When I was pregnant with Chase, I couldn't help but think, Why can't this pregnancy thing be easy for me, for once?
My first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth. I was on strict bedrest early on in my second pregnancy for a couple weeks and modified bedrest for the second half of it. Then with my third pregnancy, I was told early on that something could be wrong with my baby, and later on I had too much amniotic fluid and a bad placenta, among other things. I had endless contractions for the last two pregnancies, and terrible morning sickness with all three.
I didn't think it was fair. Pregnancy was so taxing - physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it. Yes, I was so thankful for my babies, but seriously…WHY WAS PREGNANCY SO HARD?!
But now I know better.
I've written about why it's not a good idea to compare crosses, but I don't know if I even fully understood what I was writing. Yes, we all struggle with something. And God allows those struggles, that suffering, to draw us closer to Him. Motherhood is special in that there are so many opportunities to offer ourselves up for the good of our little ones….and it starts with pregnancy.
But for some reason I wasn't even thinking about my difficult pregnancies being one of my crosses. I mean, yeah, pregnancy is hard - it's hard for every woman, even if they don't have issues! So I think I feel a little guilty considering it a "cross", especially since so many women endure the pain of infertility and would probably give anything just to be pregnant.
Really, though, a cross can come in so many forms. It's whatever pushes you to your breaking point and makes you constantly look to God for help. And that's pregnancy for me - I have to trust that my baby is going to be okay (after losing my first baby so unexpectedly and painfully), that God will provide to pay those medical bills, that our family will survive those months of me unable to do much, and that I will not completely lose my mind (if you've read this blog during my last two pregnancies, you know what I'm talking about…).
So even though I'm blessed in a way, that my cross of rough pregnancies is temporary and ultimately ends in me holding a healthy baby (God-willing), it's still really, really hard to get through it. I'm sure some women who are really fertile can attest to that, too - having several babies in just a few years is obviously a blessing…but still hard.
When I was pregnant with Chase, I kept focusing on how most women had relatively easy pregnancies, breastfed their babies with ease, and just popped out one baby after another like it was nothing. And here I was, reaching my breaking point not even halfway through my pregnancies. Following my ridiculous pregnancies were difficult breastfeeding experiences. Although nursing Chase was better, breastfeeding literally drains me, physically and emotionally - and I still have to supplement.
I've spent the last several years wishing that all of those things would just be easy for once. After all, that's what women were created to do! Grow and feed children. Oh, how silly I was…
Because while I struggle during those months of pregnancy and those first few months of breastfeeding, there are many moms who struggle day in and day out with just life in general.
Babies that hate to sleep. Toddlers that hate to sleep. Toddlers that literally climb the furniture and need strict supervision every minute of every day to prevent an ER visit. Kids with severe food allergies. Kids with special needs. Kids with medical conditions. Heck, some women go through hell and back just to get pregnant. And some struggle with depression. Others have to figure out how to raise their kids while in an unequally yoked marriage. The list goes on and on…
I have to admit that I have good kids (and I might regret saying this one day, ha!). Sure, Landon had - and still occasionally has - his moments of being extremely strong-willed. And Chase has decided he can only sleep at night if attached to me. Other than that, though, our daily life is pretty good. I'm not losing my mind every day - although it does happen from time to time. ;)
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can't have it all! But you can choose to see the joy amongst the struggles of motherhood. It's so easy to focus on what you don't have instead of what you do have. But where's the joy in that? Life is hard sometimes. A lot of times, actually. And our saving grace is that there is still always something to be thankful for.
My last two pregnancies, I did a pretty terrible job at focusing on the joys in life. Like really terrible. But now I'm focusing on the good things - the baby giggles, the toddler learning to say new words, and just how darn blessed I am to be able to stay home with them, all day, everyday.
And hopefully next time I'm pregnant, God-willing, I'll still be able to focus on the good things. Because there are many! (Please remind me of that if/when the time comes, okay?)
"Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape." – Charles Dickens