Everything I Need To Know About Parenting, I Learned From Pregnancy
You have no idea how many times I think this statement every single day of my life. Below is my “Everything.” I’m not claiming I’ve mastered these things (thank God I have actual parenting to help me with that…) 😉 but I sure have taken a pretty good go at them!
People say this to me/us ALL. THE. TIME. (Disclaimer: if you are one of the ones who has said this to us, please don’t take the following personally.) And every time someone says this, it takes every bit of grace in me to not say, “No…REALLY?!” Instead, I smile, and say, “Oh, he already has…”
These are the people who must not realize that I have been throwing up for 9 months, and that was not a part of my daily routine pre-July. That I spent the first 4 months of pregnancy sick around the clock and since then have woken up sick every single morning for the remaining 9 months. These are the people who must not realize that since I’ve gotten pregnant, the most I’ve slept in a row is 4 hours at a time, when I was on nausea meds with a good amount of sleeping aids in them. The majority of my pregnancy I’ve only slept for 2 hours at a time. About 2 months ago, my body decided it needs to wake up every single hour throughout the night. Again, not a habit I was familiar with pre-pregnancy. I’ll let you draw some of your own conclusions about how handicapping two of my basic health needs–eating and sleeping–has literally affected every area of our lives.
So yes, you’re right folks…babies have–already–changed EVERYTHING.
Literally, my life is dictated by these three things. I’ll need to nurse my baby every two hours? Are you kidding? That’s CAKE. Right now I have to eat every stinkin’ two hours, and that means I either need to prepare a meal or find the nearest hamburger joint every two hours! At least with nursing there’s not any prep involved! Because I have to eat so frequently, there’s just not much time to do anything else in between but sleep and go to the bathroom. I’m so ready for this baby.
I have lost all filters for what’s appropriate when talking about bodily functions. Again, when 1/3 of my day (see Number 2) is consumed by going to the bathroom–either to relieve myself or to throw up–why WOULDN’T I want to talk about it? Sometimes my vomiting story of the day is the most entertaining thing that’s happened to me in a week. I have to tell SOMEONE about it… I definitely used to wonder why when moms would get together they would choose to talk about things like the color of their baby’s poop… but now I totally understand. There’s just nothing more satisfying than having a good friend share in my vomiting experience or bathroom accident of the day. And I have to give a shout out to my incredible husband, who has beared with me with the patience of a saint in this arena. The phrase, “Babe! You’ve GOT to come look at this!!” is not an uncommon one in our household these days, and he has been such a champ…totally humoring me as I force him to share in this pregnancy by living vicariously through my bathroom experiences.
Even if I have JUST eaten and I only have a 15 minute errand, I just never know what might happen. And if I cross the 2 hour threshold and DON’T have several snacks in my bag to tide me over until I can get a real meal…well, it’s all over. This baby’s meltdown looks like vomit flying out of my mouth. I know this has been great training for when we have lots of little ones. I will never, under any circumstances leave the house without snacks when I have kiddos.
There was one particular day, several months ago, when I was SO HUNGRY, and knew I was getting dangerously close to the 2-hour eating mark. We had NOTHING in the house that I could eat/sounded like I could keep down, and so I had to make a special trip out for a cheeseburger. Against my better judgment, I got a few more things done around the house before leaving, so by the time I had gotten in the car I was already well past the 2-hour eating mark. I knew it could get messy quick, but I just gave myself a solid pep talk all the way to Sonic, telling my stomach that it was not going to throw up in that particular moment…that it was about to get food and it needed to patient today. Well I was about 13 minutes into my drive, 2 minutes away from said destination, when I realized…
I FORGOT MY WALLET.
OH. DEAR. GOD.
