Saturday, August 03, 2013

I'm admitting it ...

... I stink at being pregnant.

There I said it. And if you want to judge me. Go ahead.

I struggle with this. I struggle with admitting it. I struggle with thinking it. I struggle with saying it. I struggle with feeling it.

And if I do, someone else does. And that someone else needs to hear it from someone like me so that they stop feeling guilty for feeling guilty. That's why I am writing this.

There are women who are made for being pregnant. They love it. They do it well. They glow. They grieve when the baby is on the outside and not inside them anymore.

That ... is ... not ... me.

Some people are made for this.

Some people are not.

I am not.

After ten years of infertility, we adopted. And then got pregnant. I had dreamed ... for years ... of having one of those big bellies.

Now I had one.

And I didn't like it.

And that is hard to admit. It's hard for anyone to admit. But infertility is woven into the fiber of my being. It will always be a huge part of me. Many people who read my blog are still battling this. It's a horrible affliction of which I would not wish on my worst enemy. I was forever changed by it. I will never forget it.

During each of my three pregnancies I faced complications. The small things like leg cramps and insomnia and heartburn. With my third, I was sick until 27 weeks and battled depression and anxiety related to the continual sickness.

And there were big complications too. Bleeding. Early labor. Heck, even an appendicitis which had to be operated on in a Turkish operating room while I was awake.

I wanted the baby of course. I wanted each of my babies with every molecule of my being. But the side effects of pregnancy? I didn't want those.

But to say that? Out loud? Especially me. A woman who wanted this and begged for it and pleaded for it.

If I admitted to my group of infertility sisters that I didn't like being pregnant, they would be hurt. I know if I were in their shoes, I would be hurt too. And while some of my mom friends encouraged me to "be real", there was an always present level of fear surrounding admitting that anything was anything but "perfection."

I feared that if I admitted I didn't feel cut out for pregnancy ... if I admitted I didn't feel good ... if I admitted that I just wanted my body back ... that people would consider me ungrateful. They would judge me.

That Wendi. She begged God for years for a baby. Now she has one. And she's complaining. She is whining. She isn't loving every single minute of this pregnancy thing.

I confided in a few choice people and got burned. I realized that I was held up to a different measuring stick because of the infertility. That people expected me to behave a certain way. That they didn't think being honest was appropriate.

It's like playing Division I Basketball in college (which I did.) You have a full ride to college and are fawned over and travel the world. How dare you complain?

Okay but still. I don't want to get up at 5:30am to run on the track. I'm sick of taking four showers a day. I'm sick of the gym. How do I keep on my schoolwork? I'd like more than four days at Christmas to spend with my family. I want to go on a vacation during the summer instead of continuing to work out.

Isn't it okay to feel tired and worn out and grateful and blessed at the same time?

I argue that it is. And I'm not going to pretend ... anymore ... that real is not okay. I don't want someone else to feel the way I have. To feel afraid to share their heart.

A friend. A neighbor. She admitted to me that her two pregnancies were terrible. That she and her husband wanted more children but not if it meant being pregnant again. That after her daughter was born, there was no instant bonding. That it took many months for her to feel attached. Nothing came natural. Everything felt awkward.

She admitted the truth. She was real with me.

What if she wasn't? What if she lied? What if she pretended that everything was great? And what if I did the same thing? And we all did? And no one felt they had permission to be real? And we kept this cycle of dishonesty going? And new moms everywhere felt alone and that they were the only one?

Because ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I want to argue that what begins with pregnancy continues into motherhood and there are way too many women who are comparing themselves to fake other mothers. Be your child adopted or biological you need to know that you are normal. You need to know that you are not alone.

This pregnancy and motherhood thing is tough to figure out. Especially after wanting it so badly. But wanting it doesn't mean you love every minute of it. Wanting it doesn't mean that you don't feel overwhelmed some days. I have a huge belly and three children already out of the womb. None of whom will go to school in the fall. That's a lot. And some days I honestly think to myself: God? Did you get me confused with some other woman who is totally capable of this?

Certainly having moments where you wonder if you can do it or if you are cut out for it or if God got you confused with some other woman who was capable of doing this job -- pregnancy and birth and raising a child or children -- certainly doubting your ability in these moments does not mean you are not grateful.

I am grateful. I am on my knees thanking the Lord grateful. Not a day goes by that I do not think I cannot believe I got this opportunity. Not a second goes by that I do not remember that there are women everywhere would give anything to switch places with me. Women who want to have a baby with every fiber of their being.

I was that woman.

But the opportunity does not change the fact that I have hard days. That opportunity does not mean I am not scared, overwhelmed, frustrated, unsure, and just plain tired some days.

Both in pregnancy.

And motherhood.

Heck even in life.

