For a woman who is struggling with infertility or loss, it often can be very difficult to hear pregnant women complain about their pregnancies. Even if it's not truly complaining but simply discussing the aches and pains of pregnancy, it can sound like a lack of gratitude. However, the physical and emotional tolls of pregnancy are real. How does one balance acknowledging the struggles of pregnancy with gratitude for the child the pregnancy brings?
Our baby is much desired and much loved, coming after a very difficult time of loss after loss. I am deeply thankful for this child and for the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. And yet these past several weeks have still been filled with exhaustion, discomfort, and pain. The joy of our child and pregnancy certainly allow me to view this suffering in a more positive light, however, it doesn't mute it. The sleepless nights, the back and hip pain, the headaches, the searing heartburn, etc, etc, etc. are all still there. And yet acknowledging those physical burdens makes me feel guilty. I've never once thought that our baby isn't worth the pain, but even admitting that there is pain somehow seems wrong.
My "official" due date is tomorrow, though I think that my real due date passed last weekend. This end time has been much more difficult than I expected. My daughter was 8 days "late" and I was really calm and patient until she arrived. I'm much more uncomfortable this time, but also emotionally much more anxious. I never worried during my first pregnancy, never considered that a pregnancy would - or even could, really - end with anything other than a healthy, living child. This time is different. It's not that I've expected that something would go wrong, but every moment I've been aware that something very well could go wrong. And so, as I reach the very end of this pregnancy, the urgency seemed heightened. I've made it this far - nine months! - and I'm just so, so very anxious to finally reach the finish line. Each day that goes by seems like an eternity.
And yet, both the baby and I are healthy. While I'm certainly tired and uncomfortable and in a bit of pain, I'm overall feeling well for nine months pregnant. It seems so greedy to ask or pray for the baby to come now instead of waiting patiently. I've already gotten nine months of a healthy pregnancy, something so many women pray and plead for. Why can't I suffer a little more? Why can't I enjoy the time I have left? Why must I want more?