They said there’d be a glow. The only glow I had, I paid $15.95 for at the local drugstore and came in the form of a bentonite clay mask – which I was using to control this outburst of adult acne that accompanied my first trimester. No one tells you that part about pregnancy. The down, the dirty, the reality of the toll growing a human takes on your body. No ones tells you how early the “mom-guilt” starts from not only those around you but even in your own subconscious.
“Are you sure you want to eat that?”
“Everything you eat goes directly to that baby.”
“I haven’t kept my prenatals down in days, I’m failing my child.”
“Sickness is a good sign, you should be happy about it.”
“Don’t take the nausea medicine, you can handle this, women have been doing it for centuries.”
Guilt. No one told us that this was pregnancy.
During our first ER trip after a couple of days of throwing up – 7 weeks in – I laid on the bed with my eyes closed. Thinking of my husband who I know is exhausted, sitting beside me in the middle of the night, holding my hand while they change the IVs. The one thing that I’ve wanted, dreamed of, imagined my whole life – was the joy and blessing that it would be to carry a child.
Under the incandescent hospital lights, no one told us that this was pregnancy.
In this time in a women’s life when I expected to feel the most loved, the most surrounded by God’s grace and the most enlightened as a woman – even through the support of my loving, serving husband, our awesome families and encouraging text messages – I have never felt more alone in my life. I could barely stand the idea of being hugged, let alone snuggled or kissed because I was feeling smothered, not by anything physically around me, but by the pressure of the broken expectations.
The idea of a social life went something like this:
“Ya, sure lets get together on Saturday, it’ll be so awesome to catch up!”
Saturday morning: “ya, I’m on day 4 of throwing up, we’re probably not going to make it…”
So I stopped making plans. Soon after, they stopped checking on me too, as if I was contagious. I wasn’t, I was just defeated.
Defeat. No one told us this was pregnancy.
People would ask how I was doing while at work, church or out and about – my response went from “I’m great, so excited” to “I’m here.” Because getting there was now the best and probably the only thing that I would accomplish on that day. I would pray throughout my whole day “God, do this for me. Be my strength, nourish this child because I’m failing you.” Patrick was praying throughout his days “God, help me support her because I don’t know how anymore. Get her through this because I can’t take this suffering from her.”
Suffering. No one told us that this was pregnancy.
During our second ER visit – 15 weeks in – after 5 straight days of crippling sickness we finally decided to get the prescription and take the medicine. I cried. I have never felt like I’d failed as much at anything as I did at pregnancy – the one thing that I felt I was made for.
I was one of the lucky ones. At 5 months pregnant and a few weeks into the diclectin, I’m on the mend. Sick days are fewer and far between. I still take my mornings slow and my evenings short, but I am finally feeling a sense of comfort in carrying a child. A comfort that I believed didn’t exist. Everyday I am in disbelief that God continued to nourish our child through days I could not – that after a month of very little food, Tiny continues to grow.
The lessons I’ve learned throughout this time seem endless. I am greatful for the ability to carry this particular child for as long as I have and hopefully as long as needed, when others often miss this experience. I pray everyday that God’s will be done in our lives, as much as others. I can’t wait for the day that I will get to hold Tiny in my arms and share with them how loved they are.
I decided to write this brutally honest piece about my experience, not to depress you or discourage you, but to instead share that even the most wonderful blessings aren’t without their own trials.
Leaning not on our own understanding is one of the most terrifying yet comforting calls that we could have on our lives.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”