$3.81 standing in the way of a full tummy and a vomit-free lunch. I’m pretty sure the world literally stopped spinning in that moment. I looked up, expecting an oxygen mask to drop out of the ceiling. MAY DAY. I began to PANIC, thoughts flying through my head of how on earth I could solve this problem. I will just have to BEG Sonic to give me a cheeseburger. I am not above begging. I can give them my license to hold until I have time to drive home to get payment. No wait, I don’t have my wallet. Ugh! What about if I beg them to give me a cheeseburger, and then they can literally handcuff me to the table until Brian can meet me here with the money. I’m sure they’ll understand…I can explain that I’m pregnant and tell them how sick I am and…
And then I just burst into tears. None of these things were going to work. I called Brian, sobbing, and started giving him my solution ideas and he just so gently interrupted me and said, “My love, they’re not going to give you a cheeseburger without paying for it.”
THEN WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?! I cried.
I’ll jump in the car and meet you there in 15 minutes. Eat a granola bar and drink an apple juice…and I’ll see you soon.
I had forgotten that he had stocked my car with SNACKS!! World’s most perfect husband. He has mastered Rule #4.
But if I had just had a spare $20 in the glove department…
I haven’t gotten to the point of needing to bring a spare change of clothes with me in my purse like I likely will need to do in my diaper bag for the little peanut, but I’ve been pretty close. Luckily, most of my “accidents” happen here in the house, and the ones that have happened in the car, in restaurants, airports, sidewalks, etc., have been manageable. But I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been walking out the door and suddenly I’d thrown up so violently that I pee my pants and require a full change of clothes. I’ve shed a fair number of tears during this scenario, but recently I’ve grown to be much more mature about it and rather than get upset about having to throw my cute shirt and jeans into the washer, I just say: “Eh…accidents happen. No sense crying over spilled milk.”
TMI? Well, you’re the one choosing to read my blog :).
It’s just that my body controls me now, and besides that, there are sooo many “unexpected” things that can happen at any given moment. You should see how I have my schedule alotted out for each day…imagine it. Every 2 hours I have to be eating a full meal. Each meal takes AT LEAST 30 minutes to eat, because food still does not go down easily and my gag reflex is sooo sensitive. On top of that, I’ve recently discovered that I have acid reflux, which is why it feels like my food is constantly crawling back UP my throat after I’ve killed it, chewed it, and swallowed it.
During the days I was rinsing 7 different times throughout the day to try and get rid of my oral thrush, I had to rinse right after a meal because I couldn’t eat for 30 minutes afterward.
Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be keeping hydrated. But I can’t drink DURING meals because my stomach is too cramped and acid-refluxy to fit all of that in there. Which means I only have small windows to get all 80+ ounces of fluid down in a day. Plus, my bladder is so squished that when I DO drink water, I have to GO…a lot.
Are you picturing this? Here’s a sample schedule for you:
1:00 Prep food for meal
1:10-1:40 Eat said food
1:40-1:45 Brush teeth & Rinse with two types of rinse
1:45-2:15 No eating or drinking
2:15-3:00 Drink lots of water, and make sure I’m in a place where there’s a restroom
That leaves me from 2:15-3:00 to actually be DOING something other than eating. Do you see how frustrating life is? So showering, getting ready, preparing to leave, ALL has to fall within a 45 minute time frame, WELL before I actually HAVE to leave. If I needed to be somewhere at 2, then I’d have to start “getting ready” around 9 to make sure I could fit everything into my eating schedule.
Now, imagine everything’s going perfectly according to plan, and at 1:43 while I’m brushing my teeth I accidentally gag, which–always–triggers vomiting. Well, it’s all over. Plan on being late.
To trust my God, and make it through each day with joy, or to turn against Him and be bitter, complaining to anyone who will listen.
There were (are currently) so many days where something’s occurred that’s felt like, “Are you kidding me? THIS on top of vomiting every single day of my life?” And then I’ll sit before God, gain revelation and peace about His goodness, stand up to conquer the day with joy, when no sooner have I turned the corner that SOMETHING ELSE piles on top… And I just have to turn right back around and get on my face before God to find joy. Because honestly, finding my joy in Him sounds like a lot more fun than being bitter and angry. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been tears…Oh boy…have there been tears alright. There have been hundreds of times, literally, when I’ve thought–I can’t handle one more thing on top of all this, and then…it’s come. One more thing. Two more things. Three more things.
