4 Lessons Pregnancy Reinforced
There were days I felt like I would have to experience the physical discomfort pregnancy brought me forever! (...and just when I thought that was over, here comes all the feels of breastfeeding!)
Pregnancy like any other life cycle, is a process—a beautiful one at that. And in many ways, it grew me up.
Below are 4 Lessons Pregnancy Reinforced:
1. Some things are still sacred.
Danny and I made it a point to keep our pregnancy news offline. We decided we would share once baby arrived safely, and even then, only when we were ready. I’m sure between the two of us we had several different reasons but at the heart of it was this belief that something sacred was happening here.
The entire process of childbirth, from conception to delivery, is nothing short of a miracle. And I believe it should be regarded with reverence, and an awe-filled understanding that the hand of God is at work.
In this day and age, it’s easy to take lightly, treat flippantly, and make common, sacred things that should still cause us to pause with awe and wonder. And with the advent of social media and phrases like, “Pictures or it didn’t happen,” it’s easy to feel pressured to document and parcel out everything, with the world in real time, rather than simply being present.
It was important for me to be present with this pregnancy. I wanted this to be something Danny and I kept for ourselves for as long as possible. I wanted to imprint every change on my heart. I needed the time to process what was happening. I wanted to intentionally share the news with our family and friends in personal ways, because real human interaction still matters. I also wanted to be sensitive to those who are trying to conceive, dealing with infertility, and/or trying to heal and find comfort after a miscarriage.
As someone who shares pretty regularly, I also wanted to avoid the temptation to exploit this beautiful experience, because it’s so easy to “share” online for the sole purpose to gain followers, curious new readers, and likes. I wanted my motives to be pure when it came time to share.
This isn’t a knock for anyone who has ever done things differently, just insight into why Danny and I opted to go this route.
2. Newer doesn’t equal better.
“Tradition” seems to be a bad word in our society. We prefer words like unconventional, modern, contemporary, and relevant. The “old-fashioned” way is often the long way (read: too time consuming and inconvenient) and the outdated way (read: disconnected and out of touch).
As consumers we have been trained to believe that newer is better—that’s why we rush to buy the latest version of our “old” phone.
But the truth is, newer doesn’t always equal better.
The facts speak for themselves.
Social media is the new way of connecting with people, and yet people are feeling more lonely and isolated than ever before. (See: Psychology Today) Never has there been so much new medication and technology available to Obstetricians and yet maternal death is still happening at an alarming rate, especially among Black women. (See: NPR and the New York Times)
This pregnancy forced me to seek out the best way in different areas, and more often than not it led me to take the traditional, often more difficult and inconvenient route. And I have yet to be disappointed by the results.
3. Good communication still requires effort.
Good communication is still key to a happy and healthy marriage and it still requires effort, a desired pregnancy doesn’t change that.
I can’t tell you how many times throughout my pregnancy I heard that married couples have a hard time once baby arrives. Whether its management of household chores, your financial situation, finding the time for quality time, sex, and/or just being plain exhausted, a lot changes for married couples with a new baby.
It’s easy to assume that both of you are on the same page because you both love this precious new baby and want the best for your newly expanded family, but communication is never optional, even when things seem straightforward.
Since Malachi’s arrival, Danny and I have found ourselves doing our best to talk more and more—addressing our assumptions and doing our best to articulate and reconcile any expectations of the other person we may have. And we’re not perfect, but we’re making strides. Sometimes we’d both rather put off the conversations because they do require effort, but we know that wouldn’t get us anywhere, and we got places to go!
And good communication isn’t always about the hard conversations, it’s just as much telling a person what’s going right as it is speaking about how things can be improved. It’s taking a moment to say "goodnight" and "I love you" after a long day and in anticipation of a short night. It’s a word of encouragement. It’s letting the other person know you see them and all they’re doing to promote the health of your family and union. But that too requires effort and thoughtfulness, especially when you’re running on a sleep deficit.
Make time for each other. Have that talk. Keep laughing.
4. If it’s on my plate, I can eat it.
This one is deeply personal. Pregnancy, and especially labor and delivery was challenging, at some points it felt impossible, but I made it to the other side. To God be the glory! If pregnancy taught me anything, it’s that with God, I can do the impossible. Nobody else could have this baby for me, I would have to see this pregnancy through to the end.
I have been guilty of feeling like God has put too much on my plate at times. But through this experience I have become convinced that if it’s on my plate, I can eat.
I may not always like what’s on my plate (read: how things look), it may not always taste good (read: feel good), but if God put it there, its because it’s good for me and because I can stomach it (read: handle it). After all, God made my digestive system and He's the Master Chef, so He knows!
This only works, if God is the one making the plate.
Because there are times when we as humans try to make our own plates only to find out we have bitten off much more than we can chew.
Still, God is always waiting on us to relinquish control to Him so that His will can be done as He works things out for our good.
Pregnancy required so much me, and I know motherhood will demand even more. But it's also given me a lot, especially in the form of these reminders. Now, more than ever, I’m ready and willing to devote my entire self to the process.