Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I confess, being almost full-term, I have not been able to wrap my head around Lent very much this year. I just can't think much of abstaining from meat or doing much to help the girls focus on Lent when I am waddling to the bathroom every 30 minutes, not sleeping very well, and trying to pack for the hospital and prepare for the arrival of a newborn not to mention preparing for labor. And even if I thought of ways to properly observe Lent, I know they'd fall by the wayside as soon as labor began and not resurface for at least a couple of weeks later.

So, there will be no Lenten box or Lenten calendar for the girls. Just from the pregnancy I already can't eat hotdogs or lunchmeat (the first thing I am eating after this baby is born is a turkey sandwich!) and the reflux has cut out other foods I like but would be punished for eating, like orange juice and other acidic or spicy foods. I am limited to 1 caffeinated beverage per day. So, the idea of cutting out more of my beverage or dietary options, especially when I'm already tired and uncomfortable, just doesn't sound very appealing.

I realize Lenten offerings are not supposed to sound appealing. But I just don't know that I can focus on much of a physical offering right now beyond the pregnancy and labor. I fear I'd be much more resentful than penitential.

So I've been trying to focus more on other ways to zero in on Lent, such as Lenten reading, additional prayers, etc. I think I've figured out an acceptable Lenten offering for myself in this regard, but I do have 3 little girls I'd prefer not pass through Lent oblivious to its reality or purpose. Last year we adopted the "no treats except on Sundays" rule which worked well and I think we will again this year. But I'd also like to get some additional prayer into their day. Cecilia doesn't say the Our Father at Mass on Sunday. I keep trying to get her to say it with everyone and she says, "sometimes I forget." So I was thinking maybe a decade of the rosary each day might help hammer home those prayers into a second-nature recitation. I know she knows them but maybe not so well as they could just roll off her tongue. I have to figure out when would be a good time during the day to do it, but hopefully it will help them make those prayers as familiar as "Play with me!" by the time Lent is over.

I hope everyone, in whatever your circumstances or situation might be, is able to observe this Lent in some meaningful way and will reap the benefits of this penitential season a hundred fold. Blessed Lent everyone!


  1. I know, when I posted about burn out during Lent, I was remembering three Lenten pregnancies, the last one in particular because it was a later Easter and Will was born the beginning of May that year, I was huge and could barely put a sentence together! And I agree that giving up a food item when pregnant and already so restricted could be enough to push you over the edge. I remember one year when I was a teenager, a woman at our church who was a convert was pregnant with her first son and her husband, a cradle Catholic, told her she had to do a bread and water fast on Fridays and her baby was due mid-April and she was freaking out. She went to our priest, who informed her that the health of her child preceeded that fast and admonished her husband for suggesting that. Looking back, it seems both funny and horrifying!

    My Lent isn't beginning as I thought it would, both boys have terrifically terrible stomach viruses today, so we can't make it to mass :(. But I am concentrating on the positives. We managed a short reflection and I'm doing well on my facebook fast!

    Certainly praying for you in these last weeks of pregnancy for a safe and healthy delivery!

  2. Kristen, I saw your post about being burnt out during Lent but didn't comment since my circumstances this Lent are not most people's and what would burn me out right now most people could probably handle. lol. I've been trying very hard lately to balance reasonable exertion and reasonable rest and not overdoing either category. I remember a letter from St. Francis de Sales in which he tells a pregnant woman that she should listen to her doctors in terms of nutrition and forms of penance (like not kneeling or fasting, etc) as the role God had given her in caring for that baby took priority over any regulation on fasting or strenuous penance. Gotta love St. Frances de Sales!

    I'm so sorry your boys are sick. I hope they feel better soon! Talk about a penitential beginning to lent! Ours has had a bit of a penitential start as well, but I don't think it is as penitential as yours.

    I know many people who give up Facebook for lent. I think it is a great idea in general but as it is the main way I keep in touch with almost everyone, I refuse. It would make me almost a hermit. I'm sure one day it would be a fruitful offering for me, but right now it is my primary method of social interaction with almost any person over the age of 5. :)

    Thanks for the prayers. Prayers your boys are better soon!

  3. I'm right with you, Sister. I didn't even abstain from meat today because I need the protein. I'm 37 weeks and still nauseous, exhausted and barely able to walk from the pressure on my pelvis. Staying cheerful and managing my household is all I can do right now! When the baby comes, I will definitely work on abstaining from meat, though probably not fasting since I'll be nursing a newborn.

    I decided to give up fiction for Lent, so no TV shows about things that aren't real, and only non-fiction books. That will be a definite sacrifice, but won't impact either my health or my ability to care for my infant.

    Many of my friends are giving up the internet/FB as well. I won't discourage them from their Lenten sacrifice, but it's kind of like giving up talking with your friends after Mass. It's a sacrifice for you, but it's also a sacrifice for us! Anyway, I'm glad you'll be around. We can commiserate and swap birth stories. :) My due date is March 26th, when's yours?

  4. Tienne, you have my sympathy. I did abstain from meat yesterday but I was ready to have some if need be. It just worked out I had milk and cheese and eggs, etc. instead. Fasting was out of the question though. Fortunately, I have no nausea, but after 3 pregnancies, this is the first one I have had such pelvic pain. Like you, I have trouble walking. I've begun needing to grab onto furniture to relieve pressure on my pelvic area. I've never had anything like it but, unlike my previous pregnancies, this baby dropped unbelievably early. I've been waddling since New Years. I have two due dates: one based on the sonogram and one based on my chart. I use the one based on my chart which puts me at April 2. (The sonogram one is April 8.) I've never made it to a due date though, so I fully expect this to be a March baby. By my calculations, I reach full term this weekend.

    I look forward to reading your birth story!