This Sunday, we’ll have known that I’m pregnant for two weeks. It’s been, all told, a lovely period of time. Full of joy, excitement, reverence. It has also, however, been muted by fear, so that the excitement is softer, more contained than I anticipated. I guess I thought it would be nothing but ecstatic bliss right away, that all that mattered was the getting pregnant, but now the staying that way is critical. J and I both whisper to my belly things like: “Stay. Do. Grow.” All the time. Like a mantra. From a genetics standpoint, everything about this person is already determined: his or her sex, eye color, finger length, shoulder width, nose shape… everything. None of that has manifested yet, but it’s all encoded in a fully formed, never.to.be.identically.matched genetic code. Isn’t that amazing? And so I want more than anything for this person to develop, and to one day emerge in the world. It almost hurts to want something this much.
Our friend A – a wonderful mother of two grown children – says this is merely the first manifestation of the lifetime of fear that is parenting. I’m trying to come to terms with this new reality, and not to let it consume me. If it’s staying, we’d better figure out how to get along together. I struggle with anxieties, but I sense that it’s never been more important for me to rise above them. Fear can destroy joy. It can destroy faith. We’re growing a human being. What, if not joy and faith?
J and I had our first parenting decision to make last week. I’m still on progesterone (and will be through the first trimester) and we were offered (per our nervous request) a higher dose in a different form. Though we like that it would be available if we wanted it, we turned it down. There’s no sign we need a higher dose. We’re doing fine on this one. I got pregnant on this one, and according to the research I’ve done, the drug we were offered has never been shown to actually decrease the possibility of miscarriage. Also, this new form of the drug (which is synthetic, while what we’ve been on is naturally derived) comes with an increased chance of birth defects. We decided that to switch would be a fear-based choice. It would be to assume (with no evidence) that my body can’t sustain this pregnancy. It would be to choose, for this baby, a greater risk than he or she has any documented reason to endure. If we have, at some later point, reason to believe that my body or this pregnancy needs the higher dose, we won’t hesitate. For now, though, I think this is right. I want to start off trusting this process, my family, this growing being (now the size of an apple seed!), my body.
I’m in awe of this pregnancy. As my father-in-law said when we told him, “It worked!” Yeah. I mean, wow. And isn’t that amazing?
* J and I pray before eating, and we change our prayer regularly so that it doesn’t become empty routine. Right now, our prayer is this:
For food in a world where many walk in hunger,
For faith in a world where many walk in fear,
And for friends in a world where many walk alone,
We give thanks.