As I write this, I find myself by the grace of God twenty-five weeks pregnant. A gift of great magnitude, and something I do not take for granted. By no merit of my own do I carry this child in my womb, feel him kick and jab and tumble. I dream of the first time I’ll hold him; he’ll be squishy and perfect and I’ll be sweaty and swollen. As with all good things, there are difficult things; but as with all difficult things, they produce good things. We serve a gracious God, who is constantly redeeming all things.
It has become a habit to announce to my husband what week we’ve hit on our way to church. “Sixteen weeks! Baby is the size of a ____ " (insert appropriate fruit, this weird but amusing western thing that we do). At 25 weeks I found myself instead announcing, “Only 15 weeks!” I laugh as I write this. What a funny shift that happens to us pregnant women. When did I switch from counting up to counting down? This pregnancy has been smooth, necessitating very few changes in my daily life, but sometime between 23 and 25 weeks I felt suddenly heavy, and my body felt like lead. My stomach muscles started to ache, and my workouts became sparse, as I often felt like I simply couldn’t move my body very well. I suppose I was a little naive to think I could make it through the entire pregnancy and not feel pregnant.
The discomfort became so strong these last two weeks that I decided I had to do something. First, I purchased a support band for my belly, which dramatically decreased my abdominal discomfort. Second, and much more difficult, one day last week when I was feeling like I was at an all-time low and might not move for the rest of my pregnancy, I got up and did an exercise video. I felt like I had the weight of an 80’s waterbed on my shoulders, but as I kept moving I felt lighter, more flexible, and could physically feel the weight of pregnancy lifting as I moved. Wait, was I wearing an 80's waterbed, or an 80's leotard à la Denise Austin??
I accepted the place I was in, the weight that I felt, the fog in my mind, and I kept moving until I reached the other side.
Pregnancy is beautiful, miraculous, messy, and strenuous, which is to say, pretty darn ordinary in the scheme of seasons. Being a parent, spouse, friend, daughter or son, a CEO, student, artist or entrepreneur could all be described in the same way. All of these are elements of our lives that some will experience, and some will not. Whatever season we are in or roles we fill, we are guaranteed discomfort. This battle of our wills, our bodies, our minds is, if turned toward God, the process of sanctification. "Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone."
I do not want to be pregnant forever. This is a season that I am moving through. After that I'll be postpartum, and then, just a mom. My roles will shift back to the "normal setting," and though certainly sleep-deprived and covered with spit-up and smashed sweet potatoes, I pray that this process is an exfoliating one. Less of me, more of Jesus.
May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely… 1 Thessalonians 5:23
* As it turns out, my most recent prenatal appointment revealed that I had gained a whopping 9 pounds in one month! I share this in hopes that it will be helpful to other pregnant mamas reading this. Although weight gain is normal, and yes healthy during pregnancy, my sudden jump in weight alarmed me a little because I've gained a considerable amount more than recommend in my previous pregnancies. I want to be healthy for me and my baby, and that means watching my weight gain and doing what I can to keep my weight within healthy perimeters. For others who may resonate with this, and like me, struggle with gaining too much weight during pregnancy, I found the CDC guide to pregnancy weight gain to be extremely insightful as I reassess my workouts and eating habits. And always, grace upon grace upon grace, my friends.