Ian and I found out I was pregnant on the evening of February 20th this year. I remember that night very vividly, and probably always will. But I remember thinking then and for the first good chunk of my pregnancy that it would feel like forever before I got here, to this point. On Sunday I will be entering my 9th month. It will be just four(ish) weeks until we meet our girl. Now that I am here, it seems like it came so fast. Time is funny that way.
This week is my last official week of work before I start maternity leave. When I was about half way or more through being pregnant, I was starting to get anxious about what time away from work would look like. Erinn and I had a meeting and came up with a plan that very much eased my mind. The first week of October would be a regular work week, and the second week of October would be a sort of “phasing out”. This would be a time for me to come late and leave early, not attend any meetings, not bring my keys… just to take the time to sit and be with people without worrying about work duties. Again, it seemed like so far away, and yet here we are.
As I have written about a few times in this space before, I have been so cared for by my community. Especially in the last month or so when pregnancy has started to get the best of me, they hold me tight and make sure I am okay. I will be forever grateful for their loving care. This Monday I took some time after lunch to sit with a couple of my friends. The room had cleared out pretty fast this day, so it was just the four of us at a table. We were chatting about Rice Krispie squares of all things, and I was writing out a recipe for my friend Jane*. Suddenly, she said that she wanted to pray for me. Jane is wise and brave and sweet and knowing. She put her hand on my arm and the two others followed suit. Jane often prays in a quiet, calm voice. As she prayed over me and my baby, my other friend at the table prayed at the same time in tongues as he often does. I listened and was so moved by their sudden willingness to pray over me. This is my community. They know Jesus, and they know how to love really well. I am so grateful to learn from them everyday.
This whole week has felt pretty weird to be honest. I know each day is my “last” of this and “last” of that for a long while, but it feels like I will always remain in this time of just being pregnant and working the same as always (I know people say that near the end of pregnancy it feels like it just lasts forever even when you’re so ready to be done!). Even last week at our staff retreat, it was odd in some ways to be planning ahead, for things that I won’t necessarily be around for. I know I will be back eventually and that I will visit, etc. But a year is a long time. I know there will be conversations had without me, that my participation will be from afar, that people and things will ebb and flow and change as they do and should. I just hope and pray that I can remain both here and there – here at home with my baby soaking up time and learning how to be a parent, and there at the Dale with my community, my people, my team. I will miss them deeply.
This has been such a year. Being pregnant has been a journey… in confidence in my body and bonding with this being that is so close, yet so far. I have learned at work to be more confident in a variety of ways, in my role at the Dale and fundraising to name a few. Ian and I are still learning how to be together and what it means to love each other well as husband and wife – something that takes a lot of work and time and effort. And a lot of my friends have passed away… too many. Wally. Keith. Dallas. Paul. Sharky. James. Rondine. Dane. Robin. And sadly there have been so many that I’m looking at the list wondering if I missed anyone. They deserve to be named and remembered. I know a year is a long time and in the next one that I will be away from work there are more that could be added to this list. I pray for a break from the grief and for peace for my communities that have lost far too many.
What I am trying to say is that a year is a long time. In this year I have learned so much about myself and have grown in my capacity at work. And in the next year I will learn new things as a mother of a daughter who I cannot wait to meet. I will be taking a break from this space after this post for a while until the next time when I introduce you to our baby (!). I am grateful for all those who have tuned in week after week, who have read my words from the heart, who’ve shared my posts, who’ve commented and prayed and loved me. Thank you. This is not a goodbye! It’s just see you soon. I pray that you will be well.
As always, peace to you.
I will continue in my fundraising efforts in my leave from work, if you would like to join me financially on my ministry journey. I fundraise all of my salary in order to be able to work at The Dale. If you would like more information about this, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions can be made one time via cheque, cash or through CanadaHelps, or monthly through PAR.