WOW it’s been a while since I blogged.
I was writing so much at the beginning of this year, and now, here I am at the end of June and I haven’t written since January. I’ve missed this space and I’ve missed you all!
The main reason I haven’t written since January, you ask?
As many of you likely already know…I am pregnant!
At the time of writing, 27 weeks pregnant, to be exact.
Being pregnant has been the most surreal, beautiful, wonderful, terrifying season of my life thus far.
I say terrifying because…well, I have the amazing privilege and responsibility of raising a human being (alongside my wonderful husband, of course).
And not just raising him: raising him to know, love, and serve Jesus. God has entrusted me with this amazing privilege of being a mother.
Oh, oops…did I mention we’re having a boy?!
WE’RE HAVING A BABY BOY!
Okay, let me back it up and start from the beginning a bit, because there’s a lot to unpack.
Finding out & telling family and friends
I found out I was pregnant on January 21st, 2022. It was a Saturday morning. One of my best friends, Kristann, was coming over around 10am (Johnny and I usually sleep in till at least then on Saturday mornings…I know, I know, that will all change soon!).
At this point, my period was about 6 days late, but that’s not uncommon for me since I’ve gotten my period back. I hadn’t taken a pregnancy test yet because…well…let’s just say I’ve taken lots in our marriage the *moment* my period was a tiny bit late, assuming I had to be pregnant (even though, ahem, we were pretty careful if you know what I mean).
But, just two days prior, I knew. I had that sure feeling that some moms talk about. The only symptom I really had was that my boobs were more sore than they’d ever been in my life (I’m talking shower-water-feels-like-bullets kind of sore), but I just knew. My body, my mind, everything felt different, like it was preparing for birth.
So that Saturday morning, I took a pregnancy test. And even though I really did know I was pregnant, I half-expected that second line to just not show up. I had the test flipped upside down while waiting the loooong 3 minutes, distracting myself with teeth-brushing and hair-combing and prayer.
When I flipped it over and saw that little line…oh my goodness. I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like.
Elation. Just complete excitement and joy was all I felt. There was a little human starting to grow inside me?! What?! I just couldn’t believe it.
I have to share what a testimony of God’s faithfulness this is, too, as someone who used to have anorexia and didn’t have a period for 7 years.
I’ve been told by doctors and hormone specialists that it’d be difficult for me to conceive.
I spent years worrying about whether or not I would be able to carry a child.
And this past January, just about 2 years after I got my first period again after a few months of real recovery, I discovered I was pregnant; we had conceived within the first month of not using contraception.
We weren’t even trying. I felt God say, “This is my gift to you.”
We didn’t have to “try” for it (He’d convicted me to have faith going into it). He simply fulfilled His will for our family.
I know that, for so many families, this is not the experience, and I empathize so deeply with you if you have or are struggling with infertility and/or infant loss. I can’t begin to imagine the pain, and I am so sorry. I pray that you know how much Jesus loves you and that this trial brings you closer to Him as your faith in Him grows ever stronger. I share my testimony to encourage: if you have been told that you’ll struggle to conceive, know that God’s ways are higher.
So I saw that little line and after screaming, crying, laughing, and jumping up and down, I ran downstairs to our bedroom and threw the test at Johnny, beaming ear to ear.
“It’s happening?!” He said, grinning.
All I could do was nod, tears spilling down my cheeks in utter disbelief. I’m pregnant? We have a son/daughter?
We talked and talked and talked (mostly me rambling) for the next half hour until Kristann showed up. Unable to contain myself, I greeted her at the door by holding up the pregnancy test and the joy and shock on her face is something I’ll never forget. “Did this just happen?!” she exclaimed.
Telling family and friends only continued from there and never stopped being so much fun. It has never gotten less surreal.
First trimester symptoms
Okay, so I already mentioned the crazy-sore boobs. When I found out I was pregnant, I was just about 5 weeks, and that whole next week was bliss compared to what was to come.
In that fifth week, I think God must have granted me a 7-day period to just enjoy being pregnant, because my only symptoms remained that I had crazy-sore boobs and some pelvic pressure. I was extra hungry that week, and remember I actually ate a whole pint of dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s (something I hadn’t done since the early days of my anorexia recovery, and something I haven’t done since).
But, as soon as week 6 rolled around, in set the nausea, food aversions, and puking (oh, my!). Yup. It was honestly suuuuper rough.
I had essentially zero desire to eat anything, except in the mornings. Yes, folks. My “morning sickness” was at its worst at night and at is least annoying in the morning. I would wake up feeling quite hungry, my stomach actually growling, and so I would have a hearty breakfast. However, as soon as I ate breakfast, the nausea would set in, along with nearly CONSTANT burping (???). Like, I mean, I was burping even when I had barely eaten. Who knows what that’s about?!
And the food, unfortunately, would always make me feel worse rather than better. Countless people told me, “I know eating is the last thing you want to do, but you feel so much better once you eat.”
Lies. I mean, at least for me, this wasn’t the case. Every time I ate, I would feel worse. It’s possible that this is because I took my prenatal vitamins with meals, so it was actually the prenatal that was causing all the stomach upset, but nevertheless, food was a rough thing from week 6 to week 15 of my pregnancy.
And, I know what you’re thinking if you either know me, read my blog, or have/have had an eating disorder.
Was this triggering?
And my honest-to-goodness answer for you is no. No, it wasn’t. And that is one of the ways that I know that God has ordained this time for me to be pregnant and become a mother: rather than triggering, it was freeing.
Freeing to actually be in tune with my body and still recognize that it’s really important that I push through and feed it, especially while I’m nourishing not one but TWO lives;
Freeing to not be following a diet, not forcing myself to eat certain things and avoid certain things and be able to stick to bland foods like dry toast and crackers when that was all that sounded stomach-able;
Freeing to accept this as a short season of my life and not an opportunity to lose weight.
