It’s almost instantaneous. I am talking about the weird mental shift you feel once you pass your fertility road block. For over a year and a half my heart longed for the reassurance that a healthy baby could grow in my belly. My road block was a heartbeat. The eight weeks of waiting were torture. All I truly wanted was the peace of mind that I could make it past my first couple of appointments and into the second trimester. For some women its news that the egg implanted after IVF and for others it’s finally holding that precious life after 40 weeks.
Whatever it is, preparing for a baby can be a 180 degree mental shift from longing for one. I myself have struggled to figure out how to celebrate this life growing in me with faith (not fear), how to handle an unexpected feeling of guilt, and how to prepare for motherhood in a short few months.
I think the hardest part of this pregnancy has been trusting God, not patterns. It can be a challenge to forget the statistics, to forget the doctor’s cautions, and to forget the painful memories that are hard to shake. But God is a pattern breaker. God transformed the heart of a tax collector and made him one of the greatest disciples for his glory. God told a man to build an arc before the human race had ever seen rain and his faith saved his family. Even when an infertile couple was decades past their fertile years God fulfilled his promise to provide their blood line land through the birth of a son. If I let the past dictate what I believe I lack faith in God’s ability to form my future.
My journey started with a number of conversations that included phrases such as “I am so sorry” and “I will set up a meeting with a genetics counselor” and “this cancer is very rare for a women of your age.” Since August the conversations have changed drastically, “the heartbeat looks great” and “when can we throw you a shower” and “all traces of cancer are gone.”
I have learned a great lesson being on both sides of this journey. The difficult seasons are a great reminder of our helplessness. It can be so easy to get lazy and forget God’s grace. How desperate are your prayers when you have hit the wall? How consistent is your conversation with God when the pain follows you around? I now challenge myself to try and approach my time with God (scripture reading, prayer, worship) with the same eagerness no matter my circumstance.
The more I connect with women in this private club that no one wants to be a part of the more thankful I am for my personal journey. Yes, the road has been hard but it has forced me to surrender control to God. Although it wasn’t automatic and it’s a learning process, the moment I started to let go was the moment the pain started to slowly but surely wash away. This attempt to surrender everything started back in May (and I am still working on it!)
There is also an odd since of guilt that I feel at times for having the storms subside instantaneously. How many times did I question God? How little was my faith during the eight week window before my first ultrasound? Deep down I know there was nothing I did throughout the storms that somehow got me to the other side. There wasn’t a perfect prayer I prayed, there wasn’t a specific action, lifestyle change, or anything else that has allowed me to enjoy this miracle. It is by grace alone that I am enjoying a season of fertility. It is by grace alone that it continues. I am just as undeserving as anyone else.
So how in the world do I take a deep breath and forget what lies behind and focus on what lies ahead? How do I prepare for this new addition to our family due to make her appearance in four months? How is it possible to still feel the pain of two losses and the joy of this growing baby all at the same time?
First, I am challenging myself to take the guilt of feeling undeserved and transform it into thankfulness for this miracle. When I focus on the guilt I am focusing on me, not God. But when I accept with open arms this gift with admiration and joy I know it brings glory to God and puts the focus back on Him.
I also do my best to leave the rest to God. I listen to my body and trust God will take care of the rest. I try to eat right and let God take care of the rest. I ask for healing and peace about my losses and let God take care of the rest. When I do this I realize I never had control in the first place. Isn’t it nice that we are not asked to be in control of something beyond our control?
Another thing that helps me prepare is I take advice from friends and family. I ask for recommendations on the best books to read, the best foods to keep Morgan healthy as she grows, the best items to put on my registry, and what exercises are best. Of course, I don’t have to use all the advice I am given but it helps me lay out a plan that works for my family.
I have found nothing entertains me more than when I listen to the variety of birthing stories my friends share. From water births to two hours of drug free pushing to quick five minute deliveries to C-sections; every women wears her story with pride. Of course, I am convinced no matter how this baby comes out I too will one day wear my story with pride (and think it is the best way). I have stopped stressing about the birthing details.
So to all the women who have finally made it past their road block… to all the women who can barely breath because the finish line is finally within reach… enjoy the ride… think about how strong you have become… take a deep breath and let go of the fear… because the miracle of life is beyond anyones control.