Sunday, February 21, 2010

I think too much

I am working on a new project at work lately which is a bit more complicated than what I used to do, and it requires a lot more brain power than usual. Basically, I have to to think seriously about what to do with each case. So my brain has been getting a lot of exercise lately, and sometimes it goes off on tangents when I am not at work, or on a break. Here is something I thought about the other day that I wanted to share.

I was messing around on facebook, and I found a post where a friend of mine was in the newspaper in Pocatello, so I went to look at the article. On the bottom of the page was links to different news stories, and one of them was about some billboards that seemed to be attacking Mormon beliefs. I read the article, which basically states the billboards are aimed at people who feel like too much is expected of them. Then I read some of the comments, and that's when I got annoyed.

It was the whole "grace versus works" debate all over again. A bunch of people were getting on and making comments about how Mormons don't believe in grace and that they teach us that the only way to get to heaven is to be perfect, and how that doesn't make us Christian.

Now, first of all, there is no grace versus works, not if you read the Bible and try follow all it's teachings. The Bible teaches that we must be saved through grace, but it also teaches that faith without works is dead. So basically, we need both. We should do what we can to follow Christ's example, and then, since we cannot be perfect, Christ makes up the rest. Where is the debate? Just because two different apostles wrote on two different subjects does not mean they disagreed with each other, they were just writing to different audiences, who had different concerns.

Secondly, the LDS church does not teach that we make to heaven solely on our own merit. Our leaders do teach the concept that we need the grace of Jesus to get us there, that he will make up for our shortcomings after all we can do. A very specific teaching that I remember was taught by a video I showed on my mission. I can't find a reference for it online, but I remember the story. I think it was told by Elder Packer.

Basically, it told a parable of a debtor. A young man wanted to buy something really expensive, and decided to borrow the money. He had a good friend who counseled him against it, because he knew the man he wanted to borrow the money from, and that he was a hard man. But the young man went ahead and borrowed the money.

Well, eventually the money came due, and the young man worked and worked to earn the money to pay it back. But he couldn't do it. He realized that it was literally impossible for him to pay back the money in time. The man he borrowed the money come came with guards to take him away to jail since he couldn't pay it back.

The young man's friend came forward, and told the man that he would pay the young man's debts, since he was unable to do so, and saved him from prison. That friend is like Jesus. After the young man did all he could to pay back the debt, his friend made up the rest. And so it is with us. After we do all we can to make up for our sins, Jesus will do the rest if we accept it.

This video helped me to understand how grace works. And it clearly teaches the concept of the need for grace.

Now in writing this, I will acknowledge that people in the church, often women, feel like too much is expected of them, like they need to be perfect. I struggle with that myself sometimes, because I have the desire to be the best I can, and to do more than I can do sometimes. But that is because I am trying to run faster than I have strength, and I realize that. I need to remember that the Savior has taken on those burdens I can't handle, and be grateful for what I can do. It is not the church teaching me that I'm not doing enough, it is my own expectations and sometimes peer pressure making me feel that way. But that does not mean the church isn't teaching about grace, it just means we don't always understand how it works.

I have to say, I'm getting tired of people telling me what I believe and what my church teaches who don't know what they are talking about. I think one of my mission companions summed it up the best way for me. She joined the church when she was eighteen, and when she stated investigating the church, she had people come trying to tell her things about our beliefs to convince her not to join. She told them this, "I will come talk to you about what your church believes, and I will go to the Mormons to find out what their church believes. If you wanted to learn about the Catholic church, would you go to a Jew?"

I feel like I just ranted on and on, but I truly believe that half of the discord that comes between different religions is misunderstanding, and listening to the wrong people. There are people who try to destroy religions in general and there are people who focus on specific ones for whatever reason. And those people are not the ones who are going to give you an objective, truthful history of those religions. And like I said, I think too much.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pregnancy update

So I am at this weird point, where I have to eat every two hours. I'm not sick or anything, I just get hungry all the time. It feels really weird. I need to replenish my snacks at work.

Also, my slacks are all just about out because they are getting so tight, and my big coat is getting tight on my belly when I zip it up. I still don't have any cool side shots or anything, there is nothing to see there, but I am getting bigger.

