Preggers + alone.
Has anyone ever listened to the song “Two Pinks Lines” by Eric church? The chorus has a line:
“Yeah, wonder what faith is going to decide, we're just sitting around waiting on two pink lines”
Y’all. That. Is LIFE. Unless you use the high tech digital pregnancy tests, you really sit and wait on two pink lines to find the answer to the next 18+ years of your life. Scared yet? Kidding. I mean yes, it is scary, but it is so freakin’ awesome, too. Being pregnant, I have learned a lot and I am barely halfway through so Lord I really am anxious to see how different I am after these 40 weeks are over. One thing is definite, hailey + being alone= terrifying. I really can n o t be alone. I am clingy as all get out and I admit it in fine print. I like to blame my added hormones on some of my overreactive moments, but I can only do that so many times before I get the whole “the boy cried wolf” type responses. To the ladies out there doing this all alone with no finish line to see it through, I applaud you. You are #goals and I wish I could hug, cry, eat a gallon of ice cream in one sitting, and then cry over the fact it’s gone, with each and every one of you (: . One of my friends, Haley, did do this alone and wow, girl keep doing you because you’re an inspiration to us all.
I have been complimented on being strong and others telling me they don't know how I do it. Some days, I don't know how I do it. I have the days where I complain way too much and make things a bigger deal than they are. Days where I choose earthly living other Christ, I say I ordered the whole hormonal package and added sprinkles to the top. These are the days I haven't placed into Christ's hands before I step out of bed. I recently got a job at Wiregrass Hope Nonprofit, the woman interviewing me has a similar story to my present. She complimented me on going against what the normal is to society and holding on to my trust in Christ's plan for me. I so wish I could have sat on the other side of her desk saying “oh ya, I am on top of this” but I would have lied. Instead, I teared up and thanked her but was honest on how it has been one of the most trying times of my life. Comparison hits me on every angles and the enemy pulls me in every which way and direction. This season is not easy. I could not do this alone and I don't do it alone, because I have Christ with me always.
It's crazy how Christ really ordains our days before we even reach them. He knows years in advance what we will need and who we will need years later. This brings me to a dear friend that was in my small group, then led my small group, and now is a power momma friend. Love. Her.
Erin Roberts has been my go to since the day I met her. On our first night in small group, I noticed her wedding band, I was getting married that coming spring and was eager to talk to her for advice and just to have a buddy that understood what came with being engaged so young (good + bad). Small talk turned into deep conversations and a friendly face turned into someone I knew I could confide in.
“Take Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” -Psalms 37:4
Erin found out she was unexpectedly pregnant a few months after she married her sweet hubby, Sam. Erin was trying to finish up here senior year of college while Sam had moved to Roswell to start his new job! (Does this story sound somewhat familiar) If you said yes, you def are one of my friends. Erin lived out what I am living out about a year before me. Can we talk about how God works in weird ways? Somehow and someway, Erin stayed my friend (by the grace of God because I am ridiculous). Even with us being a *long distance friendship* she has been my go to for some trying questions and concerns, without one judgmental comment, a “this is dramatic”, and even with a sweet baby boy and family to look after, she always makes time for me. Community is key.
I asked Erin a few questions for her to answer on how she blazed the trail of being pregnant in college while her husband was long distance. It is awesome to hear a fresh perspective and to have a reminder that we aren’t supposed to have it all together + definitely aren’t supposed to try and do it alone (not just referring to having a long distance hubby, but in general. Find your galpals in Christ, ladies. You need them + they will help in ways your hubby can’t.). God knows we will fail, struggle, and want to give up, but always provides the right community to push us forward.
“Pray Continually" 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Every pregnancy should be celebrated. It is a life being created through God’s work. No pregnancy is the same and there’s not an “ideal” way to go about pregnancy even though society gives us the formalities to be a certain age, have a certain amount in the bank, and only gain 25 lbs while maintaining your rock hard wedding bod (lols). So to all you ladies out there doing this alone, on your own, or just trying to make it to your due date. Give yourself grace. You are doing a w e s o m e. You WILL be an amazing momma and your baby’s super hero. Listen to the Lord, everything else is just noise.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2 ” -Psalms 37:4
How did you deal with the stress of being pregnant while Sam was gone?
