Carrying With a Grateful Heart

When I was little girl I used to dream of being a mom.  I was the girl who played house and always had to play mom so I could fuss over the baby dolls.  I grew up taking great pride in babysitting others’ children, and eventually continued my passion for children by studying elementary education in college.  I’ve always loved children, and always envisioned myself as a mother. It’s just something in my heart and soul.  After 8 years of dating, a year of an engagement, and a year of marriage – I had finally gotten to the point in my life where we were able to make that dream become a reality and welcome children of our own into the world.  It was finally here.  I could finally become a mother.

I still remember that dark fear that used to lurk in the background of this dream of mine.  I somehow felt that because I wanted children so very badly, I wouldn’t be able to carry my own.  That I would never be able to experience a growing belly with a thriving and bumbling baby we created inside me.  I’ve never been one for fears that aren’t based in any sort of fact or evidence, but this was mine.

You can imagine my all-consuming joy and elation when after the first month of trying, we saw two little pink lines.  We were blessed with a healthy baby girl that carried to 40 weeks, and she’s been the light of our family since.  Around her first birthday we were ready start trying again, only to be blessed with two more pink lines one month later.  And here we are today at 19 weeks, plugging along with what has so far been another healthy pregnancy.  You can also imagine how thankful I feel.

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Recently I’ve received several messages from women who have either miscarried or have had considerable troubles trying to conceive a child of their own. One in particular really struck a chord in my heart, and I’ve thought of her frequently.  She shared that she was happy to see I was sharing my current pregnancy in a positive way because it can be hard seeing women complain about their pregnancy when others would kill to be in their shoes.  While I’ve always had a full and grateful heart for what my husband and I have been blessed with thus far, this message helped refocus my perspective and reshape my attitude as I approach the second half of this pregnancy.

While I may not share it publicly, I’ve had my moments of whining and complaining here at home.  At the end of my first pregnancy my friends were checking up on me to see how I was feeling, and I’m pretty sure my response legitimately scared them into waiting another 10 years before having kids.  It was hard to sleep with my arms constantly falling asleep all night and my hips aching.  It was a struggle to walk as my sciatic was fired up most of the day, and my swollen feet and hands were icing on the cake. While it seemed like an eternity then, I barely remember that stage now.  It goes by in a flash, and I was back to myself in no time.  With this pregnancy I find myself too busy with a 15 month old to really find time to complain.  Yes, I’m tired.  You can find me face down somewhere in the house about 20 minutes after Tayler goes to bed at night.  And all the activity is less than ideal for my sciatic that refuses to shut up during pregnancy. But overall, we’re doing just great.

What that message reminded me of and helped clarify, however, was that these inconveniences and aches are in fact a blessing too.  It may not always feel that way, but I’m grateful I’m tired.  It means I get to play hard with my daughter every day, and my body is busy at work growing another precious child.  My sciatic may be challenging and literally a pain in the butt sometimes, but it means my body is readjusting and reshaping to accommodate and make a perfect home for our little one.  I might gain a few extra pounds that I’ll have to work for later, but it means that I nourished and fed our baby so he or she could grow and thrive. I remember several nights Tayler was busy kicking and elbowing, while all I wanted to do was sleep. But I’d be sleepless every night if it meant I’d get to experience that indescribable feeling of a child moving in your belly (and chest cavity, and on your bladder).  It may be exhausting during that last stretch to 40 weeks (or for some, more than 40!), but it means I was blessed with carrying a baby to term and and that was healthy enough to take home from the hospital just a few days later.

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There are far too many women that would do just about anything to be in my shoes.  Far too many women who have tried too many times to count, only to be met with disappointment every month.  Far too many women who have been told that having kids of their own just isn’t in the cards for them. Too many women who have gotten so far and fostered such a deep love for their growing baby, only to be met with a life-crushing blow of loss.  Far too many women who have delivered prematurely, to see their tiny newborn struggle in the hospital for weeks and months.  I can’t imagine the pain. These women are brave. They are strong.  They are courageous. They have my utmost respect and love.

I don’t know what the future holds for our family.  I’m not sure how big it will grow, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to grow it.  I don’t know.  But for right now, at this moment, I am going to take the aches and pains of pregnancy and try and find the beauty in them.  I am going to remember that every single thing I am going through is a blessing not to be taken for granted. I am going to hold these women in my heart, and be inspired to find joy in every single day that I’m pregnant.  How can I complain when the alternative could be so much worse?

I’m not saying pregnancy is always a breezy walk in the park, as many women can have serious complications during pregnancy and childbirth that are not to be taken lightly.

But today, for me, I promise to carry with a full and grateful heart.  

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