Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 11)

After a many week absence, I've finally found the time to do a "7 Quick Takes Friday"!

1.  I’m anxious to see “Of Gods and Men” now that it’s being released to more theatres across the county and I’ve been coming across it more often on the internet.  I’ll be in Colorado next week, and hope my best friend will be game to see it with me, since it’s already playing in Boulder.  Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until April 8 to see it in Indianapolis.

2.  I was very surprised to learn today that I’m 4½ weeks pregnant instead of 2½ weeks like I'd thought. I assumed pregnancy was dated starting at conception (and since we use NFP, I can pin conception down exactly), but it seems that at conception I was already two weeks pregnant. I guess that betrays just how naïve I am about pregnancy and babies - I’ve got a lot to learn!  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but hey, I don’t really care how my pregnancy is dated, as long as I have a basic idea of when the due date is (Nov. 27th according to online “due date calculators”) and how developed my little baby bean is.

3.  My husband and I are not ready to tell our families that we are pregnant for two reasons: (1) If we suffer a miscarriage, we don’t want to suffer it publicly.  (Well, that and we'd like a little time before we start getting advice).  Yes, we our family would be loving and supportive, but if we tell our family, I KNOW they would just “have to tell” extended family, friends, the woman at the grocery store, etc., etc., etc.  You know how it goes.  And (2) We are wimps.  Both of our parents were not too happy about us getting married before David was out of school because they were afraid of us “accidentally” getting pregnant.  It would never even occur to them that we would purposely get pregnant, because babies shouldn’t come until after he graduates, gets a job, I start a teaching career, we buy a house, etc., etc., etc.  Of course, they’ll be excited about a grandchild, but not until they’ve let us know that they don’t approve of the timing (I still have a hard time handling my parents’ “we’re disappointed in you” look!).

4.  I already warned my mom when we visited in December that we were trying to get pregnant because I knew she would assume it was an accident when we told her we were pregnant.  She has been trying to convince me since we got engaged that there is nothing wrong with birth control and that NFP doesn’t work (“Just look at all the large families at Mass!”).  I know she would assume it was an accident even if we told her we’d been trying, because she’d think I just said that because I wouldn’t want to admit that I was wrong and that NFP didn’t work.  She was NOT happy when I told her our plans, but I do hope that helped her prepare for our announcement, because she knows that I’m strong-willed and I always get what I want once I make up my mind.  And to be honest, she won’t be as upset about me being pregnant as she’ll be about me being pregnant while living far away.  She has made it known to me many times that she will be very angry with me if she is not living near her grandbabies.

5.  Enough about pregnancy.  I really don’t want my blog to be all about pregnancy and the baby.  Although, I’m sure that it will pop up quite a bit because, let’s face it, we all write about what we know, and that’s my reality right now.  I’ve had another post about my word of the year, obedience, sitting around, half finished, for about two months now, but lets just say obedience isn’t my strong suit (hence why I picked it) so I’ve been avoiding thinking about it.

6.  When we visited Raleigh last week, we toured apartment building after apartment building.  I’ve never had to apartment hunt before (I lived in a duplex my parents owned during college and my husband picked out our apartment before we got married).  I feel like I’m growing up finally - choosing apartments and having babies and all!

7.  My husband is staying home next week to work on his preliminary exam while I head to Colorado.  It will be the first time we’ve been apart since we’ve been married and it’s almost an entire week!  I don’t know how I’m going to fall asleep without cuddling with him!  

Don't forget, check out the many more "Quick Takes" at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jesus was right, being first isn't always the best idea.

Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly what he meant when he said, "So the last shall be first, and the first last" (Matthew 20:16), but I am the first of my close friends to get married (and at the current moment, still the only married one) and I am only the second to get pregnant (my only close friend with a child has an almost 5-year-old, so she's a little rusty in the pregnancy/baby department as it is).  I really wish that I had friends I could look to advice about marriage and pregnancy right now.  Not that we're having problems, it would just be nice to discuss.  And, as I've mentioned before (ad nauseum) I wish I had some friends that shared my Catholic views on marriage, parenting, life in general.  Not to mention a newlywed, pregnant, Catholic friend... that would be heavenly!  I really feel alone in all this, especially since my mom and grandma don't live nearby to help me through my first pregnancy.  My mom herself is quite rusty at the whole pregnancy/baby thing since my little brother just turned 19, but what is it about finding out that you are an expectant mommy that makes you want your own mommy?

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining... I'm not!  This baby is an incredible blessing!  Once my husband and I decided that there were no "grave reasons" in our marriage that would necessitate postponing pregnancy, we completely gave the decision over to God.  Since He has decided that now is the time for us to have a baby, I know that He thinks we are able to work through an out-of-state move, financial uncertainty and anything else that might occur during this pregnancy.  After all, someone does need to be first and I take comfort knowing that I'll be there to help my friends when they get to the marriage and children part of their lives.  I don't like not knowing what to do or say to help a friend, so maybe this is a blessing.  And, of course, my friends will support me in every way they can, even if they haven't been there themselves.  Not to mention the great blogging community I have to rely on for advice!

