Monday, September 29, 2014

Guest Entry! The Joys of Pregnancy

If you haven't read my post The Perfectly Picturesque Pregnancy, do it. I believe in balance in all things. And who better to balance my entry on the untold horrors of pregnancy than my older sister? She is pretty experienced in the whole baby making area. This month after the birth of her baby girl, she will have had four babies in four years. And as far as I know, there is no plan on slowing down. It is pretty lengthy but actually a fast read. I didn't want to take anything out of it, so here it is for all you ladies who need a different attitude towards your pregnancy woes. I know I do!

Why I Love Being Pregnant

I realize that most women don’t enjoy being pregnant because of the many symptoms that come along with it. However, having been pregnant for 35 months out of the last 49 months, and always trying to find the best of any situation, I have come to discover a few reasons why I actually enjoy being pregnant.

Enhanced Sensitivity- I have found that when I am pregnant, I am more sensitive to everything. I am more sensitive to violence, anger, contention, and vulgarity. Movies that I use to be fine watching that had certain acts of violence, really bother me when I am pregnant. I can’t handle watching movies that even have smaller amounts of fighting and violence. I really don’t like being in situations where people are angry or there is a feeling of contention. Bad words, dirty jokes, and other vulgar acts tend to bother me more when I am pregnant than when I am not pregnant. On the one hand, you might just say being pregnant has turned me into a sissy. But, as I have thought a lot about these things, I realize that it is not our nature to be comfortable with violence, anger, and vulgarity. In this fallen world, these things, weather we choose to expose ourselves to them through entertainment or we are exposed merely by our circumstances of life., surround us and we have grown comfortable with them. It is not natural, or godly, to watch someone hitting and hurting someone else without feeling sorrow, sadness, or empathy for the person being hurt. Small children respond with concern in such situations, even if it is “just a movie”, whereas most adults have learned to not feel sadness and empathy. Violence in movies, though simulated simply reminds me of all the real violence that happens in the world.
I believe that a major purpose of this life is to become more Christlike. Christ is a man who would never take lightly another person’s pain. Christ loves each of us, and never likes to see us suffer. How can we take pleasure, or at least claim mere indifference, when we see the suffering of another person? Christ suffers with each of us, and has indeed suffered everything that we will ever suffer. When I am pregnant and witness violence, anger, or vulgarity I am reminded of the charity/love that our Savior Jesus Christ has for each of God’s children, and feel a desire to be more like Him. I want to rid the world of these terrible things, and look forward to a world of peace and love among all of God’s children. While we are here in this mortal world, I believe strongly in the old fashioned teaching that women and children should be spared from having to experience and deal with as much of these evils as possible.
Slow to Anger- Mostly talking about the first trimester of pregnancy, I do experience nausea and feel very tired. I don’t usually throw up, and I don’t feel ridiculously nauseated, but I definitely have a nice blanket of mild to moderate nausea that covers every day of my first trimester. Let me first just declare that I do not like feeling sick. I don’t like feeling nauseated. I don’t like feeling exhausted and having no energy. But since I have experienced this during the first trimester of each of my pregnancies, I have observed some positive things that come from it. I feel like I am a more Christlike parent when I don’t feel good. I’m a lot more laid back and tend not to freak out about stuff that doesn’t really matter that much. I am slower to anger. I don’t yell. I tend to try to parent more through “persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42) I don’t necessarily act this way because I am purposefully trying to be more Christlike, it is usually because I am too exhausted or lazy to get up and yell at my children. But I feel like experiencing it has helped me to be a more Christlike parent when I do feel good. Because my kids are young, I really don’t want to get into bad parenting habits of yelling, spanking, and physically forcing things upon my kids. I want to be a Christlike teacher and example.
Excuse to sit and do nothing/play with kids- When I don’t feel good, and all I want to do is sit and veg on the floor, I have the excuse that I am pregnant. I don’t feel guilty about playing with my kids instead of cleaning house, because I’m pregnant and so I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” and getting lots of “rest.” I believe I have played with my kids more, given them more attention, read them more books, and just spent more time with them because when I don’t feel good I don’t want to clean house or run errands. I have the type of personality that likes to always be busy and doing something. I get bored easily. Being pregnant/not feeling good has forced me to slow down my life and take the time to enjoy my children.
Never feel alone/ feel baby move- I feel like with each of my pregnancies, I’ve become more sensitive and aware of when my baby’s spirit is with their body. Once my baby’s spirit joins his/her body, I enjoy the feeling that I am never alone. I feel like there is always somebody with me. I also like feeling my baby move inside of me because it reminds me that there is somebody else with me all the time.
Always feel special- People always talk about how pregnant women just have “this glow” about them that makes them a little bit special. I don’t really know how to describe it, but I feel that “glow.” I feel like I am beautiful and special just because I am pregnant—because I am creating a life.
People treat you differently- People tend to smile at you more when you are pregnant. They are kind, and often go out of their way to help you or give you some kind of special privilege. People are often friendlier and feel like they have something to talk to you about even if they don’t know you. (ie. When is your baby due? Are you having a boy or a girl? Congratulations!) It seems that people feel a bit of happiness just in seeing that you are going to have a baby. It’s like seeing someone thoroughly enjoying a delicious, soft Bavarian cream-filled chocolate donut. It makes you happy just to see them enjoying that donut because you know how good it is, even though you are not eating one at the moment.
Always have a very defined purpose in life/life has meaning- Sometimes I get in a rut where I just feel like I’m going through the motions of life so robotically and life has little purpose. It’s usually when I am living quite selfishly and only thinking about myself. I know the answer to getting out of this kind of rut is serving others. When I am pregnant, at the very least I am helping my new baby to grow and develop. It is important for me to take care of myself and eat right because it helps my baby. You can’t just decide to throw your life away because this baby’s life depends on your life. For example, I feel more motivated to wear my seatbelt when I am in the car because I know that if I am in an accident, the best way to protect my baby is to protect myself. There is someone else in the world that really REALLY cares if and how you live because his/her life depends on it. Which leads perfectly into my next point.
Forces you to eat healthy/crave good food- When I am not pregnant my body can handle a lot more junk food without feeling sick. But when I am pregnant, I feel sick if I eat more than one brownie, or cookie, or donut. Sugar just zaps my energy. I don’t really get weird cravings like ice cream and pickles, I usually just crave good solid, healthy food like vegetables and meat. So even though I would like to be able to eat half a pan of brownies sometimes without feeling sick, I like that being pregnant helps me to make better choices about my diet that will affect me and my baby. This somewhat leads to my next point, but in an opposite kind of way.
Eat as much as you want, nobody judges you- Everybody knows that when you’re pregnant (or nursing) you’re “eating for two.” So I feel very comfortable going back for seconds or thirds, and don’t have to worry about anybody judging you for being a little porker because you’re eating too much.
Perfect mom to your baby- Another thing I like about being pregnant is that I get to feel like a perfect mom to at least one of my children. I have come to feel more and more with each of my pregnancies that I really actually do have a baby already even though they are still inside of me. But it is nice because this baby is always fed, never cries, is always safe, always comfortable and close to me, and best of all, I can carry her around with me all the time but still have the freedom to use both of my hands!

