|23 weeks, while we were in California|
The due date is an easy one to answer.
But "how are you feeling?" is a bit trickier.
You see, physically, pregnancy is hard for me. I know many women have it so much harder, so I can't complain (and I try not to...really I do), but I get very uncomfortable, very early on. My bones hurt, I have mountain-loads of braxton hicks contractions all day every day, and I can hardly waddle around WalMart without needing to sit down because my hips and bones just ache. And I've got a long time to go still.
this third time around,
I'm happy. Happy to be pregnant. Happy to be carrying life. Happy to be bringing another darling squishy baby into my arms.
And so, I feel great. Grateful. Really and truly.
The past two pregnancies I've been miserable, and this time, I'm not. (Now, we'll not even talk about ten weeks from now...but I'm doing my very very best to stay positive, maybe I can keep it up?) I feel the same, maybe even a little worse than the first two times physically, but I am in such a better place mentally and emotionally that I really do feel better.
There are a few things that have changed me this time.
First of all, when Ellie was born, Nicholas was just barely two, still just a baby himself, really. And I knew I loved babies and having children, but I really didn't know much more than that.
Now that my kids are a teeny bit older, I'm beginning to glimpse the true joy that these little people bring into my life.
I cannot wait to have more of them. I'm so baby hungry that my arms just ache. March cannot come soon enough.
The thing that has changed me even more than that, though, is simply understanding more about the divine nature of pregnancy and birth.
I just finished reading The Gift of Giving Life, and I wish that every pregnant woman would read this book.
This might sound trite, but it has truly changed me, my life.
There's a difference between suffering and sorrow.
There's a difference between pain and anguish.
There's a difference between bringing forth children in sorrow and in work. Yes, bearing children is hard hard work. But it does not have to be sorrow.
Through scriptures, discussion, and stories, this book has changed my attitude, and made me so very grateful that I get to be a part of this process.
Yes, it's hard. But that's actually the beautiful thing about it.
It's hard because it is supposed to be hard. That does not mean it is supposed to be miserable. Difficulty does not equal misery.
My favorite lesson out from this book so far is this:
Our loving and omnipotent Father in Heaven created us. And we know that all He does is for our benefit and because He loves us. He could have made this process easy, painless, and simple. But He did not. He loves us perfectly, so there must be a reason.
My thought? Sacrificing ourselves, our bodies, our comfort, our health to bring life into this world makes us more like our Savior, because that is exactly what He did to bring life to all mankind. A quote from the book: "Someone had to do this so that [my son] could receive a body, and he could not do it for himself."
In becoming a mother, "a woman must show her trust in herself, her trust in God, and be consciously involved in a deliberate act of creation by giving her heart, might, mind and strength to what is before her." (p. 253)
This physical process is so hard that it by nature brings us closer to Him, forces us to turn to Him, to rely on Him. And the joy that comes from doing so is a glimpse of heaven.
"One thing is very clear in a study of joy in the scriptures. It is known to us only as we have practical knowledge of the dark and the light of human experience....the significance of observing the light of joy intensified by the darkness of sorrow....the peaceful spirit that flows through [a woman] following the extreme exertion of childbirth--is that it brings the realization that joy is not easily won. Joy is not a momentary pleasure. The moments of joy have long-lasting, sustaining power in human lives." (p. 324)
I'm pretty excited for more of this joy.