Slogging through the Dark Valley

Things have been sadly quiet round here. I know you all know why. I have been feeling the effects of the first trimester: the “morning” sickness that has me gagging all day at the least provocation (Seriously, the air conditioner blowing on me? Why is that a nausea trigger?) But mainly the crushing exhaustion, which has been exacerbated by my morning lark, Anthony, who regularly crawls out of his bed between 4 and 5:30 and crawls into mine where he usually is not content to go back to sleep but instead bothers and badgers me out of my sleep. Even on the rare days when he does sleep in, he’s got my nervous system trained so that I wake up at 4 or 5 anyway and lie in bed unable to get back to sleep, waiting for the shoe to drop.

Dom has heroically been getting up with the little beggar; but usually only after I’m well and thoroughly awake and then I struggle to get back to sleep and to stay asleep with all the morning noises of the children around me. Couple this with Ben, my night owl, who regularly is still up at 9pm and with my own introvert soul, which grabs onto the quiet time after the kids are in bed and demands “just a little more time” to read and write and think before giving into the exhaustion and going to bed. All of these things mean that I have been regularly getting about 6 or 7 hours of sleep at night and very often only a 10 minute nap sitting up in the rocking chair. I am seriously sleep deprived.

And with that has come anxiety and a bad temper. A snappish tongue that lashes out at the children for being children, especially poor Anthony, who is into everything. He doesn’t try to make mischief; but he’s fifteen months old and insatiably curious and testing boundaries like mad.

My house is a messy messy mess and it’s driving me crazy. I don’t mean this to be a complaining post but I do value keeping it real and the fact is that my reality right now is rather messy. While I know for some early pregnancy is a time of joyful hope, for me it has always been a way of the cross as I lay down my own will and follow Christ in carrying a burden that some days feels like too much.

Still, even on the way of the cross there are moments of grace, there are encounters with Simon and with the various women who ease the burden. Dom has been my pillar of strength. It is hard to surrender and admit I can’t do it all, to let (or beg) him to step in and cover some of those tasks. Then there was the day when Anthony took a long nap in the morning before we went out and then fell asleep again on the way home and then woke just as I got Ben down for his nap. I was exhausted and cranky and simply could not see the way to survive until dinner. I was desperate for sleep and yet Anthony had already had his two naps for the day. I threw up my hands and begged God for the grace to get through it somehow. And wouldn’t you know it but Anthony went down for an unheard of third nap! I crept away to the office and fell asleep myself and the girls entertained themselves. And when Ben and Anthony did wake up they entertained them as well. It was nothing short of miraculous.

On one hand this pregnancy has brought about a great deal of surrender as I laid down burdens I wasn’t able to admit I couldn’t carry. On the other hand I still have a very long way to go in daily accepting that my weakness and inability to do all I think I should do are somehow God’s will for me. I have been reading He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek, SJ and that has been the perfect book for me right now. Yes, maybe it is a bit melodramatic to compare my experience with the first trimester to the experience of a priest in the work camps of Siberia; but I think the lessons about finding God’s will in the present moment are extremely apt.

I have so much I want to write about. So many stories and photos I long to share. But I’m too tired. They’ll have to wait.

4 Responses to Slogging through the Dark Valley

  1. Helene June 20, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I’m so glad you were able to post and I’m so sorry for the nausea spells.  I have been missing my fix of the Bettinelli kids so it’s nice to have a big ol’ dose of them.  Thanks!

  2. Owen June 20, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Love the photos of the little people. So much life and joy and just “being.” With our youngest now 20 it all seems so long ago. God bless your clan.

  3. mamanerd June 20, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Grandmom is so happy you posted these, too! thanks so much…. just want to come and hug them more!!

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