I am terrible at being pregnant. I feel like a zombie. An exhausted, hormone-riddled, angry, crying zombie. I think for 9 months that something has completely taken over my body and I will never be the same. Okay, so those things are both true. Due to my extreme hormonal surges and intense anger at, well, everything, I rarely sit around and bask in the joy of being a part of the creation of a new life.
A new life is growing inside my body right now. I can hardly think that thought without simultaneously being completely amazed and terrified. I do not spend a lot of time considering what an absolute miracle this is. It is hard to believe that God would choose to use me to be a part of the creation of an entirely new life, one with a heart and soul and an eternity. As I write this, I feel her kicking me and think about how much she is growing right now. I wonder why I am tired all the time, and I miss having more energy. I have to regularly remind myself that growing new life is hard, hard work. Even though no one can see the work, that doesn’t diminish its value. Others may not know or remember what it feels like to carry a child inside your body, so I have to be wise enough to set my own boundaries and to give myself permission to rest as needed. I am 23 weeks pregnant, and the next 17 weeks will be gone before I know it. I will not be a pregnant or a nursing mom forever, so I do my best to give myself grace and compassion in these short months.
Now that I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old, I don’t get to spend a lot of time contemplating this new sweet baby and what she will be like. When I do consider that I will soon be the mother of three children under the age of 6, I remember that many, many mothers have gone before me in this three-child land. If they can manage it, I certainly can, too! My mom had three pre-school aged children for a full two years! I am looking at about two weeks between the time the baby is born and Isabella goes to kindergarten. I am certainly planning on awarding my mom some sort of medal for her heroic efforts to keep herself and us three girls alive during those years.
Even as I have these thoughts on pregnancy, it breaks my heart to have very close friends who cannot and will never have this experience of carrying a baby. I wish I could change this for them, I somehow wish I could share it with them. One of my dearest friends told me that she recognizes God gives each of us a different path with different struggles to work through, and she didn’t want me to feel inhibited or worried about sharing my struggles in motherhood with her just because she is not in that position right now. Her wisdom really blessed me and challenged me to remember that perspective when jealousy wants to get the better of me.
My challenge for the next 17 weeks is to keep a perspective on pregnancy and the things I will miss when it is over. Pregnancy is interesting because experiencing it for the third time gives me a perspective that I did not have the first time. I know that parenting multiple children is the same way, and I am really grateful for the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and actually get another chance at it.
So if I look mad or weary when you see me, I am. I really, really am. But the end result will be worth it.