In my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect. At that time, I was in Christian ministry in a small town and was one of the most high profile people in the community. Privacy was not readily available anyway and so this very personal experience of my first pregnancy was a secret I guarded and held close to the chest. I waited until the end of the first trimester to tell most people. I didn't know how my body would respond to pregnancy and was not ready to be public about something so personal. I also closely guarded my ultimate birth plan to have a home birth, wanting to guard against negativity (since I knew I tend toward anxiety anyway).
In retrospect, I probably was right to hold those secrets close to the chest, but even so I am so glad and grateful to not be so controlling of the experience this time. Heck, not only am I telling pretty much everyone I know, I'm also blogging about the ups and downs of this pregnancy. I didn't wait until the end of the first trimester to tell, but only until 8 weeks in.
I have discovered that one of the most key times when a pregnant woman needs support is in her first trimester. This is the most difficult part of pregnancy, complete with mono-like tiredness and debilitating nausea. Hormones are high and tearfulness is common. And yet, we so closely guard what we are going through from others. It has been such a relief to open up and tell my friends and my church about what is going on. No, I don't dump on everyone, but my closest friends and family know that I'm going through a pretty tough time right now. We all know that "this too shall pass," but I also know that I need prayer, encouragement and offers of help right now. I need to take a walk with a friend and pour out the good, the bad and the ugly. I need to be able to write about what I am going through and process it in a way that carries me through. I need my Bible study to be praying for me. I need people with whom I can cry, even though I am not normally a crier.
Will all of this be worth it when the baby comes? Of course it will! Am I glad to be having this baby? Of course I am (though the gladness is more intellectual right now)! I feel for all of my friends who have struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss and mean no disrespect to their experiences. Clearly, a child is a blessing from God. But it also takes travail to bring a child into the world. It takes suffering. I feel tender, overwhelmed and in need of Christian community right now.
And so, Jesus shows me how He carries me when I cannot carry myself (which all of the time, but even more clear right now). Jesus gives me grace when my house looks like a tornado hit it. Jesus shows me love through my husband who is picking up so much of the slack at home. Jesus is in a friend's listening ear. He is the offer of help watching my daughter. He is even in my absolute need to rest and be, instead of do. I am not alone. And this too shall pass.