Archive for April, 2010

April 28, 2010

Like a Prayer

A couple of years ago someone mentioned a quote to me that put precisely and simply something that I’d known for a long time: “Prayer doesn’t change the situation, it changes you” . . . Or something like that.  I was told it came from Grams on an episode of Dawson’s Creek, although no amount of Googling has confirmed that detail quite yet.

Wherever they came from, in my experience these words have proven entirely true.   Whether my petitions are answered with a “yes” or a “no,” more often than not I realize that things I pray about are not as difficult or troubling as I’d expected them to be.  Maybe I can let go of an argument a little bit more easily.  Maybe I can talk about something I’ve been thinking about without feeling as nervous.  Even when my prayers have been distracted and fleeting, taking the time to at least try to let go, to trust, to have some kind of hope, has produced a change in my attitude that I can’t explain any other way.

I’m already starting to see this in my fledgling parenthood.  Before I was pregnant, there were times I was thrilled with the idea of starting a family, and others when I was doubtful about my readiness.  I spent months praying about my state of mind, the state of my heart.  Nothing felt like it was going to give, and I was terrified of being ungrateful and disappointed when I learned I was pregnant.  I know these are common feelings and don’t dictate the manner of parenthood, but I hoped and prayed for what I realize now was the grace to respond joyfully.

And despite all my fears, despite the prayers that didn’t seem genuine enough to be acknowledged, you know what?  The instant I realized I was pregnant, the most profound and beautiful peace filled me up completely.  I knew I was ready; I knew this baby needed to be here right now; and I knew he was a boy (that part is yet to be confirmed.  Check in again in five months).

In the time since that moment, I have still had times when I’ve been excited about this next stage and felt that it was absolutely the right thing for us.  And I’ve still had other times filled with doubt and fear.  But I was able to tell myself in that moment back in January that I would hold it for the times when I needed to remember what this was all about, that it was bigger than me, that I am needed in a special way for this child, and that’s a responsibility to be grateful for.  It’s that kind of perspective, that broader vision that is the element of prayer I value most.

I don’t mean to say that prayer is easy or that I’m very good at it.  But if there’s one thing I believe in, as much on good days as on bad ones, it’s prayer.

April 22, 2010

The Greatest Shopping Experience of My Life

A few weeks ago, I had hands-down the GREATEST shopping experience of my life at a little place called Destination Maternity (575 Madison Avenue, 28 East 57th Street,

I still hadn’t told folks at work that I was pregnant and I wanted to be prepared for that inevitable morning when my belly popped and my clothes just didn’t fit anymore.  So after a good deal of online research (read: shopping) I picked a store that seemed to have reasonable prices, was close enough to our apartment, and was open when I was ready to go on a Sunday afternoon (read: more shopping).

It was raining, so rather than walk the ten minutes to the subway and then another couple of minutes once I arrived at my stop, I decided to try out a new bus line.  A magical new bus line.  A bus line that felt like it was made just for me.

I boarded half a block from our apartment and got off across the street from what was about to become my all-time favorite store in the whole wide world. Given, it was the first time I’d been to this store, so it took me a while to realize I was just across the street. But once I figured that out, it blew my mind how direct my trip had been.  I learned later that route back uptown picks passengers up right in front of the store.  This thing isn’t just a bus; it’s a golden chariot.

Once I’m inside, and really whenever I’m shopping alone, I like to keep to myself.  I’ll always tell the first salesperson to greet me that I’m just fine, just looking, and no, I don’t need any help, thank you.  I get in a zone and prefer not to be interrupted.

Now in a maternity store, even if you’re not showing yet, there are some unique questions that could make a girl feel all warm and special, or could quickly remove one from her beloved shopping trance.  In the latter case, the shopper’s initial response may be akin to that of a deer in headlights.

Exhibit A:  Would you like some juice or a bottle of water?

  • First reaction: Won’t I have to pay for it?  That’ll be like four dollars.  Plus, I had juice with breakfast, like I always do.  Gosh, this is like when you’re in a restaurant and they automatically refill your glass without asking, even when there’s still something left, and you didn’t read the menu closely enough to see there are no free refills.  I will not be fooled!
  • Realization: The clientele at this store is constantly hungry and needs to keep sugar levels up.  And this free juice is Tropicana orange—perhaps my favorite juice ever.  Answer next time?  “Juice, please.”

