Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Pregnant

I have only been pregnant for 7 weeks, but as a chronic over-thinker, I have experienced many emotions and thoughts in these short 7 weeks. To clue you all in on how crazy I am, I decided to write some of them down for you.

5 Serious Pregnancy Thoughts

1. I have been chosen for the holiest vocation on earth. The most perfect human being that ever lived was the Blessed Mother and her vocation was to be a wife and mother. I don't know why this didn't occur to me earlier, like when I got married, but for some reason it's just hitting me now. God is asking me to do what he asked Mary to do (to a smaller degree) - to care for and raise His child, to raise that child to be ready to accept the mission God has for him/her. This is an incredible calling and I often get weepy just thinking about it.

2. Pregnancy is motherhood bootcamp. I have had some morning sickness and food aversions, but definitely not as bad as others I know. Despite this, I have acquired the aura of a martyr for my slight pains - I am frustrated that I get sick easily, that I tire easily, that my body no longer belongs just to me. Nearly immediately, pregnancy forces a woman to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of her child. Although at first I was very frightened and more than slightly annoyed, I now realize that God has designed it this way for a reason. Motherhood, being like all other vocations, is a calling to love - and love is to will the good of the other, to sacrifice for their best good. God calls this to mind immediately by making the first trimester such a trial: I am made to focus, immediately and intensely, on the need to forget myself to care for this child. This has been humbling and very difficult, but incredibly important.

3. Christian community is essential. Tom and I originally wanted to wait to tell everyone we were pregnant - at least until we were out of the first trimester, especially since we had miscarried last time. But I found that not telling people was causing me a great deal of anxiety and fear - I had no one to pray with me, no community to rejoice and care for me, no one to speak to of my little one. I realized that even though we do not know what God has planned for our little one, that not speaking of him/her doesn't mean that they don't exist - and I would need the support of our community especially if God chose them for Heaven sooner than we'd like. So we told our parish this last weekend, and I am so glad we did. People cried, laughed, rejoiced with us - our priest blessed us, our friends blessed us, children came up to "say hi to the baby." As I looked at all the people that crowded around to congratulate us, I thought that how glad that I'm not trying to do this without them. Of course it will be hard if our child does not stay for long, but I need this community - I need their prayers, their blessings and support. I need grandmothers to talk to me about what to eat, friends to tell me my feelings are normal, little children to show me what faith is when they look reverently at my (unchanged!) belly. They are teaching me how to love my child through my fear.

4. I have no clue who I married. Don't get me wrong, I always knew my husband was kind and caring. Yet it hasn't been until now that I have realized the depth of his love and compassion. During my struggles with physical infirmity and emotional instability, Tom has cared for my every need. He went from never doing laundry (literally) and being very frugal about eating out, to doing all the housework and never saying a peep about whatever food request I made, with nary a complaint. On days when I feel I can't get out of bed, he insists I stay in and brings me whatever I can get down straight to my pillow. He asks if I'm staying hydrated, encourages me to take naps, and pooh-poohs my apologies about being abysmal at housework. I realize that I cannot be sure I would have been as patient and loving if he were to be ill, and it amazes me that he understands so thoroughly his vocation to love me through service and self-sacrifice. Pregnancy has brought me to a new appreciation of the gift that is my husband.

5. I am a selfish jerk. I don't think I ever realized this before. Don't laugh - I know that I'm a sinner, but I think I always had a problem thinking "well yea I'm not great, but hey Lord, at least I'm not THAT guy." My mom told me that she and my dad had been concerned about me getting married, because they both know how independent I am. But then they realized that Tom would always let me have my way and they relaxed (I'm not kidding - this is what she said!!). Yet when we started TTC (trying to conceive), my mom said she's had her concerns again. "I don't think you realize how independent you are," she explained to me over the phone. "You always find a way to do what you want - and what you want is usually some sort of adventure." I have never thought about myself that way, but I guess I can see where that comes from: I wanted to study abroad at Oxford, so I did; I wanted to go to Australia, so I did; wanted to leave DC and go to law school, so I did. I have never thought about life as having limits - to be fair, I don't think I was ever taught to (that's all you, Mom).
Now I am faced with this pregnancy and there are things I cannot do. I can't make it through the day without a nap. I can't eat whatever I want, either because of sickness or health concerns. I can't have a few margaritas. I can't run outside (no, really - I tried, and almost passed out). I am faced with physical limitations that I have never experienced before, since I have lived my life as a mostly healthy privileged young woman. It has been incredibly difficult for me - I resent not being able to drink, not being about to get through my day doing whatever I usually do, my need to ask for help. I have realized how selfish I am that I am so used to having my life my way and so begrudging about the slightest accommodation for the this blessing I have been praying for, for quite some time. I am not who I thought I was - because I was giving out of my excess, not out of my poverty. Now I am having to give from what I do not have to give - I do not have stores of patience and peace from which to draw. I am squeezing blood from my stony heart. It is an amazing experience to have during Lent - God is calling me to sacrifice and I am learning what that really means.


  1. Martha, you are a beautiful Spirit filled woman and it is refreshing and encouraging to read your insights about becoming a mother. It was a bit of a kick in the butt for me as this pregnancy has been the most emotionally wracking one. God bless you and your little one.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Despite having these "insights," I don't seem to be any better at dealing with feeling bad...if you figure out how to get out of the emotionally wracking stage, let me know how!!

  2. I, too, am very independent and wonder how that will fit into marriage and motherhood! But God must have put those desires in me, so He'll figure out a way to work if these desires are His will for the future. Congrats on the baby, and I enjoy reading your blog! :-)

    1. Honestly marriage hasn't been that difficult for me so far...although I am very independent, I find submitting to my husband a joy because I love and respect him so very much. I think you'll find the same with the man you ultimately marry. Of course, I've only been married 8 months, so hey, maybe I'm just naive...
      Thanks for the compliments and the comments! It's nice to know someone is reading!


Comments make me feel like I'm not just talking to myself or the government (because I know the government secretly reads my blog). Help me feel less crazy - comment away!