musings of a saint and sinner

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

oh baby!

I've had some big changes in my life these days. Growing up, I always pictured myself married, always imagined who my future husband would be, always had a romantic heart. As I got older, I started to think about how relationships work and what qualities I wanted my relationship to have. So when my husband and I got married, it was like living the dream. I found a man who embodies the qualities of true love and whom I truly love.

But growing up, having a baby was never a huge part of the plan, if I had to be honest. My Mom was always complaining that I didn't want to play with baby dolls when I was a kid most of the time. I didn't give a lot of thought to how I wanted to parent. I always felt kind of awkward with children, perhaps partly because I had very few friends my own age as a child. As I grew older, I thought that in theory I'd like to have a baby, but later...

My husband is the opposite of me. He grew up wanting to have both a wife and a family. He spent his childhood years glued to the tube watching The Cosby Show and taking lessons from Cliff Huxtable (lately, I've come to realize that The Cosby Show actually is one of the most educational and encouraging tools out there to learn about parenting). He was really focused on the whole family goal and gave a lot of thought to how he wanted his family to be. I think that honestly, he gently nudged me into the whole family thing. When you love someone, the idea of having a baby with them becomes more desirable.

And then there were the strange urges I started to have last year. I would walk through our big house and it would just feel empty to me. It would feel lacking something. And then there is the thought that actually it is a little selfish to not have kids. Having kids calls me out of myself to my neighbor, as my seminary professor Dr. Paulson would teach. Having kids would enlarge my heart, which is all too easily focused just on myself.

I admit I still had/have some misgivings. Would I lose myself in the "mother" identity? Would I be a good mother? Was I maternal enough? Did I have what it takes?

But somehow my husband and I moved forward and took the step of faith. And now we are expecting baby number one in September. I admit to feeling alternately really excited and really freaked out, depending on my mood. But something has happened to me since becoming pregnant. Ordinarily, I am an exceptionally anxious person. I can sometimes obsess over an (often irrational) worry for days or even weeks. But since becoming pregnant, I have suddenly started to realize that I am embarking on a journey, an endeavor that is so much bigger than me that I don't even know where to begin to worry. I am being forced to trust in God, to trust in the One who is outside of myself. This baby in my belly is already calling me outside of myself to my neighbor. I am learning to take it all one day at a time, something I've never been good at. But this is so big that there is no other way to do it, really.

There have been moments already of staggering miraculousness: from the day we found out I was pregnant and just stared at each other in amazement, to the moment we heard the heartbeat of our little one for the first time. There have been moments also of staggering discomfort and earth-boundness. Nausea...wanting to gag at the thought of any food...leg cramps...exhaustion beyond anything I expected...crying EVERY TIME I watch a birth "A Baby Story" on TLC. The humble and miraculous are intertwined. It's a new journey, but I am so far out of my comfort zone I am forced to grow.

And the baby? Amazingly, a love and protectiveness for this little one whom I do not yet know is starting to grow in my heart more each day.

Thank goodness for my husband, who gave me a little push.

On to the journey...


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