But I am wondering... has anyone else been in the same boat I'm in (experiencing your first pregnancy away from a support system, being "the first" in your group to get married/have kids, etc.)?  If so, did you find anything specific helped?  If nothing else, any suggestions about pregnancy books that might help me out?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lenten Surprise

I haven’t blogged in a while and although I’ve missed it, I haven’t really wanted to write because I’m quite enjoying the solemnity of Lent.  Much has happened since Lent started that I would like to write about, including my 24th birthday and a trip to our soon-to-be new home, Raleigh.  But these topics will have to wait until a later date because there is another, more important reason that I am breaking my Lenten silence: I’m expecting! 

I took a pregnancy test yesterday after I got home from work.  I took it not because I suspected I was pregnant, but because it was about as soon as I could find out if I indeed was.  I sat staring at the two little pink lines, imagining grandiose ways of telling my husband (including a cake that said “Congratulations Daddy”) before I promptly picked up the phone, called him at his office and blurted out the news.  We are, of course, elated but we decided we are going to wait a few months before telling our friends and family.  It’s nice to have our “little secret” that we can privately cherish until it becomes a little more obvious.  I will admit though that with a trip to visit family next week, I will have a hard time not blurting it out!  That’s where this post comes in, at least I get the chance to tell someone, it’s so hard to contain the joy of a new life inside of me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Did I Miss Something?

This weekend, I went to lunch with some of the wives/fiancées of grad students that my husband goes to school with.  I had a wonderful time, especially since I have rarely had the opportunity for “girl time” since I’ve moved here, however, one particular conversation made me very uncomfortable.  The two that are currently engaged were complaining about their parents’ being old-fashioned.  “Being old-fashioned” meant that their parents didn’t approve of them living with their significant others before marriage and that they wouldn’t allow them to stay in the same bedroom when they visited home with their fiancés.  Several times, they exclaimed things like, “Don’t they know it’s 2011, for goodness sakes!  It’s not realistic to expect us to wait until we are married.” 

Don’t get me wrong, I really like these women, but the conversation made me uncomfortable and I was noticeably silent during the entire conversation (and so was the other married woman there).  I could tell that they were expecting the two of us to chime in and join them in ridiculing these “old-fashioned” expectations, but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t because I too am “old-fashioned”.  My husband and I did wait to live together until we were married.  We did wait to have sex until we were married.  It was difficult, but by no means was it unrealistic.  What made the conversation even more awkward was that these women are self-avowed (and active) Christians, and I know that their respective faiths to do not condone pre-marital sex.  During several of the other conversations we had throughout lunch, they made it clear that they disapprove of various sinful behaviors.  Therefore, it seemed that they think pre-marital sex is no longer a sinful behavior and that their churches have it all wrong.  Since the Bible is very clear on its stance on premarital or extramarital affairs, I can’t understand how they can come to this reasoning. 

(While listening to this conversation, it also reminded me about a recent blog post that Matthew Warner wrote about the snobbishness of the modern generation, who believes that they are infinitely more enlightened than past generations.  But that is a different subject altogether.)

I, of course, struggle with sinful behaviors.  However, I acknowledge that those behaviors are sinful and I do not ridicule others who disapprove of my sins.  I actively strive toward ridding my life of sin, although I know I fall short.  When my parents disapprove of my actions, I take a long, hard look and them and try to determine why exactly they disapprove.  In 99% of the cases, my parents were right to disapprove of my behavior and it was out of love that they pointed out the error of my ways. 

While my husband and I waited to have sex until we were married, I engaged in premarital sex with a previous boyfriend.  I knew what I was doing was a sin, and I did it anyway.  My parents didn’t approve of our relationship (and believe me, that was not the only reason!), but I didn’t mock them for doing so.  I knew their admonishment came out of love, I knew they were right, but I chose to ignore it.  I knew what my faith taught regarding premarital sex and I agreed with it whole-heartedly, I just chose not to follow it.  Had anyone asked me at the time, I would have told them without a doubt in my mind that premarital sex was wrong, and I would have cautioned other young women against it.  I admit that this was very hypocritical and I’m not just saying that in hindsight, I knew it at the time too.  But like many people who continuously struggle with the same sin, the sin had such a hold on me that I couldn’t break away from it.  The relationship was also very abusive verbally, emotionally, and a few times even physically.  Had my parents left me alone to find my own path, I would probably still be in that relationship, or even worse, I might be dead (my ex-boyfriend later wound up in jail for attempted murder charges on the girlfriend he had after me).  But my parents saw the sinful behavior I was engaging in and they constantly intervened.  If it had not been for them and a few friends who consistently disapproved of the relationship, I would never have left. 

The young women I had lunch with are lucky to have parents that care about them enough to disapprove of their sinful (and therefore, harmful) behavior. 

I’ll admit, as Christians, I hold them to higher standards.  But I believe that premarital sex in not good for anyone, even if you don't have beliefs that conflict with it.  My best friend engages in premarital sex, but does not have any religious or familial expectations regarding chastity.  She expresses sentiments similar to those of these ladies at lunch the other day, but the conversations are not as awkward for a few reasons: (1) she knows where I stand on the issue and (2) we are best friends and therefore close enough that I let her know that I don’t approve.  I don’t judge her, but I do let her know what I think.  For her part, I don’t think she really puts much merit on what I say, but I won’t stop explaining my position, because it’s the way that I am Christ’s witness to her.  I love her and care about her enough to want her to curb the behavior that is inherently hurtful toward her, whether it’s politically correct to do so or not.