This is going to be a different type of post, Reader. Honestly, it's a little scary to put this out there, because I'm still very much in process with this one. But, as I wrestled with sharing this now or waiting until I had a resolved little package tied up with a bow, I felt that I needed to share the imperfect, the process... because, maybe, I'm not the only one, and this will help someone else realize a few things: 1) Being in process doesn't mean you are, or will be, a bad mom. It just makes you a flawed human saved by grace, growing in faith and 2) You're not alone in your struggle.
So, with that being said, here we go:
I found my first stretch mark this week.
It's tiny. Oh so tiny. But it's there. And it crushed my hormone-ravaged spirit.
This whole pregnancy thing has been an exercise in learning that I have no real control, and it's shaking so much of my Type-A personality to it's perfectly organized core.
I hear, over and over again, from smiling moms in spit-up free clothing with perfectly styled newborns who are somehow effortlessly juggling the stroller, designer handbag, Starbucks latte and cell phone that everything they went through was "worth it". And it makes me angry, and confused.
For me, the concept of something being "worth it" has meant it could be "not worth it", too, and the presence of an either/or like that always meant that there was also an element of choice present. I could experience it, because it was worth it, or choose to not experience it, because it wasn't worth it. Make sense?
With pregnancy, I imagine "big picture", I will agree with the idea that Evie is worth it. How could she not be? But smaller picture, in the details, I'm struggling.
Loosing the body I worked hard on and was proud of for 31 years ... I have no control over that. You might say "You could have just not gotten pregnant". Granted. But once pregnant, I lose the basic control I've always had over this vessel of mine. To stay fit, I worked out and ate healthy. Now, I work out and eat healthy and I still get cellulite. Go from a size XS to a size L in my Victoria Secret panties. Get stretch marks. I can do all the things that got results before pregnancy and during pregnancy they mean NOTHING. Is that "worth it"? I have no choice over these changes. No power. They just happen to me. And I have to sit back and find a way to deal with them, because I can't control them, or choose not them. They just are.
Pregnancy, with all it's changes and hormones, has created a lot of struggle, searching, and unrest in my soul. That, along with physical changes and restrictions that have created "a lack of intimacy" with my husband, have also created more distance in my relationship with the man I desperately want - and need - to be connected with. Is that "worth it"?
As I mentioned in the beginning, I have no answers. No nice little ending thought to bring this full circle and tie in a bow. I'm still wrestling with how to love myself, and be loving to others, during this time of immense change and transition. But what I do know, and find myself clinging to, is that God is faithful to finish what He starts in us, and my wrestling with these changes and the question "is it worth it?" won't end with a question mark. He will bring me to a place of completion - a place where my relationships with myself and others are more beautiful and vibrant than before - and while I may hate the process, I know that that will be worth it.