The last several weeks have been difficult for me. According to the doctor, the way I’m feeling is typical of pregnancy for about half of women.
I’ve felt extremely weak and lethargic. I have to eat every 2-3 hours or I get sick, but what I eat often gives me a sour stomach so I don’t want to eat. Very little sounds good to me. When I do eat, there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll keep it down. If I get sick, I have to eat again or the sickness will start all over. My body will only tolerate small amounts of food at one time.
On top of that, my sense of smell is extremely sensitive. Things that I never smelled before, or that didn’t smell bad to me, now gag me. I’m taking a prescription medication for nausea, which helps me keep down most of my food, but it doesn’t stop the sickness over things that gross me out. I’ve broken out in unexplained hives, developed a painful ganglion cyst on my right wrist that restricts the use of my right hand, and have extreme motion sickness. When I get up and walk around, I get motion sick. Seriously?!
I’ve spent most of the last six weeks lying on the couch with a trash can right beside me. I haven’t been able to cook meals. Not only do I have little energy to do so, but many foods turn my stomach so I can’t even look at them. Rick has been surviving off of cereal, take-out leftovers, frozen pizza, and sandwiches. Every once in a while I get a burst of energy and load or unload the dishwasher, but he’s been doing most of the dishes. He is also the designated trash-can emptier.
Yesterday I had a little pity-party for myself. Rick heated up some perfectly good food that smelled so bad to me that I went outside to sit on the front porch for some fresh air. It was a really nice evening and I was glad for the change of scenery. But I sat there and cried, feeling like a failure as a wife, wondering if my strength and energy will ever return, wondering how I can ever get pregnant again, and begging God to make it all stop! Not the pregnancy, of course, but just the sickness. Please, God, please – make it stop. I can’t take any more.
God didn’t answer me this time. He was quiet. But I recognized the pity-party for what it was. I sometimes struggle with self-pity and the loss of my pride. I know how to handle this demon. I didn’t want to, but I begrudgingly began to sing a song of praise and thanks to God. It wasn’t very pretty, and I cried through much of it, but I sang anyway. I thanked Him for His many blessings. I thanked Him for the dang sickness that is making me nuts because it means I will soon be a mother. It means my sweet husband will finally have his own child. I thanked Him that my 36-year old body is still capable of pregnancy.
And then He spoke to me, very quietly and gently. He reminded me that when I look at the waves around me, I’ve taken my eyes off Him. He encouraged me to stop watching TV all day and to take some time to get my eyes back on Him. I promised Him I would, got up and walked back in the house, then promptly lost the sandwich Rick had just made me because the smell in the house was still so strong.
I didn’t go to church this morning because I woke up dry heaving with terrible heartburn. Instead, I returned to the practice that has gotten me through so many difficult times in my life. I read the Scriptures for the day from The Book of Common Prayer Daily Office. I took notes. And from them I discovered exactly what I needed to hear today.
I noticed a theme as I read the various verses from different parts of the Bible. What stood out for me today was that God gives His people strength. As I read Psalm 29, I noticed that it doesn’t say God will make everything easy for us. “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood… May God give strength to His people.” Bad things (like The Flood) will happen, but God gives us His strength. I’ve been praying for relief when I should have been praying for STRENGTH.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV
So this morning I changed my prayer. Lord, give me Your strength to handle the difficulties of pregnancy. Help me to remember that this is temporary and that a miracle is happening inside me. Thank You for this precious miracle baby that You have given us. We waited for Your timing, Lord, so please help us to have the strength we need to be parents, to have more children, and to do so without growing weary. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I decided to share this difficulty with you today because I figure there are probably others out there who are going through their own trials and pain. What do you do when you ask for it to be taken away and God allows the struggle to continue? The best answer I have for today is to pray for God’s strength to make it through.