And I am tired a lot. Mornings are really bad. I wasn't sure I'd make it through the day this morning, but felt a bit better after lunch.

I have an appointment for an ultrasound on March 2nd, so hopefully we will know then if it's a girl. That's what we think it is, but we'll see. I think that's about it for now. When I start having a pregnant profile, I might post a pic or two. For now, I like my wedding picture.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Being pregnant is funny

It's funny, I've been learning some things about pregnancy that make me laugh at times.

First off, everyone who knows I am pregnant is always asking me how I am feeling. Everyone. At work, at church, even people I barely know. And they ask me every day and every time I see them. It's pretty funny, you'd think I was going to break.

My co-workers won't let me carry anything. Not that we carry around huge loads or anything, but I have to be careful about using the cart when I go get more files, or I get yelled at.

Also, I have to be careful about what I do sometimes. After my appointment with my midwife, I went to call Mike to talk to him about the ultrasound appointment. I figured he was out of class, because I had his morning schedule confused. He was in the middle of class, and he answered the phone because he was worried something might have happened, since he knew I had an appointment that morning. I laughed a bit, and apologized for messing up his schedule in my head. Fortunately it wasn't during lecture or anything. Another time, he texted his mom asking her to call soon about something urgent, and she got worried, thinking something was wrong with me.

Then today, at work, I banged my knee pretty badly one my desk. I grabbed it and made some "Ouch" noises, because it hurt really bad, and one of my coworkers, Mary, got a little freaked out. She said, "What's wrong? Are you ok?" in a somewhat, not panicky, but definitely worried voice, until she got a good look at me, and said, "Oh, it's just your knee." I just about died laughing after that. People are really careful with you when you are pregnant, I guess she thought something had gone wrong.

Being pregnant is funny sometimes.

A few thoughts on childbirth

Now, by no means do I claim to be an expert. I have yet to have my first child. But I have some thoughts about the process of childbirth.

I have always felt that having a baby is a part of life, and something that most people can do without too much help. But I grew up hearing horror stories from my mom and her friends about their labor and about how the doctors treated them. I always hoped that by the time I was having kids, the doctors would lay off some.

When I found out I was pregnant, my sister sent me some books on natural childbirth, talking about things like the differences between midwives, ob-gyns, and family practitioners, and about different interventions doctors practice. I read one of them, and took notes about some of the things I didn't want to have happen, and went to my first appointment with my doctor, who had been recommended to me by a couple different girls, one from work, one from church. I hoped for a good interview, and that they'd be flexible.

Unfortunately, it was no good. My doctor was not in the least flexible. She was not supportive of the idea of not using drugs ("90% of women get an epidural, and those who wait until later have a harder time of it"), she was not supportive about the idea of birth plans ("they never work, the ones who come in with birth plans are more likely to have problems") and she was insistent that I had to have an IV, which I do NOT want.

Now she may have felt she was being reasonable, but she wasn't. The note about the epidural's being worse for those who wait until later was true, but I know why from some of the reading I've done. Basically, an epidural slows things down, and people who wait are farther along when they finally get one, which messes things up. As for the "birth plans never work," to me that seems a self fulfilling prophecy. If the doctor doesn't like birth plans, she makes that clear to the patient, which makes her more nervous, and the doctor will be more likely to be looking for problems to prove her point. As for the IV, I know they couldn't force me to have one, since they have to have patient consent, but I don't think I will be in any condition to argue with the doctor while I am in labor.

So I decided to look into different options. I was talking to one of my coworkers about the problem, and he told me his mother is a doula. He gave her my number, and she called me and gave me a list of different midwives and practitioners in the area who are more inclined towards natural childbirth. I met with one of the midwives on Wednesday, and it was night and day. I didn't even have to ask about the things I had concerns about, as they listed off their policies, they covered every single item that had bothered me about the doctor. I felt so much better after I left. I didn't realize before how much my doctor's visit had brought me down.

Anyway, I would recommend midwives to anyone who is expecting. Midwives are available in hospitals, birthing centers, and for home birth, and they are a valid option, and more likely to go with your wishes. Don't feel like an ob-gyn is your only option.