I stink at being pregnant. I'm so glad that others have paved the way and admitted this and allowed me to not feel alone in not feeling good and counting off the days until this blossoming miracle of life is on the other side of me. People like Joy Gabriel who wrote on her blog:

Pregnancy is not easy for me. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to it because my whole mind and body just kinda freaks out. This last one was brutal and and my body is still shouting that story from the rooftops. Six months of bed rest and 60 lbs, agonizing hormone shots, early labor, depression, migraines, insomnia, stretch marks (just to name a few). I will probably never look or feel quite the same again and that's exactly as it should be. I'm not the same. Bearing children has brought me a wealth of insight and experience I wouldn't trade for the skinniest pair of jeans.

I refuse to pretend and be fake and make others think that I have it all figured out.

So I'm admitting it. Whatever your "it" is, remember that you can admit "it" without being a complainer.

You can say "this is hard."

You can be real.

17 comments:

Rebekah Storey said...

Yes, indeed. I've been on the receiving end of really harsh words about my honesty in my writing, from a few people. But others? Others voice that they are so relieved to know that they are not alone! Mine hasn't been about pregnancy, but about frustrations with mothering. REAL is a MUST! Wonderful words! Thank you!

Jenn Price said...

Absolute truth! Great writing. We all struggle with something. Our struggles might be different but they are still present and being fake about them does not help anyone- especially ourselves. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to be open. If we could all be up front with our struggles we would be able to help others facing the same thing. What a wonderful world that would create, people walking together sharing burdens!

Anonymous said...

Coach K you can feel however you want to feel, why because YOU ARE YOU and nobody knows what or how it's like to be you in your situation but you. It's ok for you to feel the way you feel and don't feel obligated to have to explain to others why you feel that way. My pregnancies were difficult for me too and I didn't mind tell others they were because that's just how it was!!! I enjoy reading your blogs, always very inspirational for me!!! Tell John I said hello and pray you have a successful, calm and uncomplicated birth of your 4th previous little one! Thinking of you often-J'Nora

Anonymous said...

this is a beautiful post -women (and men!) need to know it is ok in all of life to feel tired and worn out and grateful and blessed at the same time! That at the very time they need the Lord because they are struggling, and needing to fall on HIm, to lean in dependence on Him for His strength or cry out to Him like the Psalmist, or share and receive comfort /prayer and even help! from a friend -they feel they have to live life on their own strength and appear fine! but they are already out of strength! It is not a very compassionate culture in my opinion -not a sense of we are all in this together -how can I support you in order to give you strength. How did we get this turned around as believers?... In our weakness we find His strength (and help) perfect. He is a refuge to run to in trouble, it does not just say -Handle it girl! Is it because we are American and should be so self-sufficient and contained, not needing anyone? As a culture we do not like grief and value happy, happy, happy.. Do we think faith means never admitting struggle instead of faith may be hanging on to the scraps of our deep trust in Him and declaring our trust midst a storm that tries to knock it away? But faith also can face the truth. Jesus spoke honestly about what we'd face in this world-and Peter did and Paul did and...I think in the Psalms God gives us our own picture of a REAL relationship w/ Him...honest grappling -deep praise and trust.God even gives us some of the hard words to pray we might wonder if we can say to Him!...Job passionately spoke to God and his friends about his struggles w/ God and them,out of the depths of suffering --it says he didn't sin in what he said...Still he hung on to his faith in God, "I know that my Redeemer lives and I will one day see Him in my flesh." And his story helps us in our suffering. It seems sometimes we can't accept that you can have faith and be hurting. I hate to swing the other way and not express what is ultimately true and all I have to be grateful for and that God is good and trustworthy -even tho I'm struggling. It seems a fine balance -and I wonder if it doesn't begin w/ being real in our relationship w/ God first -and then a peace will come and less and less what others are thinking of us....--In doing so, we find others around us seeking to do that too...and we can be iron sharpens iron --helping each other live under His lordship -not the demands/"shoulds" of people or our culture. It's something our kids are going to need to see us model in these days. God is using your sorrows in others' lives for healing, Wen. I'm so sorry you are going thru them tho! I can only imagine how daunting having 4 children under school age is and how you will need to be able to seek the help and encouragment you need in this time -not pressured to be super mom! All that would be daunting if you had had GOOD pregnancies and deliveries but my goodness you and your body have been thru alot!!! Life is very sweet and a gift ...and life is very, very hard and exhausting sometimes.....we need to be sure that if we draw near to Him we will know He is drawing near back to us...And rest in His love!And give that to one another xo (you caught me w/ my first morning cup of coffee :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say: This is tante Jan -as if you couldn't guess !:)

Laura Beene said...

Love you!

Julie said...

Yes! Thank you! I am one of your infertility sisters from HP. And being pg was so so hard. I was sick every day from 8 weeks till birth. Even threw up 5 minutes before being taken in for a csection. Although I would love a sibling for my sweet son (not possible except through embryo adoption), I have a hard time admitting the thought of being pg again scares me. I am oh so so so so grateful for my son and of course he is totally worth absolutely single thing we went through to have him. But it was hard and yucky and I don't admit that very often. So thank you for real and honest and showing us that we aren't alone.

AW said...

