22 June 2015

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

...then comes:

"Are you going to try to have kids once you're married?"
"We're taking bets."
"How was last (the wedding) night?" -nudge-
"Are you pregnant yet?"
"You might be pregnant next time I see you!"
"What if we had kids at the same time?!"

These comments and questions are real quotations from friends and family before, during and after the wedding day. These comments, while well-meant by those who uttered them, can be a bit much for someone like me: an over-thinking, over-stressing, crazy person. I am someone whose own inner monologue carries more pressure than several vocal admonitions of others. It is such that the words of a curious friend can, when coupled with my own thoughts, start to sound like a command or expectation. What once was a lighthearted question becomes a flurry of discordant thoughts: when? now? should I be? is it bad if I'm not? what if I'm not? what if I can't yet?

It is a strange thing to be on this side of marriage, where the next big question is: "When are you having kids?" I almost miss questions about how much I have left to do to prepare for the wedding day. I am more convinced, as many blog posts I read suggested, that such a question can be incredibly personal. At times, I want to respond, "When are you having more children? How are your married nights? Are you having trouble losing those last five pounds? Did you get your skin cancer situation checked out?" Maybe those questions could come from a place of curiosity or genuine care, but not every well-meaning question sounds well-meaning.

Of course, there is a part of me which understands: people are simply excited. They want goodness, fruitfulness and blessings for you. That is appreciated, naturally. It means a lot to have the support of others and to know that they want good things for me. I share their same questions: when? I would love to know that, myself. I don't know, but if you know, do tell.

But another part, the pessimistic side of me, says that people are incredibly nosy. As an outsider (of the marriage looked in upon), one cannot know what a particular couple's particular situation is at a particular time. One cannot know whether a couple is holding off on having children for a suitably serious reason, trying desperately but having no success or standing somewhere between those endpoints. I am not one of those women who has discovered that she has fertility problems. Thanks be to God! I am not in one of those couples who have serious medical conditions or financial instability. Thanks be to God! I am a month into marriage and have no great distress. Thanks be to God!

So if things are going so well, what's my deal? Well, multiple people have told me to relax, chill, enjoy what is happening now. That is something that I have to change about myself overall: I always want to know what comes next, to the point of often taking the present for granted. So "sit yourself down and take a moment" advice is probably smart. Thank you, friends. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to unnecessary stress. No one asks more questions about when I should be having children, if now is a good time, how I will know it is a good time, whether I am healthy enough, whether I am capable enough, whether I will actually be a good mother, how I will do at being pregnant, how many we should have (etc) than I do. For every question a friend has, I have five. Do you think things like acknowledging Mary as the Mother of God, finding out another friend is pregnant, teaching young children at work or yesterday being Father's Day don't make me think of our future? Ha. Professional over-thinker here.

All these thoughts have been brewing in my head and were in mind when I clicked onto a Fountains of Carrots podcast. Haley (Carrots for Michaelmas) and Christy (Fountains of Home) started a podcast last year and it is worth a listen if you haven't heard any of them yet. They talk about Catholicism, wife/motherhood, blogging, books, television shows, social media... The list goes on. I tuned in to a podcast in which they answered listener questions. One of the questions dealt with approaching motherhood when you don't know if you're ready (I swear I didn't ask this question). "Perfect!" I thought, and listened to almost all of the podcast before they addressed that question (isn't that always what happens?). They said (roughly), "Well, this is your vocation. When it was your vocation to marry, becoming a mother was part of that." Then Haley said something that really resonated with me after: "You don't have to be scared."

Wait, what? I don't have to be scared? I don't have to be an over-thinking, over-stressing, constantly questioning lunatic? I can trust that God is in control, that everything happens according to His will, that He will not abandon me, that He has given me outstanding models of motherhood in the saints and especially in the Blessed Virgin? How revolutionary! How great! How I feel like banging my head on the desk for being a silly nitwit!

I don't have to be in control of everything, nor can I be. No matter what happens, God will be in control. Now to take on all the advice of others: I'll be chillin' if you need me.

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