Monday, April 30, 2012

When the Panic Set In...And How Peace Replaced It

My dear reader, I want to share with you an experience I had with fear and weakness.  In sharing it, my hope is that you will feel strengthened by the peace of Christ, as I eventually did.

What I may not have told you is that, after we found out that I was pregnant and after the initial surprise and joy wore off, true panic set least for me.

The reason is, of course, that instead of keeping my joyful focus on God's will and His blessing of new life within me, I looked selfishly myself.  Such perspective is never good for one's being, and I paid the emotional effects of it.

So what was it that scared me?

I became terrified that at any moment I would start throwing up all over the place.  Having heard horror stories, I worried that for weeks upon end I would endure an endless state of nausea.  And I HATE feeling nauseous. 

I woke up each day with great fear, wondering if THIS was going to be the morning where I would experience morning sickness.  Would today's breakfast stay down?  If I started puking suddenly and couldn't report to work, who would teach my classes...and what would they teach, given that I had no plans written out other than the ones for myself which I could never explain easily?

Truly, I became terrified of the body I walked around in.  I didn't know when it would throw me into a spontaneous, regurgitating state, and I was greatly suspicious of it.  This is how I was looking at my future:

And then there was the future fear of labor and birth.  But my mind couldn't even truly go there yet.  I was much too afraid of the nausea and vomit that would plague the first trimester.

Then God spoke to me.  I didn't hear Him audibly, but I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit come upon me.  He reminded me that this body has served me well for 32 years.  Why would it suddenly stop serving me?  Why should it become something foreign, something to distrust?

Indeed, in those moments, I learned that my body is perhaps my greatest gift from God, for it is the vessel in which I am to experience God's love, through the life experiences and relationships I have with others.

I discovered that my physical being is not the embodiment of those horror stories and those scary paragraphs I skimmed over in my pregnancy books.  Rather, my body is me, to Michael, to my family, and to this precious baby of ours.  I am still me, whether I'm pregnant or not.  What a great truth that I so easily overlooked because of my selfish fears!

As the weeks of my pregnancy continued on, I began to notice that indeed God was right (again).  Any change that God would allow my body to experience would be gradual.  And this was purposeful.  A slow-growing baby and a slowly-expanding body allowed both Baby and me (as well as Daddy) to grow and prepare at nature's perfect pace.  Praise God!

And while I did experience some nausea up until Week 16, it was definitely bearable.  And it wasn't anything like the nausea I experienced as a kid.  Rather, it was my body's way of communicating its need of rest or food to me.  And, as I learned to anticipate my body's needs and interpret its signals, both me and my body (and thus this baby!) began to flourish.

After tomorrow, I will be at the 22-week mark.  I feel completely normal, completely myself.  I am delightfully surprised when I look down and see this big, growing belly.  I am amazed when I see my reflection in a mirror or my very pregnant physique in a photograph.  It's amazing that this is me, and then I remember that this is meant to be!

Maybe I am amazed at being pregnant because I can't believe that I changed my appearance without actually thinking about it.  My body is doing just what God said it would.  It's doing God's thing.  It knows what it's doing.  My body is, in many ways, just as much of a miracle as is the body of this new baby growing within me.  There are so many reasons to stand in awe of God's majesty!

As my due date approaches, I have less and less fear and more and more trust in God and this amazing body He gave me.  I am preparing myself to respond to the signals my body gives me, to let it do its thing, and to surrender all to the will of God.

This is natural, this is real, and this is true!