These days, I feel like I hear so many women complaining about being pregnant and focusing on the stretch marks and the sleepless nights instead of the miracle and blessing of the new life growing inside of them. I myself am guilty of it, and I know that I spent too much time focusing on some of the more “inconvenient” and “uncomfortable” aspects of pregnancy (like here, here, and here) instead of the miraculous ones.
So, I totally get it.
Towards the end of my pregnancy with my daughter, I was so anxious to just be done. I literally had at least 5 different countdowns to her due date at my desk at work that I kept hidden in drawers and underneath my keyboard, just so my coworkers wouldn’t know how obsessive I was about “getting through” the final months of pregnancy. I was so excited to be done with the aches and the pains, done with the swelling and the sweating, and to finally meet my baby.
As a matter of fact, I was so excited to be done being pregnant that I had a hard time imagining that I’d ever actually want to be pregnant again. I’d even question my mom’s sanity for ever willingly going through it more than one time. And I’d think to myself, just how long will it take for me to recover from the nine months that felt like nine years of being “fat and pregnant”, the trauma of giving birth, and the following months of adjusting to life with a newborn before I ever actually want to be pregnant again?
Well, yesterday, I got my answer.
It happened last night while my husband and I were meeting with our small group for bible study. There was a new couple joining us, and for some reason, when I walked into the room and saw her beautiful pregnant belly, I felt a pang of jealousy for the first time since having my daughter 8 months ago. I actually missed my pregnant belly. And in that moment, I suddenly realized just how much I actually loved being pregnant.
I’m not sure why it hit me when it did, but I sure am glad that it did. It’s like for some reason, in that moment, I finally understood the “pregnancy glow” for the first time, and I wanted it again for myself. I realized that it’s not so much an actual physical glow as it is an understanding. It’s an understanding that from the moment you find out you are pregnant, you get to enjoy the daily anticipation of getting to meet a new little human who will rely on you, need you, and love you. It is an indescribable joy you feel in knowing that this baby will be a permanent part of your life that you won’t be able to imagine living without from the moment you lay eyes on them. And it’s a unique type of relief that you feel when your job, your finances, or any other stressors that used to overwhelm your life suddenly seem so insignificant compared to how much more you suddenly care about the little life growing inside of you.
And that’s what is so beautiful.
I’m actually pretty ashamed to admit that it took me so long to realize what an amazing, miraculous, and joy-filled time those nine months actually were. It took me far too long to realize that the blessing of getting to experience a daily growing love for this little human far outweighed the inconvenience of my growing ankles and waistline. And it took me far too long to get over myself and my needs, to realize what an amazing gift I was given, and to actually desire to be pregnant again.
Now, let me be clear. I’m still not ready to actually have another baby anytime soon (unless of course God has plans that I don’t know about). Being pregnant and actually having a baby are still two separate things in my mind, one of which I am still not ready for.
One step at a time.
But at least now I know that if I ever have the privilege of carrying another baby, instead of dreading those 9 months, I am actually looking forward to it. I am excited for the growing belly, the sweet sweet sound of my little one’s heartbeat at doctor appointments, and those first precious little flutter kicks and jabs to the ribcage. And hopefully, next time around, I’ll remember that every single day my belly grows is a reminder that God is continuing to miraculously knit together new life inside of me. I’ll remember that getting to experience those 9 months is not a given, but a precious gift. And most of all, I will remember to be thankful each and every day that He is entrusting me to take care of his child and to be their mother, whether that lasts for 9 days, 9 months, or hopefully, a lifetime.