When we found out I was pregnant with Henry, we had already been living long-distance for about 4 months. This did not make it any easier though. Sam took the majority of the stress on his back. He served me well by traveling back and forth from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa almost every single weekend. Since I was still in school, it was hard for me to get over to him and get back at reasonable times. Looking back, I did not appreciate all that he did for me and Henry during that time. When he was there, he put cold washcloths on my neck when I would get sick. He would buy me Coke icees or whatever I was craving that day. He would get to Tuscaloosa really late at night Thursday or Friday nights after fighting the traffic, and he would leave really early in the morning on Mondays to make it back in time for work. He sacrificed a lot, so I could finish school well, and that is something that I will always be grateful for. Being long distance also allowed us to be more appreciative and thankful for the time that we had together. I would get so excited about the weekend, not only because it was the weekend but because I knew that Sam would be home with me.
I think there were several ways that I dealt with the stress. One of them was just being in an active relationship with Jesus. He frees us, and He loves us. He wants the best for us, and spending time with Him was and still is the best stress reliever. One of them was being in/leading a small group of girls. This created a consistent time to be surrounded by other believers and talk about Jesus. It was a sweet time of rest that I truly came to love and appreciate so much more than I ever had, even though I had been in these small groups before. Another thing that saved my sanity during this time was my friend that I carpooled with to the school we were both interning at. It took about 30 minutes to get to our school, so we spent a lot of time in the car processing, talking about what the Lord was teaching us, and being each other’s sounding board for all of life’s craziness. I am so thankful for the way Rachel loved me in that season. I cannot stress enough the importance of community in all seasons of life.
What was the hardest thing about pregnancy while away from Sam?
The hardest thing for me was him not being there when things happened. I’m passionate about celebrating things, creating traditions, and making memories. Like when Henry started kicking me regularly and hard enough for Sam to feel it, I would miss Sam so much more for not being there to share that with me. Because this was my first baby, it was hard to go to some of my doctor’s appointments without Sam. I just wanted him to be there and hear that Henry was doing great! If I hadn’t been pregnant, I still would have missed Sam like crazy, but because I was pregnant, it magnified the fact that we weren’t together. BUT Jesus was so sweet to me during that time, revealing passions of mine to me and giving me opportunities to love my students. He was showing me His goodness in so many ways, I just didn’t realize them all the time.
What did you do to cope with the added hormones on top of being alone?
Hmm, honestly, I ate a lot of McDonald’s breakfast and Chick-fil-a dinners. :) But really, there were two things that I had to tell myself over and over again. The first thing was, “This is only temporary.” Life comes in seasons, and this was just one of them. Not only was being alone temporary, but so was pregnancy! Reminding myself that this was not going to be my forever reality was helpful. I also had to tell myself, “The Lord’s plan is perfect, and He loves giving good gifts to His children.” I believe that every child is a gift. Being pregnant, no matter the circumstances, is cause for a “Congratulations!” I had to remember that what I was going through was so much bigger than me and my discomfort at the time. I was bringing a LIFE into ETERNITY. Heartburn, nausea, being alone, and all the added hormones were just a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
How did Sam handle being away while you were pregnant?
Like I mentioned earlier, Sam took a lot of the stress of the situation on himself. I didn’t realize or appreciate it at the time, but he didn’t have to drive back every weekend. He didn’t have to sacrifice his time, sleep, or sanity for me, but he did anyway. This is something that I will always cherish. Sam showed me Jesus by laying his life down for me during this crazy time. If you asked him, he would tell you that was one of the worst seasons of his life because it was HARD. He handled it so well and with grace because of his own relationship with Jesus and passion for the gospel. We had plenty of fights and miscommunications during this time too, don’t get me wrong, but we continued to remind ourselves that one day we would get to live together and Henry would be here. Now that that is our reality new stresses have come our way obviously because that’s just how life is. You can’t escape stress of hard times, but the good news is that because Jesus chose the cross and rose again on the third day defeating death once and for all, we can rest in knowing that our Father loves us, cares about us, and wants to have an active relationship with us. That is what comforts us at the end of the day no matter what we’re currently going through.
