Halfway there!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for two weeks, when I actually hit the halfway mark in my pregnancy, but I kept waiting for something truly insightful about the beauty and wonder of new life assembling itself in my body. Perhaps I’d include a metaphor about spring, or a meditation on growth. But nothing like that came, and days kept passing. So instead, here are ten little observations on my pregnancy (a little more than) halfway through:

  1. She’s a girl, and I’m thrilled. I could never picture a boy, and I unashamedly told everyone that I hoped to have a girl. I’ve also always pictured Mike with a daughter. He is tender and strong, and I see a daughter drawing these things out of him even more. I’m watching teenage girls in TV and movies with a newfound terror, but am really excited for the pigtails in the nearer future.

2. I can feel her move when she’s awake, more and more. As I do, I’ve made this simple observation: I like my daughter. It’s less wonder and exhilaration, more companionship and comfort. I experience her movements like a message from a good friend I haven’t met yet. I know her, and I like her. This is endlessly comforting to me, because one of my great pre-pregnancy fears was that I would somehow not enjoy my child, that I would be ever counting down our minutes alone until I could pass her off to someone else. While I expect us to have our long and tedious days, I also expect to generally like being with her. I already like being with her, which is a great relief.

3. I need a better answer to, “How are you feeling?” I feel mildly guilty for responding, “Great!” and nothing more, because it doesn’t give the conversation anywhere to go. On the other hand, if I were experiencing grave symptoms, would the acquaintance who’s asking as a courtesy really want to hear about my vomiting, swelling and heartburn? I don’t know that there’s a great way to answer this question, whether you’re feeling great or feeling terrible. I don’t mind when people ask, but I need an answer that moves the conversation along.

4. Everything is different, and also the same. Because we are about to cross a threshold into After, and we can never return to Before, daily life has a poignant quality. I no longer fear the dramatic change to come, (a grace in itself,) but I’m luxuriating in all the facts of my life that will soon be Before. I am acutely aware of all the moments in which no one needs me. I bask in the glory of the hours of alone time I have with Mike, and the hours of alone time I have with myself. Our life is full of commitments and people and work, but somehow the amount of time and quiet we have in between feels extravagant.

5. My sweet tooth is out of control. I haven’t decided when I’m going to curb it, but today never feels like the right time.

6. Mike reminded me that when we got married, it was one day, but that the entire year was a transition year. He’s encouraged me to think of 2017 this way. Looking back, we’ll remember 2017 as the year our daughter was born, and not much else. Because he knows I’m prone to setting expectations for myself that eventually crush me into a crumpled, crying ball on the couch, he’s encouraging me to give us the space and time to simply transition into parenthood without many other expectations. This will not be the year I complete my novel draft, or host a lot of dinner parties, or give the best Christmas gifts, and that’s okay.

7. It’s a transitional year, and it’s a “watch and pray” year. For years, God has been teaching me to unhook my identity from my productivity, to value process over product, and to welcome my weakness. As I’ve made wobbly steps holding His steady hand, He’s led me into a quiet place. I’ve needed and need to speak less, do less, and share less so I can watch and see what He’s doing.

8. When I discovered that getting into running shape while pregnant was a hill I simply didn’t want to  climb, I got a Fitbit. I’m taking long walks with my dog most days, and it pairs well with the quiet listening and thinking I’m doing. I still listen to podcasts about half of the time, but more and more often I leave my phone home altogether. Who knew walking alone could feel so revolutionary and restorative?

9. My favorite sweats from college, with the shot elastic in the waistband, have found a second life. The floppy waistband is the perfect size for my pregnant waist! Purveyors of belly bands, I’m doing JUST FINE with hair ties holding my jeans closed and old sweats.

10. Like all transformative experiences, I won’t be able to say exactly how I’m being transformed until well after the fact. But today, my daughter is using my bladder as a trampoline, I’m walking with friends in the sunshine later, and there’s a car seat in my closet. God is assembling all of the mundane and broken and lovely things into a picture too beautiful for me to imagine, and I’m grateful for my place in it.

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