I am currently twenty-two weeks pregnant with baby number 4. Yay! I had not posted about it on any social media sites because I had no specifics for a while, and for some reason I wanted to enjoy this special and precious time with my family. I figured that eventually I would post the news. However, nearly a week ago I went into premature labor. This was something I had never experienced before. It was scary and difficult. I wanted to reach out for prayers on social media but felt it would be such an odd way to announce my pregnancy. But as I dug deeper I realized that there was a purpose in not posting anything prior to this incident.
Many pregnant women or women desiring a pregnancy have heard the term, “no two pregnancies are alike.” This is true and I know it but I have certainly gone through each of my pregnancies with a certain expectancy that everything will go well. At first I called it faith and reliance on God’s plan but with this pregnancy I have learned it was not quite that. I was more reliant on my body’s ability to house and nourish each child without any issues. But as I look back on each pregnancy I see it differently. With my first pregnancy I developed pre-eclampsia during my 36th week. I was almost immediately induced and delivered my first child in great pain; amidst a cloud of medications that made the whole situation a giant blur. With my second child I had a terrible time with nausea and vomiting. When I was finally able to eat, all I could keep down was plain bread, crackers, plain rice and mild soups. Ginger tea was my best friend. However, the rest of the pregnancy was easy. No odd aches and pains and labor came on naturally at 37 weeks and 3 days. His birth was a different story but that’s a story for another day. With my third pregnancy I developed pre-eclampsia again at 35 and a half weeks but was able to wait to be induced until I was 37 weeks along. This pregnancy was very tough on my body. Morning sickness lasted more than half of the pregnancy and when it finally let up, pelvic girdle pain rendered me nearly incapable of movement. I could not get up from a seated position without feeling unbearable pain, walking seemed an impossible feat and for once I wanted my pregnancy to just come to a safe end as quickly as possible. The birth, however, was by far the most peaceful and stress-free but the hour following birth proved to be the hardest of my life, again, another story for another time.
With this pregnancy, morning sickness has been my constant companion. I vomit nearly everyday and most days just the thought of food makes me queasy. Drinking water was nearly impossible in the beginning and anything else left a terrible and nausea-inducing after-taste in my mouth. Torture seems an appropriate term (I am only half kidding here). It has been truly debilitating and draining both physically and mentally, pelvic girdle pain has made an early appearance and now pre-term labor. I know that God’s plans are everything and I am usually pretty good about relying on that but for some reason with each pregnancy I focus more on my body’s ability to do what it is, “naturally supposed to do”. Why? I believe that there has been a misguided notion in the motherhood community that every woman should just be able to carry her pregnancy easily and give birth easily and breastfeed easily and fall into a routine easily. How odd is that? We are told from the beginning that every pregnancy and every child and every mother is different; but no one embraces those differences towards the unpredictability of life and the fact that each experience is quite different for every woman; and that’s perfectly fine.
Why is that? Why is it that pregnancy, birth, and motherhood is glamorized and who allowed that? I am not saying it isn’t the most wonderful time in a woman’s life because it is. But it is also the most challenging. None of it is easy for anyone, no matter what they say. It is true that we choose to focus on the beautiful product of all the pain and discomfort we endure for however long our pregnancies last and that is a beautiful thing. But in neglecting to speak out openly about everything we set up newcomers to motherhood with the false idea that it’s all easy-peasy or at least it should be. But is it really? No! Motherhood is not easy by any means but it is a great blessing when we allow God and his Holy Spirit to guide us through it all and because God is all-knowing and He has our lives already mapped out we can be sure no curve balls surprise Him. We can be sure He sees and knows it all. We can fully rely on His grace, wisdom and favor to endure it all. That’s what makes it truly beautiful.
Through this ordeal I understood that my reliance should not be on my own body’s ability to do anything, “as it should” because it will most often fail me. It is not on prayers others can pray for me and my situation (although that is a blessing). It is not on how well doctors can handle and address a situation. It is all about how well I depend on my Father to give me the grace to walk through each situation with His perfect guidance.
The entire time I was monitored in the hospital I was alone. My husband was watching the kids and I had not wanted to alert anyone at such a late time of night with something that I was hoping was nothing. But as baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously low with each contraction, it was just me and Jesus in that room and I could not sing, I could not think, I could not cry, I could not do anything other than pray. I spoke truth and life over my child and myself. I rejected death and anything harmful over its life and mine, and I called out to Jesus. He washed over me with peace and a calm reassurance that He had his hand in my pregnancy. He reassured me that my dependence was on Him and Him alone and that He was in control. Everything was under His control and all I needed was some intense hydration and a little help to make my uterus relax and we were able to go home.
This body is frail and worthless without His breath of life. I refuse to continue to believe the lie that it is all easy and that nothing bad can happen if my body does what it should. I do not know the exact plans God has for my child and myself, but I know they are for good and they are perfect and that no matter what I have to endure I will be able to do it with His guidance, wisdom and grace. I do not walk alone, EVER! What a glorious place to keep my heart and mind.
My intention is not to scare any future mothers or to make them paranoid. I just simply want to point out that however difficult any part of your journey to motherhood feels, God knows, and God sees it all. Rely on Him alone to guide and provide for you and let Him, the one who created your body, take control. Let me encourage you today, do not walk in fear and do not walk alone. Step out in faith and obedience and watch how good He is. Reach out to others who will encourage your reliance on God and surround yourself with community to be affirmed constantly through this beautifully challenging journey of motherhood.
Psalm 34:8 NIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who take refuge in Him.