I was out running errands with Jones the other day, feeling tired and hot and like I’d rather take a nap. We passed my midwife’s tiny little clinic, and I (of course) thought about the upcoming birth and what I needed to do to prepare (kegels, anyone?) and how exercise would probably help me endure, but it was the last thing I felt like doing. And suddenly, it hit me — the interesting and not-so-funny joke that God requires women to perform one of the greatest emotional and physical feats of their lives (giving birth) directly following nine grueling months of pregnancy. (And amazing, and wonderful, and mysterious .. but still grueling.) I thought about how I would like to be in the best shape of my life when I give birth, but will probably spend the two months prior waking upwards of three times each night, sitting a lot because standing and walking are uncomfortable, having my emotions frazzled by hormones and the task of waiting, and craving (and eating) a lot of ice cream, sweet breads, and other don’t-eat-if-you’re-training-for-a-marathon foods. Let’s make a list of all the things during pregnancy that don’t prepare us for childbirth, shall we?
- months of throwing up.
- crazy vivid dreams that interrupt sleep and leave you tired and listless.
- baby pushing on bladder that also interrupts sleep.
- uncomfortable and swollen nether-regions.
- sudden and emotionally-draining outbursts of sobbing over the strangest things.
- forgetfulness and hazy-thinking. (Did I write “walk for one hour” in my planner yesterday? Noooo, I couldn’t have.)
- not-so-healthy food cravings.
- the emotionally-taxing experience of gaining weight and having to be conscientious of the scale (ick).
- the complete morphing of your body into something rather unrecognizable.
- all the strange things about pregnancy that no one mentions to you beforehand.
- complete lack of motivation and desire to exercise (see above).
Just writing those things leaves me in awe of what God has asked women to do in giving birth. Perhaps its one of those “10 Israelites facing an army of 10,000” things, often read of in the Old Testament — God wants all the glory, and makes certain that the stakes are high so His power can be shown.
I don’t know about you, but I think the stakes are pretty high in the case of the pregnant woman. What an amzing thing we’ve been asked to do!