Ok, ok…it’s not as tough as a lot of other things in this world, but it sure isn’t a walk in the park (though I went for one of those yesterday). There are so many moments where I just wish I could throw in the towel, sit down in the middle of the floor and drink a glass of wine with some soft cheese on crackers. Then of course, I wouldn’t be about to receive one of the greatest gifts I think I’ll ever have the pleasure of unwrapping. So, while I wait this nine months out, trying desperately to keep it together and cling to the promises of my Creator, what have I been learning?
1. I can’t do everything I used to do. Even when I COULD see my feet still, I was so sick I was barely able to get from the lounge to the bathroom and back again. Now that the sickness has mostly passed (praise the lord!) the aches and pains and swelling and bloating and stiffness has kicked in and my abilities are once again hindered. I can’t run – I can barely walk quickly! I can’t bend in the middle. I can’t sit for a long time, I can’t stand for a long time. I can’t lie on my back and I struggle to get up from the floor. Sounds delightful doesn’t it? But in these limitations, I am – slowly – learning that if I can slow down and accept help NOW I can slow down and accept help when Baby J is here. I can relish the time with our little one because my need for speed and urgency won’t exist as it has in the past. I can smile and say thank you from a genuine place in my soul for the meals cooked and the babysitting offered.
2. Heartburn is a beast! I’ve had heartburn before – we all have, yes? These days I get it several times a day and it’s like a volcano erupting inside my throat! So far, the remedies I’ve tried haven’t worked all that well, though eating an apple helped settle it a little…if you have anything that has worked a treat, please do let me know!
3. My husband is my biggest supporter. It must be so surreal and odd to be having a baby – about to be a parent – but not actually physically a part of this time. He doesn’t really know what it feels like and I’m sure that must be hard…but I have come to know quite quickly that he is the biggest supporter of anything that I need or want during this time. He’s cooked random meals, done housework, booked appointments, come with with me to them, ordered books, tied my shoes, run me baths, brewed me tea and all kinds of other things! But amongst all these acts of love, he has prayed for me and whispered words of encouragement when my spirit has been low and my eyes misty with tears. He has always got a word of strength and a prayer to offer and this means the world to me, especially during this time.
4. I don’t actually mind people touching my stomach. I thought I would! I thought I’d hate it with a passionate fire and need one of those ‘hands off!’ tshirts to wear, but in all honesty, I don’t mind it. It makes me feel like that my friends and family can be a part of this and it shows me just how much Baby J will be loved….though don’t get me wrong, if a random stranger tries to do it, I might set aside my aches and pains and deliver some hefty karate chops! 😉
5. Don’t compare, don’t compare, don’t compare…”comparison is the thief of joy” and in this case, it’s very true for me. Sometimes, well-meaning comments from those around me or too long scrolling through mama-blog after mama-blog of pregnancy, birth and parenting experiences set my grey matter going – “am I supposed to be bigger like her? Am I supposed to be fitter like she is? Was I supposed to do that too? What if my baby isn’t like theirs?” The list goes on…comparison strangles my ability to relish the good moments, seek God in the tough moments and prepare in my own way for what lies ahead. Every woman, every pregnancy, every baby, every relationship is different and if I let the comparison set in, then I lose sight of my divinely created individuality and I discount my own experiences.
These are just some of the bigger things that I am learning on this journey to parenthood, but by no means the end of the list! Each day comes with new trials, new triumphs and fresh chances to experience where God has called me to be in the now…what I’m learning the most though, through all my mini lessons, is that if I am trying to please the people around me rather than my God, I’m not living authentically. I’m not properly experiencing this time for myself. I’m not perfect, my pregnancy isn’t perfect and my child won’t be perfect either. But I’m learning that to be honest about how I feel, is to be real and to be real means that my ownership of this period of my life still remains.
What are you learning…?