How did each of you separately prepare for Henry while away?
Man, I think this is a hard question. Personally, I read things in articles about Henry’s development and those kind of things, but I didn’t really do a lot of things specifically to prepare for Henry. I mean of course we got gifts, clothes, and all kinds of things for him, but we moved in together (finally) about 2 months before Henry was born, so I think I kinda put off truly preparing until we were together. I was just focusing on school and wrapping things up in Tuscaloosa.
It’s also interesting you ask this because in the weeks leading up to Henry being born, Sam and I had a conversation about how he felt like I had always “known” Henry because he was in my womb, but he didn’t feel that way because his interactions had been limited to ultrasounds and feeling him kick.
I think the Lord did a lot in each of us just growing us and teaching us more about relying on Him. He matured us into who we became as Henry’s parents.
What did you learn during this season of life?
Jesus really taught me a lot about being equipped. I had no idea how to take care of a baby. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of having babies or anything like that. I always pictured myself with at least a couple of children in my adult life, but the Lord just exceeds each and every one of my expectations. I had a lot of doubts about whether or not I could even be a good mom. I remember asking Sam numerous times, “Do you think I’ll be a good mom?” I was just so afraid that I would mess something up, and honestly, I already have and I know there will be more things to come, but the Lord is so sweet in His care for us that He equips us and prepares us for the things that seem big and scary. He loves us too much to leave us in our fears and insecurities. He comes to us, meets us where we are, and asks us to take His hand and trust Him with it all.
How did your relationship change?
During this time, I learned a lot from the Lord. He matured me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be matured in. He was truly my Good Shepherd leading the way through what seemed like a dark and scary wilderness to the peaceful, green pasture on the other side. He never leaves nor forsakes us when things get hard or we doubt our own identity as children of God.
I think more than anything during this time, I became more passionate about the gospel. I found myself hungering to see the gospel in everyday things and in the words I was reading out of the Bible, whether it was explicit or not. I began going on long rambling tangents during lifegroup about how if we are caught up in the nitty gritty details we are missing the forest for the trees because Jesus is what we should be looking at. He wants us to know Him and know His good news that there is rest for the weary, equipping for the insecure, freedom for the enslaved, and grace for the condemned.
Henry is almost 9 months old now, and I wonder all the time about how we are going to explicitly teach him and our other future kiddos about the good news, about how we are going to raise them to be passionate about loving others, about how we will show them that its not about religion but about relationship, and the list goes on and on.
One of the sweetest things that I learned and am still learning and in awe of is that I have always understood the perspective of being a child when it comes to talking about being a child of God, but now I get to have a glimpse into the perspective of the parent side. I know how much I love Henry, and it blows me away that that is just a drop in the bucket compared to how much the Lord loves me and how much the Lord loves Henry.
What's your "token of advice" to all other mom-to-be's or mothers that are alone majority of the time or all the time?
There are three things that I think are essential in this situation. The first is an active relationship with Jesus. Meet with Him. Don’t worry if it’s not everyday for a certain amount of time because He’s not worried about that stuff. He just wants you to come and be there with Him. He wants you to know Him intimately.
The second is at least one person that does live around you or that you see somewhat regularly that can be there for you to talk to. Community is important in all seasons of life, and Satan loves when we are in isolation. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because your husband isn’t there that you shouldn’t have fun or have friends. That could not be further from the truth. We were created for community. Cling to it during the hard times, don’t push it away.
The third thing is don’t make things bigger than they truly are. Your doctor will tell you what things to avoid and to take your prenatal vitamins and exercise and all that good stuff, but other than that, when you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, ask yourself, “Am I making this bigger than it is?” It is so hard to be rational when you have added hormones in your system and the stress of being lonely and trying to figure out how to be a mom, but sometimes we all just have to take a step back to see the bigger picture.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Philippians 2:13 ” -Psalms 37:4
God will bless you + show you the reason behind every suffering and season of life. Remain in Him. You got this.