We are presently awaiting the arrival of our third child, a blessing indeed. We have much to be thankful for – not least that my pregnancy has now entered its 33rd week, surpassing our second child’s preterm birth at 30 weeks and now only a few days shy of the 33 weeks + 5 days that I gave birth to our first. Our visions of an even earlier birth have not materialised. We thank God. And we thank Him for this new child joining our family.
This has been a year of growth and blessing and gifts.
And yet, it has been a hard, hard year.
For me, pregnancy is not a time of blooming or blossoming or glowing. This summer, I had extreme pregnancy sickness which rendered me almost entirely bedridden for three months, leaving my husband to deal with the responsibility of children, home, and work. The emotional toll this took on us – as individuals, as a couple – could easily be understated. We were simply overwhelmed, and miserable.
Many times I asked myself why this was happening to us again. Why couldn’t my body get it right just this once? Why couldn’t I harness mind over matter, and overcome the sickness? Why had I wanted another child, knowing that it would in all likelihood confine our family to months of gruelling struggle? Why couldn’t God just take it away?
I felt guilty for bringing this on my husband and my children. I felt ashamed that I was unable to do life as normal. I felt heartbroken that I was missing out on so much that my children were doing.
(I should note here that we were not alone in our struggles. My parents in particular were a fortress of support, taking us in to their home, caring for our children when Nick was unavailable due to work, and serving us sacrificially in so many ways, all while dealing with other difficult issues which cropped up in our wider family at the same time.)
Even at this late stage, I still experience daily nausea, as well as fatigue, insomnia, and pelvic pain. Suffice to say, my body does not react kindly to growing babies.
Through my whole life, I have almost always felt capable. I was top of the class at school. I pushed myself and practised hard to become an accomplished musician. I attended an elite university and succeeded in my studies.
It is so difficult for me to accept that I am not perfect.
Being pregnant for the third time has placed limitations on me. I have had to change my behaviour, adjust my expectations, and slow right down. I have had to accept that I cannot do it all, that our homeschool cannot be everything that I envision, that all the lovely things that I want to do with and for my children and others will have to wait, that my house cannot be entirely clean and picked up all the time.
I have had to ask for help from others.
What a humbling experience for this proud, self-sufficient, capable mama.
In our home, we currently have a four-year-old child who is learning, in baby steps, to ask for help instead of whining when things are tricky or upsetting to him. This is a little picture of how I think God uses our limitations to cause us to lean into Him. When we encounter barriers in our lives, we can either whine, or we can say ‘Lord, this is so hard; I need your help.’
God has profoundly used this time to create in me a heart that realises I am limited, and He is unlimited. He is the one on whom I can depend, all the time, in everything.
May I never forget that He offers rest to those who come to Him. ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’