With all the talking I’ve been doing with our Domestic Violence awareness team at church lately, I have had plenty of time to think about safety, and what makes a person vulnerable. As much as I am pushing to have people know that violence can happen against men, I realize the reported numbers show a majority of women are the victims of violence. Reported, not real numbers – but even so, at 90%, one must admit that perhaps women might be at a physical disadvantage.
I grew up in a very traditional area – my parents were pretty good about encouraging gender equality and telling me I could do and be whatever I wanted, girl, boy, both, indifferent – I was able to be what I wanted. And all I ever wanted was to be a cute, dainty, girly-girl that did the right things, kept herself neat, was shorter than boys she dated – most boys – and much less, well, “mannish” than I am.
This was highlighted by my spending time with good friends who were tiny, dainty, cuter than heck – or even my sister, though tall, built much more femininely than I. Note the picture above – My good friend, Kristen, is wearing very tall high heels – I’m wearing ballet flats…I look like a jolly green giant instead of Tinkerbell..well not really, but I’m trying to make a point!
I still wish I were daintier and “cuter” as a woman, but luckily for me I was taught that looks aren’t what dictates happiness.
I realized in this training to fight abuse and violence, that I don’t often feel threatened by outside force. I’m really confident walking down a street, and even though I am not in terrific shape (and understatement as now I’m pregnant:) I’ve always felt like if someone really wanted to mess with me, they’d be sorry – I’m strong and not small, and when I need to be I can fight mean!
My vulnerability has always been emotional – I’m somewhat easily bruised by others, even if they don’t intend it. I have been strengthened by maturity, influence of good friends and deeper growth in faith, I’m feeling even confident emotionally.
Where I feel vulnerable today is in regards to others. I want to protect others with all that I can. Specifically now, I want to keep my family safe – especially my little boys. Royce is a bit easier – I can tell when he’s not well, and I know what I can do to help – even if it’s resorting to a trip to the ER to make sure a puffy spot isn’t too much more than a bug bite.
But the little boy in my belly – I have small things to tell me he is ok. He kicks – even though it’s not on a schedule, I know I should feel him at my down times at least, more hopefully – but that’s the most I have. And sometimes he has sleepy days – and I have to understand that.
This poor little boy has been in a mommy who has taken a beating lately. About a month ago, I slipped in a rogue puddle at a local CVS – nothing was broken, but my spirit. I was achy, which is probably normal in pregnancy at this point, but I worried for a long time if everything was ok – was he moving enough, would he have any brain damage – I almost lost my mind waiting for the LNP to find the heartbeat at the next appointment. She did, and he sounds very strong.
I barely had time to get over the scare that caused before a new “thrill” came to pass – our local water supply was compromised by a serious storm that killed power for over 70,000 customers for 4-18 hours. I found out after having drank from the tap all day. They said it was only a precautionary measure that we shouldn’t drink the water, but risk for E-coli was low and we’d know soon. Then they told us symptoms that we may had – I had a few and was immediately sent into a sense of panic. What happens if I had contracted E-coli? Would the baby be ok? Can he survive all the crazy things that seem to be happening during poor little man’s gestation?
What a cheap trick for the universe to play – I’m not afraid for myself, so I’m given intense fear for someone who’s health I have limited control of….and yet feel completely responsible for. I do what is right – limit caffeine, eat well, exercise, don’t do things that may hurt him, and lately it’s felt as if the world is out to get me.
Perhaps the world is trying to prove to me how strong this baby is along with me – perhaps he’ll be born completely healthy and I’ll be able to look back and laugh at all the craziness that occurred while I was pregnant with him.
My prayers will now focus on his health and God’s proving to me the strength that all his creatures have, and even though love and motherhood makes me feel vulnerable, it shows me I’m human and God has given me capacity to love and care – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.