Monday, May 16, 2011

This Is Real Life [Or: About This Third Pregnancy]

Have you ever noticed it's so much easier to talk about a storm or a difficult time in your life after it's already over and you've had time to evaluate and digest your feelings?

This post is going to be me all cracked open.  Not just the surface me who likes to keep up appearances.

It's about my third pregnancy and how I had a lot of mixed feelings about it.  Both before and after I got pregnant.

I'm writing about this because I think a lot of women feel the same way.  Even when a pregnancy is plannedI think a lot of women are reluctant to reveal their feelings because it might send a message that they don't love their baby.  I'm here to say that I love this little unborn baby with every ounce of my being.  This is not about them.  It's about me.  It's about giving up of one's self and learning to live in faith.

Some time last Fall the baby bug hit Brian.  This is not a huge surprise.  The baby bug hits Brian about every other hour.  Even when I'm already pregnant.  This man loves babies and would keep me eternally pregnant if it were up to him.  I love this about him.  So many other couples have an opposite situation where the woman really has to convince her spouse to have another baby.  This has never been us.

When we got pregnant with William we knew were ready and we were excited.  When we got pregnant with Lucy we knew we were ready and we were excited.  When it was time for baby #3 Brian knew we were ready and he was excited.  I was not.

It's hard for me to describe exactly how I felt.  I knew our family was not complete.  When I looked far into our future I saw many more Nashes gathered around our dinner table.  But when it came to the here and now, I did not have the overwhelming sense of excitement I had experienced with my previous pregnancies.

I threw out every excuse.  "I'm going to Napa.  I can't be pregnant in Wine Country."  "I don't want to get pregnant now.  Then I'll be due in the middle of the summer."  "Let's just wait until after the holidays.  They're always so busy."

I didn't want to avoid pregnancy but I was definitely using every excuse to delay it.

Maybe it was because I already had two kids that kept my life rich and full and busy.  Maybe it was because I already had a very boyish boy and a very girlie girl.  Maybe it was because I still vividly remembered that last uncomfortable month of my pregnancy with Lucy.

But after the first of the year Brian put a stop to it all.  He showed me the calendar and pointed out that if I got pregnant now the new baby and Lucy would have the exact same spacing as her and William.  It was time.  And I knew it.

At this time you should not assume that Brian was forcing me into something I didn't want.  In fact it was the exact opposite.  Sometimes I think God speaks more clearly to my husband and at this time it felt like a gentle nudge back on to the path I should be following.

And besides, I didn't not want to have another baby.  I just wasn't over-the-moon about the idea of it.

So fast forward a few weeks to early February when I found out that I got pregnant almost immediately.  And that's how it always works, doesn't it ladies?  When you're really trying...nothing.  When you have no opinion on the matter...two lines.

Those first few weeks of early pregnancy flew by unnoticed.  Some days I even forgot I was pregnant altogether having to be reminded I needed to order from the non-alcoholic side of the bar menu.  Insert sad face.

And then in late February I was hit like a fast-moving train out of nowhere with those first trimester blues.  And this time there were a lot of factors working against me.  Brian was working a lot.  The weather was awful.  We were experiencing one of our worst and long-lasting winters on record.  The kids were antsy indoors all day and were going stir crazy with a mom who wouldn't take them out.  I was nauseous.  Nothing sounded good to eat and anything that did sound good to eat required a trip to the grocery store, a task that seemed completely impossible at the time.  I had no energy and was tired all the time.  It took everything out of me to get out of bed before ten o'clock and even then I was counting down until nap time and then until bed time.  Emotionally I felt blah.  Nothing excited me.  But I wasn't sad or angry either.  I did, however, feel a lot of guilt for not being the wife and mother that my family deserved.

I distinctly remember sobbing to Brian in bed on the night of my 30th birthday.  With all these icky feelings I somehow thought my birthday would be a bright spot.  Something to look forward to.  But the day came and went without a lot of pomp and circumstance.  But let's be honest here.  No production for my birthday could have ever been big enough to dig me out of my hole.

At the time I could see no light at the end of the tunnel.  Not only was I not excited about this pregnancy before it occurred, now it was making me feel like crap and making me worse off than I was before.  I wasn't mad at the baby.  In fact, at that time I don't think I even considered that there was a little being inside of me.  And perhaps that was the whole problem to begin with.

So by now you're probably wanting to know how I got better.  And I can say with full certainty that I'm not only better than I was in those dark days, I'm better than I was before I got pregnant.

I can't place my finger on one single thing that was my cure-all but there were small things that led to big changes.  Hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time certainly gave perspective.  Being able to eat without wanting to heave helped too.  And so did the ever so slight warm-up in the weather.  Getting showered, putting on makeup, doing my hair and picking out a few new clothes also had an amazing impact on my energy level.

But I have to say that the biggest factor of them all was my decision to change my attitude.  Pregnancy, all pregnancies, are a gigantic leap of faith.  Pregnancy, in my mind, is one of the best examples of what it means to give up one's self for another.  Marriage is another great example.  Your whole being -- your body, your mind, your appetite, your emotions -- all of it is up for grabs when you are pregnant.

But the real secret behind self-sacrifice is that it only leaves you barren and deserted if you let it.  Maybe this is why our divorce rate is so high.  We live in a selfish culture constantly telling us that we deserve this and we deserve that.  We've forgotten: No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

So I'm here now.  On the other side of my dark hole.  And I've come out a better person.  I'm so excited for the path I've been put on.  I'm happy for busy children who fill me up.  I'm happy for a busy husband who brings home a paycheck.  I'm happy for the spring weather.  I'm happy for filling meals that don't make me sick.  I'm happy for this big, growing belly and the tiny flutters I feel within it.  I'm happy for my cozy bed and I'm happy when it's time to get out of it.

Mostly I'm happy that I took a giant leap into uncertainty and came out with a whole heap of certainty.

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