30 weeks of pregnancy have flown by… I’ve finally started to experience the all-over body aches and pains of having a heavy & huge-feeling belly. Whether I’m sitting or standing, riding in a car, or lying on a soft bed, everything seems to hurt (in an uncomfortable, dull-pain kind of way). Every time I acknowledge the uncomfortableness, I try to thank God that these unpleasant symptoms waited this long to show up, and that it’s so close to being “over.” Only 7 to 9 more weeks to go and we get to meet our new baby boy!
It’s amazing how different this pregnancy is from when I had my 4 year old! We had been married for 3 years, but we were terrified at the prospect of actually being parents. I had never been around babies (let alone infants), and had never even changed a diaper. We were still in college (both of us!), and working part time jobs… how we’d be able to manage being good parents as well, was beyond us. (Side note: We definitely read a few great books together in those months, we did what we always do as a couple, search out knowledge and wisdom of what works and what doesn’t).
My son was a surprise – one that I wrestled with in my own struggle to see myself as capable of being a competent mother. I would look at our other married friends, most of whom were older, and compare myself to their having kids in their 30’s, I looked at my own mother, who didn’t have her first child (me) until she was 32 and had been married for 8 years – it was one of the only times I’ve actually felt envy (something I normally am not tempted by ever). I envied their experience, maturity, and confidence in their parenting, and I viewed myself as “less than” because of my young age (23 throughout the pregnancy, and then 24 when he was an infant).
We were extremely short on resources and went to Planned Parenthood for a free official pregnancy test so that we could receive governmental aid (yes, we were that poor & that naïve/irresponsible in failing to plan effectively for a possible pregnancy). The nurse was a woman probably in her 40’s, she looked nervous when she gave me the positive results – and asked me quickly if I wanted the baby. If I didn’t the next step would be to plan for & schedule the abortion. My own answer surprised myself, I had been tempted in the weeks before this appointment to consider abortion (but we went into this appointment knowing we would keep it). When faced with this question directly, I was suddenly very sure I wanted this baby -studying biology in undergrad, I knew there was only “one chance” for this uniquely designed child – the same child would never come together in a masterpiece of DNA and personality ever again, in the whole universe. The nurse let out an audible breath of relief perhaps, and looked happy for me – congratulating me on the confirmed pregnancy.
Did I want this baby? Such a loaded question. To be heartbreakingly honest with you, no I didn’t “want a baby”… it was most definitely not the right timing for us, and I didn’t feel like I had any business being someone’s mother that young when I still had so much to figure out about life for myself. You might think that since I was married that it would somehow make a difference, but I know I’ve seen that married couples use abortion just the same when birth control fails and they aren’t “ready yet” or at the time of life or their careers that they had imagined themselves to be when ready for children. It’s ignorant to assume that only un-wed teens use abortion to fix irresponsibility. The sad and sobering fact is that many people use abortion even when married or in a stable financial relationship.
Unwanted… “a” baby was unwanted… but this baby, my baby, my first born & conceived child to be… yes! I did want this baby. It was in this transition of accepting this unborn child as a gift from God that gave me a renewed faith in the midst of my unethically-based, scientific studies I was immersed in during my undergrad.
This pregnancy is just so beautifully different. I’m so different. I know what kind of mother I am, my son is turning out amazing and wonderful, he knows he is “my treasure” and returns such a beautiful appreciative love back to me! The family that we’ve created is just so beautiful. My husband was always an amazing man, but he’s become more so with fatherhood – he is beyond comparison when it comes to leading us as a family – and setting a perfect example for my son to follow. There’s a different atmosphere that we’ve created – the atmosphere of a beautiful family that is involved in not only our son’s life, but the lives of others that we reach out to in our community. I’m no longer naïve and feel too young, I get to help and mentor teens that come to me with questions about sex and their high school relationships, and I understand how to actually help them. I’ve experienced firsthand, God’s perfect ways, and He’s given me a confidence and compassionate heart to be able to mentor without judgment, but with assurance of what is right or wrong. Teens are not looking for someone who will just passively listen to them, I’ve had girls ask me outright what the right thing to do is – they want solid answers from someone they can admire and trust – someone who’s life looks beautiful to them. It’s sobering the kind of integrity of character I better have so that my life doesn’t hurt them in some way – we have IMMENSE responsibility as women who are nearing 30 and above – to live a righteous life for the ones who are watching us, that are younger and desperately needing examples to follow. I am actively seeking out who God wants me to be, but I also appreciate who is the woman I’ve become throughout these years. I’ve successfully managed our household, raised a child through their toddler and infancy stages, built a beautiful marriage most people would kill for, and have tried to learn from and admit my mistakes and personal failures in order to see God use them in a redemptive way.
I recently was misunderstood by a friend, and accused of being “set in my ways” because I have convictions in controversial topics, but the reality is that I’ve spent years now searching out truth and trying to discern what is right or wrong, we are called to “stand firm” in God’s truths – our children, our friends, spouses, family members, and people who look up to us need us to have strong convictions. It doesn’t mean we have to be judgmental, in fact we are charged with needing to have mercy and tender gentleness, but mercy and tender gentleness does not equate with “weakness” of convictions or a lukewarm kind of wishy-washy faith that is ultimately useless as it gives no one direction when they view our lives looking for solid answers.
God calls us to be merciful, kind, loving men and women, but also to have “iron in our bones,” and to stand firm in our faith – to admonish each other (warn each other), and help each other become who we are supposed to be (encourage each other in spiritual growth).
I’m excited in this stage of life, we’re so ready for this new baby boy, and can’t wait hold him and see the person he’s going to become.