In conclusion, I like being pregnant because I feel like it makes me a better person. I know that my personal circumstances and situation make it easier for me to be pregnant than a lot of women experience. I have relatively easy pregnancies. I know that a lot of women have significantly harder pregnancies and I don’t know if I would feel the same way about pregnancy if I experienced it the way that they do. I still experience a number of difficulties—I get leg cramps, nausea, hemorrhoids, lower back pain, aches in my hips and pelvis, having to waddle, extreme tiredness, difficulty sleeping, waking up to pee, having to pee ALL the time even if you just did two minutes ago. I don’t enjoy experiencing any of these things. But there are many difficulties and sicknesses (even some on this list) that people experience even when they’re not pregnant. I figure if I’m going to be experiencing some kind of unpleasant symptom I’d rather do it because I’m pregnant. I’d rather have a headache because I’m pregnant, than just have a headache for no reason. Then at least it gives purpose and meaning to my discomfort. In my never-ending journey to become more Christlike, I feel like pregnancy has given me a little push in the right direction; although I, of course, still have a very long way to continue on my journey. I think a lot of people have the tendency to try to rid their lives of trials and difficulties. They believe that they will be happiest when they have the least amount of troubles, aches, and pains. I believe that we must learn how to find happiness and peace amidst the difficulties we experience. Life is never going to be perfect (in this world). Our purpose is to learn how to make the best of what we are experiencing and use it to help us become more Christlike. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in his most recent conference address:
“When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?

Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.”
(April 2014 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Grateful in Any Circumstances)

I don’t claim to be perfect at this, but it is something I am trying to do in my life. I am very grateful for the gift of pregnancy we have been given as women. It is a miracle to me that Heavenly Father has allowed me to join in His work of creating physical bodies for His children so that they can come to Earth.
My angel sister and her family(one baby girl coming this month!)
My first, her second.

What do you think? How do you feel about pregnancy?