With both of my pregnancies I thought my babies would come early. I remember with my first baby I got nervous around week 32 because a friend went into labor early. I made my husband put the car seat in the car that night.
At 41 weeks I was still pregnant.
All the calculators and measurements and ultrasounds weren’t able to predict my baby’s arrival. This baby is no different.
As any mama will tell you, the last weeks carrying a baby begins a battle inside yourself that’s hard to combat.
On the offense is your body that wants to give up. Life as you knew it is nearly impossible. No longer can you wash your face in the sink without completely soaking your shirt or sit on the floor and play with your toddler. You need help getting up from the sofa, and it takes you approximately two minutes to get out of the bed in the morning – after a night of insomnia, of course. Take-out boxes of leftovers fill your refrigerator instead of tupperware because cooking? Are you kidding me? Who can get close enough to the stove to cook anything not to mention stand up for that long.
Then there’s the defense of your conscience telling you to stop complaining. “You’re having a baby!” this side says, “Enjoy your last weeks being pregnant!” You know it will be over in a flash and your baby will be a four-month-old asleep in your arms and you’ll ask yourself, “How in the world did that happen?” You realize there are women who would almost literally give their life to be nine (or ten) months pregnant. Then there’s the thought that this might be your last baby and you’ll never, ever again feel the kicks of another life inside you. From birth on your baby will be moving further away from you until she’s fully self-sufficient and giving life to another little person. You’re fully aware of all of this.
Two days ago my due date came a went, and baby girl still lays there, snugged tight and upside down, with no intention of facing the world.
This battle between body and conscience continues, but that’s not even the worst of it. There’s another battle. The battle of anticipation – the anticipation of pain and the anticipation of joy.
No matter how you bring life into this world, childbirth is no joke. As much as I want my body to be comfortable again and I want to meet my new little girl, there is a Goliath moment that must come first – labor. I’m going to have to deliver her, and that is going to be painful. Outside of some unforeseen trauma, childbirth will most likely be the most physically painful thing I ever experience. And I dread it. With every ounce of me I don’t want to do it.
On days when I’m not careful, fear takes over. I’m no longer oblivious like I was going into my first childbirth experience. This time I have flashbacks to the pain, and I’m aware of all that can go wrong. I try to fill my mind with truth saying repeatedly that fear is not from God and that He will give me strength.
But fear still creeps in.
Over the past few days I’ve asked God, “What is it that you want to experience or learn in these last days of pregnancy? What is it that you are teaching me?” And He gave me a thought that is most definitely a stretch – even for childbirth – but for a human being it’s a likely comparison.
As I await labor to begin, the anticipation is as brutal as the discomfort. I look ahead with fear and dread and an equal amount of joy and elation. But isn’t this how Jesus felt in His days leading up to the Cross?
Jesus – being fully human and fully God – dreaded the Cross with all of His being. Even though He knew the reward, salvation for all mankind, He sweated blood as He asked God three times take it from Him. But there was no other option.
There’s no other option for me, either. Discomfort in these last days is inevitable and labor cannot be skipped. However, as God has revealed to me, it’s in my suffering that I most experience Christ within me.
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” Philippians 3:10
God wants nothing more than for us to know Him and believe Him. We know people and believe they are who they say they are when we walk alongside them, experiencing what they experience as closely as possible.
These last days of labor have caused me to focus on the Cross of Jesus and experience an ever so slight smidgen of the anticipation He experienced – the battle between dread and joy. He dreaded the Cross and at the same time looked on to it with great love. Finally He was going to get His children back. Finally His bride was going to be rescued.
This has been my solace – knowing that there is nothing I experience that Jesus hasn’t already. And by sharing in His suffering, I have grown to know Him more deeply and believe Him more fully.