There are times in my life when I think I'm weak. And there are times in my life when I think I'm strong. There are times when in my life when I think I'm weak and others think I'm strong. I'm sure there are times in my life when I think I'm being strong and others think I'm being weak. Sometimes I can't tell if I'm handling things well or not.
Life's rather paradoxical that way.
The first instance that sticks out in my mind is when I was in labour with Rachel and I was having a hard time managing my contractions. I hadn't "been checked" and everyone (from the check-in desk lady (who told me to "have a seat" and I was like, "Pretty sure I can't because there's a human head between my legs!" only I didn't really say that) to my nurses, who lazily got the triage room ready for me) was telling me to gear up to learn that I was only "at the beginning stages of labour" and should prepare emotionally to be sent home until "real labour" started. I would certainly know when that was because things were only going to get "a lot worse." First time mothers usually are sent away the first time they come into the hospital, I was told.
When I finally "got checked" (which was only like five minutes later—I had to have Andrew help me change out of my clothes and into a gown because I was shaking so badly I couldn't manage it myself) I was at a nine and the nurse was like, "Holy cow, so...you're going to have to push in probably ten minutes."
"I thought I was just being wimpy," I cried.
"You're not a wimp!" she said encouragingly. "You're strong! You're so, so strong!"
I thought I wasn't handling labour very well at all, but then the information changed and the perception I had of myself—and that others had of me—did, too. I went from wimp to warrior, just like that.
(And Rachel was born on a triage table, just like that.)