I was sick for several weeks with Darah in the beginning, which was my only clue that there was, in fact, a little peanut growing in there. I remember the second trimester being relatively easy, though my belly did start to grow quite a bit (I’m only 5 feet tall…nowhere for a baby to go but out!). But during the second trimester, my belly felt quite cute to me. I could feel the baby fluttering about, and I’m pretty sure I had that pregnancy glow.
Then the third trimester came along. This is when the realities of parenting started to become apparent. I became really uncomfortable. I developed this horrible rash called PUPPS and my hips hurt tremendously as they were stretching themselves out in preparation for labor. I remember having the distinct feeling that my body was truly no longer mine. That was a hard moment for me, to realize this. But what could I do about it? Nothing, other than to press on and keep loving the little girl I was holding.
And then it was time for her to be born. I only did part of my labor naturally. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever been through. EVER. I had a doula and a loving husband right there beside me to help out, and thank goodness. I’m not sure that I could have been strong enough on my own, mentally, to believe that I could actually deliver a baby.
While I was fortunate enough to not need a C-Section, my body still suffered, as most women’s bodies do, from the experience of carrying a baby and then getting her out of your body. The body I had before is not one I will be able to return to. This is yet another sacrifice that had to be made in order to bring her into the world.
So after the baby I at least got my body back to myself, right? Um, no. We wanted to breastfeed. I think breastfeeding Darah is perhaps the second greatest gift I have ever given. It was not an easy task for us, as it turned out, and we were supplementing by 6 months. I was constantly hooked up to that breast pump and downing Fenugreek (which, by the way, makes you smell like maple syrup). We also battled a few rounds of thrush (3, I believe). But I know I gave her the very best start that I possibly could. What it required, though, is once again giving my body to someone else. While I was sad when Darah weaned herself at 10 1/2 months old, I was also relieved to get my body back after roughly 20 months of service to the baby. This was not something I had thought about at all before getting pregnant.
And I’m really glad I didn’t know about it. I suppose it is possible that if I had been able to get a true understanding of the sacrifices required to have a baby, I might have rethought it. I say that because I didn’t know that I had it within me to give at this level. Growing a child and then caring for a child really does force you to be a greater person than you ever dreamed you could be.
And so in the end, Darah has been a tremendous gift not only to others, but also to me. Jesus said that the last shall be first, and finally, as a mom, I totally get it.