Sunday, February 9, 2014

solo parenting, revolutionaries, preparing for birth: randoms from the past few weeks

I made it through two weeks of solo parenting while Chris was away on a film trip in Fiji.  For those of you who solo parent often (or all the time) I'm sure it doesn't seem like that big of a deal but we had literally not spent even a night apart in over two years.  Granted, I had his parents (who had been visiting us for two months over the holidays) stay with me and the kids for the first week and another friend for the second, so I had a lot of support, especially in keeping the house tidy and entertaining the children.  But still.  I'd been most intimidated by the nights - of having one wakeful two year old and a 3 1/2 year old who often would wake once a night as well (expecting his dad to cuddle him back to sleep).  It turns out that I was the one to struggle with sleep with Chris away, but the kids did really well and Saf even did a streak of no nighttime wake-ups which was so nice.  [For those who are interested: We recently moved him to his special 'bed corner' which is a single mattress on the floor in our room.  He loves it, surrounded by his favorite stuffed animals and a soft, new blanket.  In the same room we also have a double bed and a queen bed pushed together which now sleeps Chris, myself and our daughter in different arrangements.  It's a pretty nice set-up at the moment if you're into family bedrooms.]

It was good to spend those days and nights apart, to remember why I want to live side by side with this Canadian friendboy, and to feel capable again.  It was one of those things I didn't think I could do, and for a time it would have been very stressful on our son, but the timing was right.  Still hard, but it was good.  

I wanted to share a few things that have been inspiring me lately.  Here ya go:

I am in the middle of two books right now:  Jesus Feminist - by Sarah Bessey and "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth".

Jesus Feminist Cover

Jesus Feminist has been highly recommended by a few of the blogs I read and for great reason.  Sarah draws you in deeply and quickly with her ability to address sticky theological issues that often divide us with welcome, subversive thought and poetic voice.  I've connected with her personal story shared in the book even more so than I have through her blog (which says a lot!).  She has walked with her whole heart, slowly, through the murkiness of grief and loss and huge questions, grappled with vocation, mothering and women in the church and chosen HOPE over cynicism.  If you'd like to re-imagine what it means to be a woman or re-inspired to delight in yourself as a woman I would say definitely get your hands on a copy.  If you live near me you are welcome to borrow my copy as soon as I'm done!

I'm reading Ina May Gaskin's book to prepare for giving birth again.  I've not had the kind of birth's I would have hoped for and while all the variables will never be in my control, I'd like have some new ideas in my head as labour draws nearer.  Ina May believes very strongly in the role of a woman's psyche during labour to encourage or discourage the natural processes that bring forth a baby.  This is in no way about blaming myself for how my births have gone, but I do want to examine any experiences/fears/doubts that are in my heart and mind that could hinder my ability to be as relaxed and confident as possible.  I feel now that the trauma from my first birth may have definitely played a role in the slow progress (and therefore augmentation under hospital time constraints) of my second birth.  I don't think for a second that reading a book or praying a prayer or any other activity will guarantee the birth I hope for, but I just want to do what I can, in hope.


Krista Tippett's podcast "On Being" is my go-to when the kids are out with their dad and I'm home, likely washing the mountain of dirty dishes that seems to always, always be around.  I especially enjoyed recently her conversation with Walter Brueggemann, one of my favorite scholars whose work I first read in college over a decade ago.  He's such a lovely, intelligent, humble man - the interview here is about an hour, but I especially loved the way he talks about the word mercy from minutes 35 to 38 1/2.  Check out Krista's archives and you will likely eavesdrop on some incredible conversations.


Chris and I watched two fairly intense movies lately.  The first was a documentary on the Egyptian Revolution called The Square.  It really, REALLY helped me to understand what has been happening ( in a city that I LOVE) much more cohesively than I have been able to keep up with reading articles on the BBC website.  And I can't handle how deeply courageous these people are and how well-articulated their passions.  I feel like they put my own understanding of my nation's political situation to shame.  And did I mention they are brave and are willing to be killed for what they know is a process that is much longer than they may even be around to see?  You can watch the trailer here.

And last night we watched Captain Phillips - the story of an American cargo vessel that is attacked by four young Somali men while en route to Kenya.  It's intense (an understatement) and brings up sooooo many questions in my heart about 'redemptive violence' and structural injustice that leads to terrorism and my own primal desire to stay alive no matter the cost.  It's sad to think this is probably most viewers only exposure to Somali people and the complexity of what is happening in that nation. 


Otherwise I've been enjoying my two live-wire kiddos on the outside and well-behaved kiddo on the inside.  This pregnancy (25 weeks) is smooth, minus some back pain here and there, and while I long to meet this little one face to face I'm also very happy we have a few months to go before he or she arrives and turns our world upside down.

We're still doing our best to be good neighbours to the people around us; it's gotten messier and more complicated than a few months ago but I have to believe this is how Kingdom things slowly grow, that our meager attempts at love are better than nothing at all.  We showed our son a dirty needle that was left outside our gate yesterday and explained to him how important it is never to touch something like that.  We disposed of it, the fourth in the past couple of months within 20 metres of our apartment.  The little playground a few steps from our back gate is a great place for our kids to play (always wearing shoes) but it's also a place where people buy and sell and escape.  We want to be present in the neighbourhood and enjoy the goodness here while still keeping our kids as innocent and safe as possible.


I'm curious if you've seen either of the movies I mentioned or have read any of the books?  Or have you ever prepared for a birth in light of previous disappointments and found something especially helpful in the process?  I'd love to hear.  xx

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