Then I got pregnant.
And let me tell you something- it ain't always beautiful.
I'll admit, I had the thought "What in the world was I thinking?!" run through my head once or twice. "Why would I sign up for this?!" I would think as I knelt over the toilet, vomiting everything that I had eaten for not only myself and my own hunger, but also for the little human that was growing inside of me, realizing that all of those nutrients were no good for me anymore.
And the weight gain! Growing up, I've always been on the smaller side. Comments such as, "You're so small I could wrap my arms around you twice," or "You're so skinny," instead of a simple "Hey, how's it going?" were common and even expected for me. I had been exercising for years and right before I got pregnant, I hit the healthiest and leanest I had ever been...pregnancy shoved that right out the window, and as much as I hate to admit it, it's a little bit of a shock for someone who was always told she was skinny. To go from being small to noticing every flaw, bloat and weight gain every time I looked in the mirror... well, keeping it honest, it was hard, and still is.
Then of course, there's all the pains you didn't even know your body was capable of feeling- back pains that make you feel like you're ninety years old, water retention that pushes your stomach out so far you start to feel sore, or when your breasts feel like they are on fire! Or what about the congested nose and earaches, or the gums that randomly start bleeding as your brush your teeth, or even the struggle to simply roll over in bed?
And I haven't even gotten started on the stretch marks...
Or the sleepless nights...
Or the tiring days...
What in the world was I thinking?
Why would I sign up for this?
Where is the beauty in all of this?
I'll tell you.
It's seeing your baby in the ultrasound for the first time and the nurse saying, "It's a boy!"
It's feeling the little flutters in your tummy and thinking, "What was that?" then realizing it's a human- your kid.
It's when the little flutters become real kicks.
It's when you're sitting bored at work, feeling tired and a little lonely, then feeling that little kick, as if he's saying, "Hey Mommy, I'm here!"
It's when your husband feels the kicks for the first time, smiles the biggest grin and says, "That's our kid!"
It's realizing that this little human inside of you has never seen the world, and that you and the love of your life helped make this little human. It's comprehending that this world has never before nor ever will again experience this particular human, and that it will soon be graced with his presence, personality, and spirit.
It's being grateful that God allowed you to be that portal between heaven and earth that will allow more humans to come to this world.
It's knowing that despite the vomiting, the stretch marks, the weight gain... despite not having that "perfect body" you once had, the "freedoms" you may lose...
Despite all of that, you do it.
You do it because you love that little child you have yet to see with your eyes, but feel connected to with your heart and soul.
It's knowing that your family is living on.
It's knowing that though people you love have already passed, and though they may not be here physically for you and your new little family, they still encompass you with a love that you feel through your heart.
You see, the beauty lies in the love you feel- love you feel for your little one that kicks around inside of you, love for your spouse as you see them in a different light, and love for yourself as you learn to embrace the changes you experience in mind, body, and spirit.
And do you know what else?
That kind of love isn't only experience through pregnancy.
It's experienced and shared with what I call "Angel Mommies and Daddies"- the ones who loves so much that they are willing to accept and raise a child that came from someone else- the ones that could not love that child any more if it came from her own womb. That kind of love, I believe, is one of the most selfless kinds.
You see, love is infinite and eternal.
That kind of love is what makes it all worthwhile.
It's what makes it beautiful.