I can’t stress enough how kind people are are to me here in Africa as a pregnant woman. It’s like everyone is going out of their way to be nice, to be thoughtful, and to make my life a little bit easier. Sure, there are still things that need doing, and there are still moments when people act like idiots, but I am just so happy to be carrying around the munchkin in this of all places.
At the store recently, I had bought a bunch of groceries, but not that many. They all fit in one bag and I was just going to carry it to the car. But I was tired and hesitated for a moment before lifting my bag from the bagging area in the shop. The woman who had helped me grabbed a trolley for me to put the bag in, and I said that I thought I could carry it. Her response was lovely, and something that I sort of want to live by for the duration of this pregnancy.
She looked at me and said, “just because you’re strong enough, doesn’t mean you have to”. I keep trying to prove that I’m strong, that just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean that I’m weak, or useless, or broken. I still want to contribute, I still want to be myself even if I’m not as able as I normally would be. And really, that’s not that point, is it? It’s not about proving that I’m still strong, or proving that I’m still capable. The people in my life will still know and love me, even if I use a trolley to carry my one bag to the car. I am no less human or adept if I choose to lie on the couch in the evenings, if I’m not able to do all the dishes, or if I simply don’t do all the overachiever, type-A personality things.
So yes, I’m strong enough. I am capable. And if you put a gun to my head, I’m sure I could do all those things that I haven’t been doing. But just because I CAN do something doesn’t mean that I have to. In the same way that I quit teaching despite being good at it, or that I didn’t go into a science/math degree despite having the potential, it’s about doing what works for me, what makes me happy. And right now, just because I can carry stuff if I really have to doesn’t mean that it’s the best thing to do.
Yes, I can. No, I won’t.