I've reached the point where even sitting is becoming uncomfortable, my half-moon belly pressing out as if it's expanding by the minute, shaking and quivering as the baby rolls around inside. Even as I watch my body bounce involuntarily, it's almost impossible to believe that there's a baby in there, with a face and toes and little ears that can recognize my voice.
I think about all the things I wondered about before now, all the things I wanted to ask my pregnant friends. Is it utterly bizarre having a baby inside of you? Does it change how you act and think and feel about the world? Does any of it even seem real?
And, in answering my own questions, I would say to Heather of seven months ago that pregnancy is still just as much of a mystery now as it ever was. That the craziest thing about being pregnant is that, for the most part, it's not that crazy. It doesn't take over my thoughts, it doesn't require any effort on my part aside from popping a prenatal vitamin every morning. My body goes from one pregnancy phase to the next seamlessly, as I run my business and do the dishes and pick up dinner from the grocery store.
I expected drama and conflicting emotions and sleepless nights of inner turmoil and fear of the unknown. Instead, people ask if I've made a baby registry yet and I say, "Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting about that." Do I have the nursery decorated? Have I gone into nesting mode? Have I toured the hospital? Hmm, no, I keep meaning to...
For a girl who spent her entire marriage completely freaked out about ever getting pregnant and having kids, this lackadaisical, somewhat irresponsible approach is an amusing relief.
A big part of my story the last few years is how terrified I was to have kids. Even to the point where Trevor and I had serious conversations about whether we wanted them at all. I told myself that I wasn't into kids, which was never a hard thing to convince myself of after any given trip to Target. I began to make lists (actual, written out lists) of why it would be in my best interest not to have them, and I comforted myself with my stubborn resistance to "giving in" like all those moms my age who clearly had no imagination for living a life outside of the stereotypical.
When Trevor and I were first married, we talked casually about starting a family one day, putting ourselves on a five year plan and agreeing not to think much of it until that fifth anniversary. Sounded like a plan to me. Until we reached that third year, and the fourth, and the whole getting pregnant thing became less hypothetical and more of a looming reality that looked a whole lot like losing all the things I loved about our quiet, simple life together.
And somewhere in the last few years I completely lost my cool. Suddenly all of my friends were having babies, coming to church with poop on their shirts and not able to hang out past dinnertime. People began to make cutesy comments at baby showers about it being my turn soon, and I smiled and thought to myself, "Gosh I hope not." I wandered down the baby aisle at Target one day out of curiosity and almost had a mental breakdown at all the gadgets and contraptions that seemed to only exist in blinding primary colors.
I became quite vocal about not wanting to have a baby.
And then, I don't know quite when, but not very long ago the Lord began to shift some things around in my heart. He showed me that, deep down, I really did want babies. I really was called to be a mom. But I was clinging to fear, and it was time I let go. Little by little, somewhat subconsciously, I began to unclench my fists. God's voice became louder over time, in the recesses of my heart and in blatantly obvious signs, that it was time to take the step of faith and walk into the story He'd written for me.
Anyone who has ever stepped out in faith for anything will tell you that it is, quite paradoxically, the most freeing thing you can do. And from the moment I said "yes", that feeling hasn't gone away. I've been swimming in freedom and joy, the very things I thought I could only experience in clinging to my non-motherhood existence.
I used to worry about so many things - the decisions I'd have to make about vaccines and public schools, losing my identity, the weight of bringing an eternal soul into the world (can you tell I'm a big picture person?) But now that this baby is here (more or less), I realize that I don't have to figure out the big picture. I just have to take it one day, one decision, one lesson at a time and let God take care of the rest.
When I first announced my pregnancy in a post several months back, I got a comment about how "annoyingly flippant" my decision to get pregnant was. And I can't help but grin at that, because it was a decision that took me all of five years to finally come to. One of the hardest decisions of my life became something that has brought me so much peace, and I am forever grateful that I looked at Trevor one June afternoon and said, "Okay, let's do it."
I know it'll be hard, so much harder than I can imagine. But I can see now just how good it'll be, too. There's nothing like taking a big leap outside of your comfort zone to teach you how to completely rely on the Lord, and I think I'm ready to start depending more on Him and less on me. I'm ready to be the mom grinning at her baby even with poop on her shirt. I'm ready to lose some of my freedoms and independence in exchange for a little girl, a daughter, our Karey Ireland. I haven't even seen her face outside of those grainy early ultrasounds, but I am already so sure there is nothing more valuable to me than that, than her.