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It feels like most of 2011 was overwhelmed by thoughts of pregnancy, battles with nausea and vomiting and food. But as I look back, I remember that I was once myself. In the early months of 2011, it was just me. I was a tiny bird. Flying solo. I look back at pictures of my pre pregnancy self in awe. Who is that person?
Above is a picture of my mum and I, just a few weeks prior to conception.
Below, a very pregnant me at 29 weeks (7 months) taken 2 weeks ago.
Before getting pregnant (and before things started to look brighter at 30 weeks), I loved to escape into the exotic warmth of world music, collect things, make things, rearrange things, cook things. My mind was a blank slate, free from trials and pre-baby to do lists. I made an effort. I could squat and feel my bones, rather than foreign flesh hugging my calves. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever and called it dinner. I didn’t gain a pound, weighing the same for the past…8 years. I drank big cups of coffee, sipped wine and frothy hefeweizens. I loved to throw parties. I could walk and run and hurry to catch the bus. Running errands wasn’t an all day affair but a part of life. I had friends in every corner of the city (and then they all moved away, down to my best friend, moving across the country in my first trimester).
I understand that pregnancy can be hard and isolating. I know what it feels like to be alone, swallowing the lump in my throat (or letting it all hang out in flashes of tears so hot and real). I felt like I was fighting my own battles, slamming my fists onto the bathroom floor, asking “Why, why, why Lord?”
One day my midwife looked at me, during the dark days of the early second trimester. She leaned over, placed her hands on her knees and looked right at me.
“Are you doing okay? You know this is hard, right? You’re sick well past the first trimester, and that sucks. How is your support network?”
My bottom lip trembled and I felt that icky tingly feeling you get right before you know you’re going to cry but really don’t want to.
“I–I…don’t really have anyone, besides my husband. I have amazing people in my life. But most of them live far away. Many have moved. I miss my mum…I’m afraid—I’m afraid no one will bring me casseroles after the baby is born!”
And then I sobbed, right there in her office. I couldn’t stop. But then I did. And I felt that woozy warmth right after a good cry and sighed.
“You’re going to make it, Michaela. You are strong. You are a mother.”
Whether it was me or my midwife saying those words, I can’t tell.
And just like that, I was healed. God began to bring a new community into my life. I felt alive once again. God, with all his wondrous love, came down and spoke to my broken heart and lifted me from the dust. He strengthened my weary bones and filled my mother heart with an iron clad determination to survive, to thrive.
I wouldn’t trade this journey in for the world. I am a home. I ferociously cover a child with my skin, my hands, my prayers. Though it has been hard, and has pulled me down roads that are often isolating and mysterious, I know that the bright days of motherhood are coming around the corner. I don’t know if every mother feels this way before the baby comes, but I know it’s a very unique place to be, a very holy place that demands time and marination and thought.