June 3, 2010

To Know or Not to Know

Erin at the Blue-Eyed Bride has posted a thoughtful question about pregnancy that can be applied to a variety of situations in our lives. Do you prefer to know or not to know?

I'm someone who fights anxiety when anticipating a momentous event, whether it's a move, a new job or an unusual social situation. It's exactly the way I ride a rollercoaster: the whole way up I'm panicking and praying; the moment I hear "click" and it points downward, my worries disappear and I can enjoy the ride.

Thankfully, pregnancy was the one time in my life where I didn't experience anxiety. God lifted that burden and I knew absolutely that everything would be fine. This isn't to say that I knew the outcome would be just as I'd hoped, but I trusted we were being taken care of. It helped that I could see Philippians 4:6-7 at my desk all day long; reading it to myself often put any fears in perspective. It was an unspeakable gift to have that peace.

I let go of my anxiety, but I also did my research. I've always been the girl who overprepares; I arrive early, check things off of my post-it note reminders, pack a back-up outfit, bring extra copies, have an outline in hand and toss a few jokes around to lighten the mood.

When it comes to things that are out of my hands, though, I try to dial back the overpreparation. When I found myself reading ahead in the What to Expect book, I could barely turn the post-partum pages - my hands were practically numb with nerves. A definite sign to stop reading!

A happy medium between ignorance and anxiety is where I prefer to be. I want to be armed with basic knowledge of what can (and usually does) happen so I’m not panicked if that occurs.

When my mom found out she had skin cancer a few years back, my closest friend (hallelujah for friends in the medical field!) called to talk me through the possibilities. I asked for worst case scenario and she said, "Chemo. I just said chemo. If you're still breathing, you can handle what's more than likely going to happen here." And I did - so did our whole family. An overview was enough for me to feel prepared but still trust that there would be a good outcome.

I don’t, however, need to know gory details about what (statistically) is unlikely to occur and what I can’t control simply by worrying about it. No need to stay up nights over rare complications!

I trust the Lord, I trust my doctors, I trust the opinions of those who love me and, for the most part, I trust my instincts. A year ago, a dear friend reminded me that Mac had been created by One who loved him more than even we could. There are no better hands than the ones Mac was in. What a comfort! And just the truth I needed to hear.

I didn't put my head in the sand about the relatively undignified parts of delivery and post-partum days, but I tried not to dwell on it either. As my mom would say, "Why borrow trouble? We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

The first few post-baby week was a baptism by fire, for sure. There were ice packs and medical products I don't prefer to pull out again until there's a new baby in our home. But I was grateful that it was short-term, that we had a healthy baby for our "troubles," and that I was being taken care of, as always.

I'm the world's biggest crybaby and I need more sleep than any grown-up should ever get. Yet I survived! Through a power bigger than me and a desire to care for our new, tiny man - I survived.

So can you, in any situation, whether you choose to know or not to know.

To answer to my own question, I'd say I want to know everything possible about financial, career and social situations. Medical things? Give me a thorough overview and let me trust others for the rest. Call me a little girl, but it's worked for me so far. No "borrowing trouble" here.

What about you? Where do you fall along the spectrum of wanting or needing to know?


Meredith said...

Great post - I agree with you. Sometimes it can be freeing to accept that you can't control the situation and let the experts handle it. I recently discovered your blog and I LOVE it! You're a great writer and I'm officially hooked!

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

My mom says "don't borrow trouble" too. She also says "you can fight a bear for a little while."

And... we need to talk about your mom's skin cancer scare. My mom is having a Clark's Level IV melanoma removed on June 8 and I'm a little worried, but I'm praying and staying hopeful. She doesn't seem worried at all.

And I'm with you. On certain issues I like to do my research. I had no clue about post-partum recovery and I haven't even researched my mom's melanoma possibilities. I prefer prayer to worry.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I prefer to know most of the time, but I have to say I'm glad I went into the aftermath of labor blind, or I'm not sure I ever would have had a kid!!


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