregnant and just bought a house 1.5-2 hours away from her Mom and Dad’s house.) The first time it felt like I was coming “home” when we got back into out little town from visiting family was about a year ago, and I was taken by complete surprise.

We just finished buying a house. Which is one of the (many) reasons that I haven’t been here (in the online world) quite as much as I’d like. Packing up the apartment that we’ve been renting for almost four years threw off my introvert’s equilibrium so much, and actually moving into the new house and living among the boxes, granted, in a larger space, has been just as upsetting to my false sense of security in “home”. I gain a sense of security from having my environment in order. And there has been no order in my “home” environment for the past month. It’s not likely to return for some time.

Also, did you know that I’m having a baby? Have you moved when you were pregnant? I’m not very far along, but I’ve been slowed by the symptoms of my pregnancy. I’ve had to stop working every two hours to put my feet up. I haven’t been able to lift boxes. I haven’t been moving as quickly as I’m used to. I’ve gotten insanely hangry and have needed naps like a toddler. So the process of moving and now unpacking has been unsettling in a whole new way.

Our new house is beautiful. It’s big enough for us to grow into, it’s in a lovely neighborhood, and it feels like a little oasis with trees and grass outside of the windows instead of concrete and a few thousand neighbors.

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This is my backyard. *sigh* Isn't it #lovely?

A post shared by Carla Patton (@carlampatton) on

But it doesn’t have the feeling of “home” when I walk in the door yet. I know that feeling will come with time, but for now, I don’t have a “home” in the sense that I’ve known it for so many years. I have to think about my route to and from work. I have to remind myself of where I am when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

And instead of looking at God and saying “Thank You for this wonderful adventure!” my default has been “…”. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I get mad at God, and I ignore Him. Because I’m mad in a four-year-old way that my inner sense of “home” has been thrown off. I’m mad that I’m tired and that my possessions are all jumbled up and strewn all over a new house. I don’t feel comfortable, so it makes total sense for me to ignore Him and not seek my rest in Him. (Major sarcasm.) Foolish, foolish Carla. And have I rewritten this post a million times to make it look like I’m doing everything right and I’m just a victim of circumstances? Yup. But, I choose to share my mess with you. Because I don’t want to lie to you here. I don’t want to lie to myself or God either.

May you (I) find “home” in Christ. May you (I) find “home” with your family and church family. May you (I) find “home” with your spouse and loved ones. May you (I) find “home” in your chaos, and remember that God is the God of a brilliant mess, made brilliant because it’s been made in His image.

I’m pregnant. And it’s confusing.

Husband-Man and I are expecting our first baby. We’re thrilled, and I’ve felt every since emotion that  knew existed and more since I found out on Valentine’s Day this year.

This is new territory for me. This is terrifying territory, to be honest.

Brave

I’m elated. I’ve wanted this for as long as I knew what a “mom” was. I have longed and wept for this. I have prayed for it and prayed for it.

I’m scared. I don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of raising a child. I don’t know if I can get up in the night with a tiny human and be one-half of their parents. I still feel sixteen inside. How can I adequately love and train a little?

I’m hesitant. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why did God let me get pregnant? Does He really know what He’s doing? I mean, sometimes I forget to brush my own teeth. And to feed my fish.

I’m selfish. My body has already started to change. Several sweet friends have asked if I have a “bump” yet. Up until this past weekend, it’s been a pudge. Pure and simple. I’ve just looked like I’ve eaten too many burgers. (Burgers sound really good right now.) And I’m embarrassed. Today, maybe it looks like there’s a baby in there instead of just too much food. But I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s difficult to transition to a place where mentally gaining weight isn’t a negative thing.

I’m resentful that I am not the only inhabitant of my body anymore. It’s very difficult to wrap my mind around. I’m an introvert. And I’m not alone. I have a human inside of me that is using my nutrients and my blood and my body as its home. That kind of weirds me out to be honest.

I feel guilty. I know so many people so struggle to conceive or who have lost their little ones. Why me? How can I hold so much excitement and joy inside coupled with such grief for others? I’m ashamed that I have any negative emotions. Deeply ashamed.

I’m tired. Until a few weeks ago, I was bone-weary. I was as tired as I was when my gallbladder stopped working entirely. I didn’t think I could make it through a work week, much less nine months. Thankfully, I’ve had a little bit more energy recently.

I’m shocked. I’m shocked that not all of the emotions that I’ve carried with me are positive. I’m embarrassed that I’ve felt negative and confusing emotions instead of floating around on a happy “pregnancy cloud” that I always imagined that I would live on while pregnant.

I don’t know if I can physically do this again, and I’m only 1/3 of the way done. For the first three months, I thought for sure that I would die before I felt any better. As I alluded to above, I had gallbladder issues about three years ago and I had mine removed, and the first two months of my pregnancy were plagued by gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, lack of sleep because of pain in my guts, and nausea. And I work full time. How do women do this when they have other children to take care of? For over a month, I didn’t work a full work week because I woke up feeling very poorly by the time the middle of the week came around.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s my mess. It’s my heart. I feel unsure and excited and I don’t want to hide it, because that’s lying.

Are you surprised that I have had so many struggles with my emotions about something that I longed for for so long? Me too. But I’m not going to lie to you. I’m pretty sure that if I feel this, someone else does too. Maybe more than someone else.

I choose to trust God that He knows what He’s doing. I mean, from what we know, He chose a single teenager to raise His son. He knows what He’s doing. And He’s big enough to handle my mess. And He’s big enough to handle yours. Even if it’s unexpected. And even if it’s a complicated package of emotions that you never expected.