Can I be honest? Pregnancy is an absolute miracle every time… but it can lose some of its “magic” appeal when you’ve been on the rodeo a few times… Especially when you are experiencing severe sickness. This fourth time around has forced me on the same digestive roller coaster the others have, yet is has only grown worse. Some of you know this ride all too well, and some of you are saying, Hmm… I’ve heard some women get sick in pregnancy, it just never happened to me.
Um. I try very hard to not be jealous of you in the latter group. Very hard. And yet I know there is another group of women that would give anything to be sick for nine months if it promised they would hold a child at the end. I have seen the pain of infertility up close, and my heart breaks for every woman—single or married—that has waited for the desire for motherhood to be fulfilled. It is a tremendous blessing, and I do not take it lightly that I have been allowed to carry another child. My heart in this post is just to encourage and strengthen the women who are ill in pregnancy, not to belittle the miracle bestowed upon us.
As I was spending yet another challenging morning on the couch, trying to homeschool my kindergartener and care for my toddlers, and prep for my teaching jobs, I received a voicemail from a dear friend. She felt led to pray for me because she knew I had been sick for weeks and was struggling to make it through each day. At one point in the message, she said, “Lord, help her to see that she is mothering this child already.”
Her words broke through my discouraged heart, and gave me purpose. Really, Lord? Am I really ‘mothering’ this little one? As I pondered this question before the Lord, I realized it was true. I am watching my nutrition (as much as my vomiting reflexes will allow me to!), taking special vitamins, making sure I drink enough water, lying in the best positions for the baby, protecting my womb from the onslaught of three energetic boys, and actually taking some attention away from those three boys to provide for this new baby… Clearly, the answer is yes! I am already mothering this child.
To be honest, the first half of the pregnancy has always been harder for me than the newborn phase. I adore babies, and I have been able to take the sleep deprivation in stride because of the joy each of my newborns has brought me. Embracing God’s masterful handiwork in all of the intricate details of a baby seems natural…. Delighting in the nauseating, exhausting months of pregnancy are harder for me to rejoice in, however. (Please allow me to sneak in some pictures of me delighting in my babies here, because I need to remember how amazing that season is—and that is approaching again for me!)
With this revelation, a flood of Scriptures came to my mind.
“...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
“...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Perhaps pregnancy is a powerful opportunity to love as Christ does.
When we are offered nothing (immediate) in return.
Hoping for the future blessing.
Let me be clear that I am not for a moment saying that my hours spent bending over a porcelain stool compare with the blood that was shed by my precious Savior; rather, that I may follow in His sacrificial example of love in a small way in this season. There is something holy about loving without expectation, immediate reward, and with pain. Loving this child when it is offering me nothing is an act of faith, hope, and love. The promise at the end doesn’t negate the sacrifice. It validates it.
And I haven’t even touched on the spiritual implications of the delivery! I think I’ll save that for another post!
If you are experiencing some of the side effects of pregnancy right now, I pray this encourages and strengthens you to love well, dear sister.