First Trimester Fear
I am newly pregnant with baby number three. A very unexpected number three. I wasn’t sure how I would feel with this pregnancy. Experience and wisdom were my hope, yet pregnancy has a strange way of equaling the playing field, no matter the circumstance.
Many friends of mine have walked the delicate and difficult road of pregnancy after a loss. I want to give voice to their trauma in walking the tightrope of grief and hope for a new life. It’s something I have never experienced and the heartbreak of it all has been spoken about by dear friends of mine much better than I could put words to. You can find some of their stories here.
Yet, despite not having gone through loss, I can attest to fear that won’t leave me alone. It follows me as I jump at each tiny twinge of physical change or pain. Each trip to the bathroom warrants an extra look. It whispers doubt into the unprepared nooks of my heart. It makes anxiety cripple me when I read about the newest research that caffeine is indeed harming my unborn baby. I allow crazy things, like begging for the awful symptoms of nausea, just so I can have that comfort of knowing my body is actually carrying a child.
The questions that flood my mind are deafening. Did I eat something today that might hurt the baby? Was my workout too intense? Did I rest enough today? Wait, did I remember to take my prenatal vitamins?
My mind plays tricks with my vulnerable soul. I cringe when I accidentally forget for that brief moment that I am pregnant. When there are no physical reminders of this baby it happens more often than I care to admit. Then shame does its powerful tactic of making me think I don’t deserve this baby. Lies like my fear playing an illogical role my capacity to be a mother, again. Fear stops me from enjoying the specialness that is the first few weeks of pregnancy. Instead, I feel like I am harboring a huge secret that I am not hiding well. It's like a scarlet letter that is written all over my skin, but the strange thing is no one really knows. Everything about me has changed and yet the world keeps spinning the same as the day before. I wait for this magical number to appear on the calendar, the passing of the first trimester. Only then can I reveal to the world this unknown part of me.
The anticipation of the first doctor’s visit is so intense, I feel it in each cell of my body. Instead of waiting with joyful anticipation, it is agonizing over each day leading up to it. Scans will reveal the health of this new life, my new sweet child. If you did a scan of my spirit, it wouldn’t be a heat syncing in beat with the joy of the Lord and trusting in who He says He is. It would show the disease of fear-driven thoughts that have infected my heart.
Each time I allow fear to tighten its grip on the unrealized what-ifs, it claws dig deeper because something else grows inside of me. Love and hope. It’s not just my life I am caring for anymore. My body is carrying a new weight. The weight of a new soul. Each sigh of a worry relieved makes me fall more in love. A scary love. The kind where you aren’t sure you could manage if you lost it. Then hope grows. Hope that I will someday get to hold this precious baby in my arms and feel the warmth of his or her breath against my skin.
How can I manage to co-exist with so much fear and yet so much love? I give too much power to my lies. I am letting the enemy win. Pregnancy is a beautiful miracle. When fear becomes my identity I begin to relinquish control from God. Faith is a scary thing. But what sweet medicine it is to my sick bones. It is important to name our fears, and give ourselves the grace to feel them regardless of our circumstances. But we cannot give them the satisfaction of controlling us.
Laying the what-ifs and the scary worst-case scenarios at the feet of the cross allows God to do beautiful work in my heart to prepare a way for this new life. When I allow Him in, He prepares me to face fear head-on with faith. He is making me a mother all over again with each precious day of pregnancy He gifts to me.
This is why I am choosing to step out in faith and let hope win this time. I am giving myself and my family the gift of celebrating each moment of this new life even if that mean breaking the rules of waiting to share our news until the security of a scan. Fear will not define our sweet baby three, only love will.