It happened again recently. Someone asks me about how wonderful pregnancy is and I reply with a blank stare and awkward silence. The awkward part, I got. It’s just usually me over-answering and over-sharing. When I found some words, I said, “it’s been really hard.” I’ve been honest about how difficult pregnancy is. Some women have it easier. Some women have it harder. I’ve gotten to know a slew of side-effects and apparently normal happenings of pregnancy. They’ve all thrown me for a loop. Every single one. The existential questions surrounding loss of self and change have made me stumble too. As those have overwhelmed, I need to name the parts of all this that are overwhelmingly wonderful. So, here are a few.
I’ve known unending love and encouragement by women. The Administrator and Financial Administrator at the church preschool have listened to me talk about these new-to-me things without ever saying “get over yourself” which they had every right to do. Between them, they have 6 kids. Girlfriends have fielded text messages that without the context of pregnancy would be cause for major alarm. The women of my church have carried many emotions for me as the trimesters progressed. They’ve been excited when I’ve been scared. They’ve been joyous when I’ve been scared. They’ve been hopeful when I’ve been, well, you get the drift.
This little girl is fully Nick and fully me. Some might say half and half with the way DNA works, but I am a Christian who loves some theology talk. Borrowing the language about how some describe Jesus makes sense here. She is fully Nick and fully me, an embodiment of our commitment to one another and this call that we felt to be parents. She is fully Nick and fully me, because we are fully dedicated to her. Sure, she will probably look more like me. (If you know my family, all the women pop out looking like sisters.) Hopefully, she will have Nick’s arms and legs, eventually able to see the world from a foot above her mother. When I look at her picture from the sonogram, I see both of us whirled together in the mystery of genetic code, a sign that life comes forth even when we were beginning to think it wouldn’t.
I’ve fallen in love with Nick for the second time. Pregnancy is stressful and he’s met me where I am over and over again. It’s not a new trait. That was one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place. I had baggage for a boat trip across the Atlantic when we first met. He helped me unpack and unlearn, relearn and let go. One of the great treasures of our relationship is his forehead-kisses. It would be impossible to count the number of forehead-kisses I’ve received during this pregnancy. Those kisses melt away anything else that is going on. Those kisses remind in the moment that the only thing I know is that I am loved and I can rest right there. Little bit will get an abundance of forehead kisses from Nick and me. My wish for her is that with each one she learns what I’ve learned from them.
Those are my wonderful lessons – for now.