Thank You, Jesus.
So, what did help the nausea?
To be honest…nothing. I tried lots of things, and a few things helped a little bit, but nothing totally helped. I did consider Diclectin, but wasn’t personally totally comfortable with taking it. What helped a little bit was:
- Ginger tea
- Sucking on ice chips
- Ice-cold water (sometimes with lemon, but sometimes lemon sounded gross)
- Extra sleep
- Baths (not too hot)
- Vitamin B6
- Taking my prenatals at night, not all throughout the day
Nausea was easily my main and most irritating first-trimester symptom, but I did also experience:
- Puking (always at night, about 10 times total; nothing crazy)
- Lots of burping/gas
- Continued pelvic pressure
- Food aversions (to basically everything, especially sweets)
- Stronger smell/smells that made me gag (meat, leftover food)
- Agitated temperament (I’m usually super easy-going, but found myself way more edgy)
- Occasional bursts of emotion for “no reason”
The bump is a-growin’! While I’m 27 weeks now, I’ll start by just sharing my first-trimester bump photos.
A brief word on pregnancy & eating disorders
I am going to be writing a full blog post on this topic alone, but I did want to briefly touch on it in this post.
First of all, after 7 years of no periods and more than half my life with disordered eating, I can truly only praise and thank God for the fact that I am pregnant, and that we got pregnant so quickly. Of course, I put in the work: but I have only Him to praise for the fact that He brought me to the point of being capable of putting in that work and actually obeying Him. That work involved a lot of tears, a lot of physical and mental pain, and a lot of joy, and now I can truly say that I have a healthier relationship with food than I have had since I was, like, 10 years old.
I already touched on the fact that, praise God, it wasn’t triggering for me to deal with nausea and food aversions. What has been a little bit harder than I anticipated has been the changes taking place in my body: changes that are, of course, inevitable, expected, and actually signs of a healthy momma and healthy baby.
It’s just interesting because you feel bigger all over. And you know you have a big belly because there’s a baby inside of you, but all the diet culture you’ve been surrounded by your whole life is screaming that your gut should NOT be bigger than your butt.
I also couldn’t for the life of me work out in first trimester, which was not only a bit tough mentally, but physically I just genuinely missed being active and having energy. I’m so grateful that in second trimester I’ve had lots of energy and have been loving my workouts. But, when I went to work out in first trimester, I would either puke or feel very dizzy and just weak. I would go for walks and that was about all I could manage, and I had to learn to be okay with that. I had to learn that that was, in fact, okay. Taking a couple months off my regular workouts wasn’t going to kill me.
In second trimester, I’ve had to modify some of my usual exercises and lift less weight to be safe, but, for the most part, I’ve been mentally okay with that.
I read that my baby feels everything that I feel. So, if I cry, he feels that emotion as if it were his own. When I laugh and am happy and feel light, so does he. When I’m a ball of stress, he feels that, too.
This has really helped me to think about how I’m mentally treating myself, knowing that it’s LITERALLY not just affecting me, but my son. When I’m self-critical and a ball of stress, I’m reminded that I don’t want my son to ever feel that way. Of course, we can’t fake our way out of emotions, but we can speak Truth over them. I’ve been getting a lot better at doing that, at actually ministering to my own self God’s Truth over lies. And it’s been such a good practice!
So, as I already mentioned…we are having a little boy!
And, to be honest, I felt in my bones that this baby was a boy from the day after I found out I was pregnant.
I was worshipping in church, and prayed briefly for the child in my womb, and then I just felt Jesus say, so clearly, “This child will be a gift to many, including you. This child is my gift to you.”
Now, Johnny and I had been floating names around for years. Talking baby names was something we enjoyed doing even before we were married or had kids on the radar. And there has been one boy name that has stuck with us as one we both love since those earliest conversations. It’s actually a name that Johnny has loved for years, since he was just a boy.
And, when I looked up the meaning of the name, I saw that it was “Gift of God.” There are lots of boy names that mean gift of God, so I’m not quite giving it away here ;). But, there are far less girl names that mean Gift of God, particularly girl names that we actually like.
Beyond just having so much peace about a baby name, I just knew. The same way I knew I was pregnant, I just felt so strongly that we were having a son.
Increased faith & joy
And on top of all of that, God has increased my faith and my joy tenfold.
“And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” 1 Timothy 2:14-15
I have found this verse to be so true: that God has truly restored so many parts of my heart through bearing this beautiful child. I see life in a whole new light; I see my own parents in a whole new light, with such a deeper respect for them.
I see my body in a whole new light, and this has perhaps been the most monumental thing for me. What’s funny is that my closest friends and family were always most concerned about me relapsing into anorexia at two critical moments in my life: my wedding and pregnancy. Maybe it’s obvious why, but in case it’s not: being a bride comes with the pressure to be the thinnest, and pregnancy comes with inevitable weight gain.
Meanwhile, a month before my wedding is when my recovery truly started and I gained 30 pounds (read all about that here). And, since being pregnant, I have come to a new level of acceptance of my body that I didn’t think was possible at my current size.
I still have hard moments. I still struggle with pervasive thoughts from time to time. And I’m still tempted into old behaviours occasionally. But the last time I used a behaviour? I can’t even remember. The last time I let the thoughts take over without giving them over to Jesus? It maybe happens once a month on average. I’m doing so, so much better, and I truly give all the praise to Jesus.
And having the responsibility of nourishing a little one…being his very source of life right now, of sustenance…my BODY being his home…it’s truly a gift and a privilege that is beyond words.
I am both so excited and slightly terrified to be a mom and to enter parenthood with my best friend, the best dad for our son that I could possibly imagine.
We can’t wait to meet you, little one.