Oh girl. Friend. I could have written this post. Maybe not...I'm not sure I have the fortitude and courage to be this real. BUT, I get it. I had my tubes ties after B was born. You wouldn't believe the criticism I got from a "friend" after me confiding that. How dare I! After begging God for children, to shut the door on Him like that? Oh, I was so broken after that...doubted my faith, my love in The Lord...her criticism was a gavel on my heart: GUILTY! It took a long time to recover from her harshness. We no longer speak. Maybe I haven't recovered. :-(

But us Mommas should encourage each other! Love. Support. Allow Grace to live out our individual stories. We are sometimes each others worst enemies. It must change!

Ryan and Sarah said...

Good for you. I remember us having many conversations about just this subject. You don't have to love it or be good at it to get it done. If anyone wants to judge you for your honesty, they aren't being honest themselves.

Funny thing....now that I am on the "other side" of this pregnancy, I miss it. And you know my pregnancies aren't easy either. I think it's Gods grace....allowing us to forget the bad and concentrate on the good. That's my prayer for you when all is said and done.

Love you sister-

crazystegmamaof4 said...

Girl, I am right there with ya! (or I was with each of my pregnancies). And I think you know how guilty I felt admitting I wasn't the happy pg person either. I didn't even blog during Logan's difficult pregnancy. I often felt "what kind of mom begs for these precious babies and then can't even hack carrying them!?". That was totally me. Just know you are not alone and getting real is an absolute...and also not worrying about what people say or how they judge you! Goodness knows I am getting real lately on my own blog :) It sure helps to know we can all relate...and I really do think that God has us go through these journeys for a reason...for me, I really think it was all to lean on Him completely and to cast those burdens on Him. It just goes to show that we cannot go through life w/o Him and I think he wants us to admit our defeat sometimes and rely fully on Him. You're doing an awesome job, Wen...with pregnancy, mothering, etc. Keep being real about it :)

Liz Hebner said...

Love it! You are so brave to be so honest. I love my children more then life,but I'm with ya sister I was not that pregnant mama that loved being pregnant.

Beth said...

We need more real in our lives, but it takes real courage to step out and do it, especially in such a public way. Motherhood is amazing and hard...and that dual reality is important to remember and explore. But you know, I have found that when I am honest people listen. They might not agree with me, but it gives me a great opportunity to share the faith part of what gets me out of bed in the morning. It's scary when you know these kids aren't really your own, and the world can get in their way, be it through health or temptation. Trust and faith...sometimes I've got them in a loose grasp, other times I am hanging on by a thread. God has you Wendi, you are chosen by him and it's no accident. Keep opening your heart to him and he will direct your path.

Laura Beene said...

I am still trying to post. Learning how to work this Blogging thing. Stand by. Laura

BEBristow said...

This is great Wendi! Sharing the joys of pregnancy and motherhood is EASY. Sharing the ugly is not! I had a very idyllic impression if what pregnancy would be...my pregnancy and delivery were a nightmare. I love my daughter with everything I have, but I am scared to death of going through it again!

Laura Beene said...

Score!

So I offer you these phrases and the experiences that caused me to grab for them.

My youngest had two hip surgeries at 4 months and again at 12. He stopped breathing after the first one because he was too tired? too much medication? Whatever...he clearly got better because he's ten right? I called someone to report in after the first surgery and this person reported: "I was here all by myself today and no one checked on me while Patrick was in surgery." (close friend, right) Somehow this came to me, I have used it a lot, and it's perfectly harmless while pushing back: "I'm sorry. I don't have anywhere to put that."

I have used that before a lot and I offer it to you for free. ; )

Another one I say is "It's okay with me." Use the stress where ever you like. It's OKAY with me. IT'S okay with me. or It's okay with ME. It works for nearly everything and I love that one too. I once had a fellow command wife who disagreed with most everything I did or said. The truth is that military wives have no rank or power or control, we're just trying to maintain our families while our husbands serve their country. With command, comes some wifely responsibility and control should she/he so choose to step into that role. So this fellow command spouse didn't like me or what I was about. I checked with my hubs and he liked what I was doing so my response became, "It's OKAY with me."

Speaking like I'm Wendi: "And if you don't think I should not complain about this awful state called pregnancy after I struggle so with it and I've prayed so long and hard and desperately for a child, "It's okay with me!"

Let it rip, sistah!

Laura Beene
Your Fellow Mama

Brittny said...

I love this post. I think if you can't be honest then what's the point. Yes, there is a line. It can be crossed. And you can find yourself on a slippery slope of complaining WAY too much. But you have to be honest. I think we all have a love/hate relationship about things in our lives and finding someone who allows you to admit those feelings.... those are the kind of people you need to surround yourself with. I wouldn't trade one thing about my life. Even the loss. And I've seen more loss than most people my age should ever see. But the lessons you learn are priceless. And thankfully we worship an amazing God who helps us through the ups and downs of life. In every trial all I can think about is, how do people do it without Him. Hang in there girl! You are in the home stretch!! Love you!!!!!!

betsy trogden said...

LOVE IT! The reason I cannot stop reading your blog is because you are REAL and it helps me to not feel so wrong! God bless you!!