Exhibit B:  Can I set up a fitting room for you?

  • First reaction: Hmm . . . I’m not holding very much, and I kind of prefer to wait until I’m ready to try things on.  It’s not that I mind handing clothes over, or that I am too bothered by the give-us-your-first-name-so-we-can-use-it-even-though-we-don’t-really-know-you thing.  But I do like my space when I go shopping by myself.  This is precisely why I shop by myself.
  • Realization: Again I thought about where I was, and realized that those of us with child will be able to lift less and less over the next few months, so maybe putting things down and getting some help now isn’t such a bad idea.  Good move, sales folks.  You seem to know me better than I know myself right now. . . .

Once I got used to these things, the seventh-month baby bump with Velcro straps in the fitting room wasn’t too much of a stretch.  In fact, the first time I put it on, I teared up a little.  Then I went on to try on four or five different pairs of petite maternity pants (yes, thank goodness, petite!), which all fit me just about perfectly.  I may have teared up again.

At the end of the trip, I wished I hadn’t gone alone.  I found some great jeans and work pants and a cute dress very quickly and easily.  The salespeople were patient and thoughtful.  The sizing was straightforward, and the prices on the Motherhood Maternity side of the store were indeed quite reasonable.  Overall, a great shopping experience.

Oh, and did I mention the free juice?

April 21, 2010


Not even two weeks into blogging, and I’m already behind on my schedule.  I used my “backup” post earlier this week, when a new post rambled on and on and then begged for a few days to sit and rest before I came back to it and whipped it into shape (which still hasn’t happened).  With a busy few nights ahead, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stay entirely on track.  Bummer.

Normally I’d get into this sort of situation via some good ole’-fashioned procrastination.  Fortunately, that’s not the case this time around.  The past few days I have been absolutely exhausted, which I think—I hope!—means that our little Peanut is having a major growth spurt.  (Happily, this also justifies further online maternity shopping when I am too tired to do anything else.)

Case in point:  On Sunday what I expected to be a thirty-minute nap after breakfast turned into four hours of utter disconnect from the world around me.  Last night I fell asleep on my couch at 8:30PM.  Eight thirty.  Post meridian.  Eastern Standard Time.  I looked at my watch mid-doze and was flabbergasted. If it weren’t for the little person growing inside me, I’d say my body was making up for all the times I stayed up past bedtime as a kid (which was pretty often, right, Mom?).

In a couple of ways, I feel like I’m reverting to being more like a child as this baby grows.  I need snacks, I need naps, and sometimes I need to have a good cry.  The only thing left, I guess, is to grab a coloring book next time I’m at the store and do my best to stay outside of the lines.

Seriously, though, these transitions have helped me feel a teensy-tiny bit more confident in accepting the responsibility of being a mother.  For example, especially since the incident in which I realized I was pregnant (more to come on that shortly), I carry a water bottle and a snack with me wherever I go.  Although it hasn’t hit an extreme yet, I have to take more seriously where and when I might next be able to use the restroom.  And as I’ve already mentioned, I am one sleepy lady!  A good night’s rest has never been more important for me, and a series of midday naps has never been more attractive.

I realize that there are greater changes to come, most of which I could never completely prepare for.  But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the ways I’m learning to slow down, take better care of my body, and start to think of someone else first.

Especially before I started showing, I could forget from time to time that I was pregnant.  That’s increasingly less likely these days, courtesy of my ever-growing bump and the blessed enthusiasm of friends and co-workers.  I find myself more and more anxious for this little guy or girl to just be here already (and I’m not even 20 weeks along!), but I’m trying to appreciate this opportunity to gently get used to the idea of someone else being the most important part of my life (besides John, but he already takes good care of himself—and me!).

Maybe it’s because I’ve only experienced the milder effects of pregnancy, but it seems to me that this time is truly a great gift, and great preparation for what’s to come, in many more ways than just physically.

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