The other day, I was looking a pregnant friend of mine, and it hit me how completely stunning she has become as her pregnancy has progressed. I mean, she is a very pretty lady anyway, but something about the light catching her glowing face from a nearby window and that perfectly round belly just made her so seem so radiant and bountiful. There is a certain allure to an expectant woman that I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it's those big bellies, a quality not typically coveted. They just seem to beg to be touched. If you have ever been pregnant, you know what I'm talking about. Complete strangers will walk up to you in a grocery store and give it a rub or pat. It's totally awkward, but I get it. They just draw you in. I'm sure my friend had no idea how beautiful she looked in that moment. In fact, with only 2 months left, I'm sure she felt quite the opposite because when it comes to pregnancy, there are two ends to the spectrum.
There is the positive end: glowing skin, thick luscious hair, nails that grow long and strong, cute baby bumps, gender reveals, those first kicks, the excitement, the expectancy, the feeling of life growing inside of you. It’s truly magical. Then there is the dark side: always feeling tired, not being able to sleep, the vomiting, the food aversions, the swollen ankles, the heartburn, the vomiting, the general discomfort, the anxiety, the hormone induced emotional breakdowns, the VOMITING, the inability to cool down (especially in the Texas heat), the stretch marks, the impatience, the get-this-thing-out-of-me! My pregnancies hovered more toward the negative end with flashes of positives. I was so sick for so long that it was hard to acknowledge the miraculous event that was taking place.
I have heard some women say that they loved everything about being pregnant, and I think that is just grand…and a little crazy. But maybe they truly had a unicorn pregnancy with none of the adverse side effects, and I think that is wonderful…and I hate them a little bit. Not really, but I think it is safe to say that most women will run the gamut of the spectrum during the 9 months and will tend to hang out in the negative end especially in the beginning…and the end.
We bear it though, some of us several times, because the end justifies the means. Because what you get is so much greater than what you endure. When you hold that baby in your arms, all the memories of nausea and discomfort are barely distinguishable.
Last week was a rough week, not in the tumultuous active kind of way. It was the kind of stale discomfort that comes in waiting for something. In many ways, I feel like a pregnant woman, expectant of the next phase of my life, one with more action and visible productivity. On the outside it seems like not much is happening except for maybe slowly getting a little "bigger". Because like a pregnant lady, I'm ravenous lately. I keep consuming things hoping to feel full, only to find myself starving a few hours later. There are things growing inside of me that I know must fully develop, and this is all part of the process, but growth can be painful, and I keep looking down at my growing belly, thinking how much more can this skin stretch? And this expansion and tension is exhausting. From the outside, I may appear to be gleaming and lustrous, but I'm pretty sure it's just the sweat from the hard work of growing something. Like in pregnant women, most of that hard work takes place inside the belly and out of our view.
I'm trying to be patient and look at things with perspective. I'm trying to be that lady that loves being pregnant, that sees the miracle, the wonder, and the splendor of producing a living thing, but I'm struggling. I'm exhausted, irritable, and anxious. So, I just do the basic things I know I need to do. I keep taking my vitamins and putting nutrients in that are essential for growth. I try to avoid the things that can be harmful and stunt progression. I take things day-by-day. I constantly take deep breaths. I wait. I realize that something is being made, and these things require time and can't be rushed. In a fetus, one of the last things to develop is the lungs, a vital organ. Newborns need to breathe and even just a few weeks can make a big difference. So, I'm trying to let this "baby" incubate until it's healthy, pink, and chubby, no matter how cumbersome it feels to me.
I know it will be worth it. I keep imagining what it may look like, although I'm sure it will be nothing like I imagine. As expectant parents, we can get fixated on the birth, the meeting, but we fail to gauge the new responsibilities that come with that arrival. I'm trying to take this into account and prepare myself as much as possible. I'm trying to appreciate this season of becoming, to find comfort in its purpose, and make the most of its timing. I'm trying really hard to "bear fruit with patience" knowing that one day, maybe sooner than I think, I will enjoy its sweetness.
(Disclaimer: Let's just be clear. This post was highly metaphorical. I am NOT pregnant. Again, NOT pregnant! )
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.
Luke 8:15 As for that in good soil, they are those who, in hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Hey! My name is Andrea. I'm a teacher by day in a small Texas town, but in every other aspect of my life, I consider myself a learner. This blog is about life: learning through experiences, sharing through stories, and growing through faith.