Tonight I sit, exactly 40 weeks pregnant, with a chest cold that’s lasted a week and a half, the stomach flu, and a husband who has a 101 degree fever. And so my choice is…to scream and cry and shake my fists at God, or…OR. Or to trust in the One who formed me, my husband, and my son with his own two hands, and trust that He is good.
I recently heard this at a conference: “Trust in the God who led his perfect son to die on the cross…and then trust in the God of the resurrection.”
Thank you, God, that YOU are in control, and I am not…you do a much better job of being God than I would… If, by the grace of God, I can grasp this concept now, I have a feeling parenting will be a whole lot easier…
I could never count how many times I have just cried and cried over the reality of this statement. I really don’t think I would be in one piece if it weren’t for Brian in this season. He has been the constant, steady one, urging me to turn my face towards the King when all I wanted to do was cry, balled up in a corner. He has been the encouraging one, who has picked me up out of bed (literally at times) when I had no strength to do so myself. There have been so many times that I have apologized to him for not being able to be as “excellent” as I desire in this season…and he just NEVER waits a second before affirming what an incredible job I AM doing, reminding me that we’re in this TOGETHER, and we’ll make it through TOGETHER. I have never known a man who has walked with his wife so closely in pregnancy. When I talk about being pregnant, I always say “we” instead of “I” because there’s just not been one second that I’ve felt alone in it, like it’s just MY thing. I may be doing the throwing up, but he’s always–always–insisted on doing the cleaning up.
I couldn’t be more excited to enter this season of parenting with my husband. I know I get the role of “stay at home Mom,” but I am convinced that I will never be in this alone. Thank you, God, for my incredible husband.
I know that there is sooooooo much more yet to come, but I tell you what…Brian and I just ADORE our son already…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve already cried over how overwhelmed I am with my love for him. Everything–every decision–is so different now that he’s a little person, even if he is still in my womb. Public school vs private school vs homeschool…not just a theoretical debate anymore, but we’re talking about my son. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…this is my son. Thinking about sending him out into this world before he’s had a chance to root…this is my son. And every sacrifice…is totally not a sacrifice if it has to do with my son. The greatest day in this pregnancy was the day that I started to feel him kick, because then…THEN, I would throw up but feel him KICK afterwards. And this simple reminder each time I throw up is enough to make it all worth it. This is all for my son…and there is no price too high to pay for his health and well-being.
I love him with all that I am…and I would do anything for him.
And I never knew I could love my husband like this. And I wouldn’t change a thing about this pregnancy if it means I have a healthy son and an even healthier marriage coming out of this… Because of God’s mercy and love, our marriage has not been weakened, but strengthened with this trial. Our love for each other has grown so much stronger than it ever could have had we not walked through this together. The day before our wedding, someone told us, “Your love is going to continue to get stronger and stronger for one another.” It’s sooo hard to believe that when you are so in love, loving to the capacity you’re capable of, and believe that that capacity couldn’t possibly grow. But wow–how much more you’re capable of loving once you are one! And after each trial, when you realize you, indeed, judged this person’s character correctly on the day you said, “yes”–this man of God is not only everything you thought he was, but MORE…he surprises you every single day by showing you greater glimpses into the character and the mind of God, loving you just as Christ loves the church…by cherishing, not by dominating…just as he promised he would on your wedding day. And at the first trial where you feel completely and utterly worthless…some days unable to get out of bed, let alone SERVE him, he not only stays by your side, but affirms over and over and over how much MORE he loves you now…because he loves your heart…he married you for your heart, not for what you could do. Sooo patient with me, sooo kind to me…the most unconditional love I have ever experience outside of Christ’s…
And so I have never been more confident than I am now…Everything I need to know about parenthood I learned from pregnancy. Most importantly, that we’re in this together, and our God is in total control of our lives.
Now, thank God we have the next 25 years to work on mastering these little rules…. 🙂