"Stuffing" by Susan
I was always the lucky one. My pregnancies were never hard, I never required bedrest, and I never experienced anything more serious than heartburn. I have to believe that God simply protected naieve me in Siberia from everything that could go wrong.
Not to say that pregnancy was easy, either, however. I went to Russia for the first time in 1994 four months pregnant with my son Peter. We lived in a tiny two room apartment, without ventilation, and every day that summer I sat in front of the fan, just trying to survive the Siberian heat (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but I'm serious!) I was, however, determined not to give into depression, or self-pity. I was a tough Minnesota chick, and I would survive.
My only indulgence was a cool bath. However, the cold water was ice, and the hot water had been shut off for the summer. If I wanted a bath, I had to heat the water for eight hours with an electric heating coil (which went against all my basic high school physics).
One day, at the height of the August heat, I had spent the day heating a bath, checking it for the right temperature, anticipating how it might feel to submerge my now nine month pregnant body in water. My two toddlers had worn me to the bone, and Andrew was out doing Bible Studies or something. I got the kids in bed, and had ascertained that the water had reached the perfect not-too-hot, not ice cold temperature. I unplugged the heating element, and went to my room to grab my bathrobe. We'd only been in Russia for six months, but it had been about the longest six months of my life as I learned the language, how to shop for food, and trying to keep my children from getting dysentery. I longed for these quiet times.
I returned to the bathroom just in time to see the last of my water swirl down the drain. I had somehow pulled the plug when I removed the heating element.
My husband found me a half hour later, sobbing. It was one of the only times I cried that first year in Russia.
Now, thirteen years later, I look at that moment, and can find the sad humor in it. And, as I wrote that scene (or a variation of it) in my newest book, Chill Out, Josey, it brought me back to the challenges, and joys of being pregnant. It reminded me that it was okay to feel overwhelmed. It was okay to need quiet moments, okay to say, time out! We don't always have to be so strong. Sometimes, we need a good cry.
Or, a good laugh.
It also reminded me that God was there, with me, during my pregnancies, to remind me that in all my moments, good and bad, through the tears, and the laughter, He could sustain me. It's a theme I put right back in the book. A theme I hold onto today.
I hope you enjoy Chill Out, Josey! I know I laughed, in between the tears.
May you have a time-out moment during this busy season. And may you know God's sustaining grace today.