Any day now I could go into labor with my second baby.
As my hero Glennon Doyle Melton would say, “Sweet Jesus on a bicycle!”
Part of me is ready to be done with this last month of pregnancy (ok, maybe the last 3 months), and meet this little one. I have prepared much better this time and feel much more confident. Another, smaller, part of me feels completely and totally unprepared to bring another baby into our family.
This pregnancy has been different than my pregnancy with Isaac. I haven’t dealt with the depression and anxiety that plagued me in my last pregnancy. I haven’t worried every second that something is wrong with me or the baby. I believe part of the reason is that once you’ve been through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and had some time parenting under your belt, you’ve gain some insight and perspective which helps you to not be so worried. Tony and I have had a rough go at it with Isaac and all his health issues, but I believe it has prepared us to face the unknown with the knowledge that we can and do make it through the hard times.
Another reason is probably because I chase a toddler around all day and don’t have the time I did before to ruminate on all my worries. There have been times where I get half way through the day before I see my reflection in the mirror and think to myself, “Oh yeah! I’m PREGNANT! I totally forgot! Well, that explains a lot.” Taking the focus off myself and putting it on Isaac, Tony, and others has been so healthy and healing for me.
This time around, Tony and I decided that in order to have the unmedicated birth we want, we were going to need some extra support, so we hired an amazing doula to help us through the process from beginning to end. We have an amazing midwife who supports all our desires for this birth and we are giving birth at a small local hospital that is known for it’s support of unmedicated birth and support of breastfeeding mothers. We’ve read books, taken classes, talked to people who have the experience and I feel we are about as prepared as we can be.
So many unknowns, yet so many things I’m much more prepared for this time.
When I first found out we were pregnant again, my main worry was how was I going to take care of a very active toddler and get through this pregnancy without going completely insane. There were times in my first trimester, when I felt so sick and tired that I thought I might be on the brink of losing it. But I didn’t. I cried. I called for help. I took breaks. And I kept going. Here I am at the end of this pregnancy and I see all the ways that God has provided for me so that I could not only “get through” the very real difficulties of being pregnant and caring for a toddler, but thrive and actually love it!
If someone would have told me this pregnancy would be as wonderful as it has been, I wouldn’t have believed them. My previous experience with Isaac most likely would have overshadowed my faith that God could help me make this a wonderful and healing experience.
I only know what I’ve experienced.
God has been talking to me a lot lately about knowing and understanding.
Near the end of Jesus’ ministry on Earth, He had a nice dinner with his disciples where He broke some bread and served some wine and said some pretty crazy things to them about what was about to happen to Him.
He said things about the bread being His body and they were to eat it and the wine being His blood and they were to drink it, all in remembrance of what He was about to endure to rescue us. He did His best to explain to them that the crucifixion was imminent and that they need to have faith that He will raise from the dead.
Imagine you were the one hearing this crazy talk first hand.
Your leader. Your teacher. The One you have given your whole life to. Well, He seems to be talkin’ a bit of nonsense.
The words Jesus spoke at the last supper were so controversial and counter-cultural, and just plain odd, that it would have been difficult for anyone, no matter how much they loved Him, to believe or understand. Even though they had seen His miracles first hand many times before, I believe it was really hard for them to understand how His death, resurrection, and then return to Heaven would be a good thing.
The Messiah they got, wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting.
Jesus, who frequently talked in parables, knew all this would be difficult for them to understand and believe. But, I also believe He wanted to prepare them as much as possible, so He did His best to communicate to them something that they may only understand much later (which was the case with many of His teachings). His desire was that they would not lose their faith, but how do you prepare someone for your death and resurrection? How do you convince your disciples that once you are resurrected, it is best for you to go back to Heaven and leave them to continue to spread the Good News without you (at least in bodily form)?
They didn’t understand. They didn’t know.
They had never experienced this before.
When we find ourselves in a difficult situation in life, our first desire is to gain some sort of control of it. We want to know what the outcome is going to be. We want to know everything is going to be ok. We want to fast forward to the part where it all makes sense and everything is “good” again.
We start to clamor and cling and do everything we can to control the situation. Our desperate need to understand what is happening will drive us to only cling to things that we already understand; our past experiences.
As I prepare to give birth again, this time with no medication, I am faced with the decision to either try to control the outcome (which I can’t), or rest and trust that no matter what happens, God is with me, He is good, He loves me, He is trustworthy, and He works everything out for good (eventually) even if it doesn’t seem so at the time.
If Jesus Himself came into my house right now and tried to explain to me what was about to happen in my life….would I even be able to fully understand it? If I didn’t like what He had to say, it wouldn’t change anything. It would just make me more anxious and less able to see and believe that He is working for the good even through situations I don’t “like”.
We all wish that Jesus would just tell us everything is going to be ok, don’t we?
Well, He does. Many times actually. Too many times to list in my little blog post today.
Jesus talks about fear and trust a lot. He knows it’s hard for us to have faith and move towards Him when we don’t understand. God reminds us a time or two that His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. We are made in His image, but we are NOT Him. We simply cannot understand why things happen the way they do. We want to so badly, because our supposed understanding gives us a sense of control.
So, as I am preparing as best as I can to transition into this new season of life for me and my family, I have decided that I don’t need to fully understand in order to let go and trust God. Understanding and knowledge is important and should be pursued. I’m not talking about not questioning, seeking, and searching. We all need to do that. I’m talking about not doing so from a motivation to try and control our lives and the lives of others in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next days, weeks, and months. Bringing a new little life into the world is amazing and wonderful and also requires adjusting and sacrifice. I pray that if you are finding yourself in a place where you don’t know what is happening to you or how it’s all going to work out, take heart in knowing you are in the same spot as the disciples that saw Jesus and His miracles first hand. Even the folks that touched Jesus’ hand with their hand had a hard time understanding what Jesus was all about and what was going to happen to them. It’s not easy to believe and have faith that everything is going to be ok at some point. I can tell you from my experiences and feelings as of late, that letting go of my need to control, know, and understand everything has brought me so much more peace and enjoyment, even in the hard times.