Week 26: Gratefulness

I have a lot to be grateful for.  It’s something I want to remember, but I so easily forget.  I’m thankful for my husband, my developing baby, my family and friends, the lessons I’ve learned to get to where I am now.

This one's for you Blueberry!

While I was painting shelves and molding for our office, a tedious yet rewarding job if you’ve never done it, I had a lot of time to think.  I have a tendency to have my most enlightening moments while doing tedious things.  Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, amongst many other spiritual writers have expressed how these types of activities can allow for real meditation, a pause to appreciate the world.

Usually I start out ruminating on the things that I’m bothered by.  Sometimes that’s where I stay.  But on Wednesday, a G.K. Chesterton quote I read in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben filtered its way into my head.  “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”  In my case, this led to me thinking about how it is much harder to remember and appreciate the good things, the light things.  It is so much easier to focus on the heavy.

I have been working on using this as my focus all week.  I am having a tough go of it.  I’m happy to say, though, that a little bit of remembering to be grateful goes a long way.

Sweets have always been one of my downfalls.  In this pregnancy, I crave particular sorts of candy.  Not chocolate, surprisingly.  Rather, I want Sour Patch Kids, Red Vines, and cinnamon bears, anything that is sugary and not creamy.  A while ago, when I first went to visit J at his workplace, I discovered their candy bar.  They have a serious amount of many of the candies you might see in the line at the supermarket sitting out for anyone to take.  I loaded up on all of my favorites like a kid.  Seriously, I think that if you had seen my face, there was a gleeful grin spread from ear to ear as I took a package of this and a handful of that and debated whether to take more.

On Tuesday, I had a little meltdown.  My current career status and impending motherhood have thrown me for a loop emotionally, and I couldn’t bear it, so I poured my heart and tears out on J’s shoulders.  On Wednesday, after my realization, J walked in with a grin on his face.   He had brought me a big fat wad of Sour Patch Kids!!!

As the week has worn on, other things have gotten me down.  But whenever I think about how J brought me such a sweet little gift, I feel a gush of gratefulness, and it washes some of the other not so great feelings away.

I have other wonderful things to be thankful for.  Blueberry is doing well.  We went to the doctor for the last check up of the second trimester.  My OB/GYN practice is truly amazing.  I sat and chatted with the doctor I hope delivers my baby for a while about my concerns and my questions, which led to a discussion about a book that I’m reading, called Get Me Out:  A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein, MD.

I had told her that I was taking a Bradley method course, rather than Lamaze.  Apparently, Dr. Bradley lived in a spooky haunted like house wherever she grew up.  I mentioned that I found it interesting that Epstein discusses Lamaze but not Bradley in her book, especially since the Bradley method can be seen as a little chauvinist, at least according to my doctor.  Controversy always makes good journalism, so it’s surprising to not find this particular possibly controversial topic in Get Me Out.

Had I known that the Bradley method was considered chauvinist, I would never have signed up.  However, now it is an opportunity for me to learn about and report what it’s like.  My doctor wondered if something has changed in the course since more women seem to be signing up for it.  I am on a mission to find out starting next Tuesday.

Other things to be grateful for:

-The doctor could not stop raving about the nurses at the hospital that I’ll be delivering at.  Supposedly they’re patient, kind, and experts at helping to deliver babies.

– We meet our doulas, or birth coaches, this Sunday.  I’m hoping that they’ll help me with some of the stress of anticipating labor…I’m definitely starting to get nervous about it.

-Every time I tell a doctor I’ve run a marathon, the doctor then says that I’ll probably have the kind of birth experience I want.  Balancing hope and realism is tough when people are so positive!

-I made it to the pool twice this week.

-A puppy who is learning to be a well mannered dog.

-The people who read this!

My hope with practicing gratefulness, one of my goals for the rest of this month, is that I will appreciate my life and find more happiness in it.  Collette said, “What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”  Realizing it now is better than later.  So here goes.  To a month of gratefulness!

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