Sigh, I never thought that I would be doing this, but I want to be honest. I want to live an open and free life, a task that is not easy. I can admit this now in writing and to the public. I hate the way that I look. I have never been real secure with how I look (well, maybe when I was younger), but now I cringe when I look in the mirror. I was a skinny little girl once. Even after giving birth to two children, I was only 125 lbs, a weight that I would love to get back to. Now, this is not a story about weight, it is not a tale of how we should all be skinny individuals and that this is the only way we can begin to feel good about ourselves. This story is about a woman who is not who she wants to be and this includes weight, energy level, fitness and skin. I use to be such a vivacious woman. When my husband was taking an ax to a massive tree root, I was there with him. When my husband was cutting and clearing wood for our pole barn, I was there on mother's day, hauling wood. When my husband dug a hole to find our water bladder, I was there with him, digging a hold. We would walk here and walk there, and I loved every minute of it. After, a spinal nerve block procedure before a significant surgery, we went hiking in Pennsylvania. This still remains my absolute favorite vacation before of the time we spend hiking and admiring the outdoors. Since October 11, 2015 my life has been different. This feeling of disgust and anger that I have for my body is not because of the birth of my 4 children, but a car accident that left me struggling many days, wishing I was no longer alive because I could barely pull myself up to do household chores let alone workout.
Let me be clear, I know that I am smart and talented and funny and a great mom and moreover, I am loved by God beyond belief, but I still have trouble with who I am on a daily basis. I have arthritis in my back and Fibromyalgia that causes serious body pain. I am terribly fatigued every single day. I had a terrible reaction to the drugs after a surgery a year ago, and my skin looks terrible with scars and continuous bumps. However, here I am, really trying to be the best that I can be and as we know that is really something else. I am trying to be quiet long enough for God to whisper in my ear "you look so beautiful" like a man would his cherished love. I want to show what I look like after workout: sweaty, dark circles, skin blemishes, ugly workout clothes and all. This is me. This is me blessed beyond belief because I have more than many people will have in a lifetime. Still, I am trying to love the body that I am in, I am fighting to be that beautiful woman who hears God whisper in her ear, responding, "thank you God, I believe you".
As I begin my work with Alpha Grand Rapids, a non-profit Christian ministry that works with mothers and women in unplanned pregnancies, I cannot but help go back to this story. If you are ever facing an unplanned pregnancy, please know there are options. I was already the mother of three beautiful children and felt like we were all done, a complete family. What I found out about life with this unplanned pregnancy has been astonishing.
I Am What?!
I was alone in our bathroom when the doctor called me on the phone with my blood test results. I had been feeling ill the past few weeks, and started having this odd hunch that I was pregnant. There was something odd about this though, I had had permanent birth control put in eight months after our third child. I was convinced that her pregnancy was certainly God's way of telling me that I was done having children. Combine Gestational Diabetes and pre-eclampsia and I was over my head done with having children. I was content with this, our third child was more than we could handle, a tiny bundle of colicky mixed with intense cuteness. So, as I mentioned, I underwent permanent birth control. Imagine my surprise and utter terror when I heard my doctor confirm my fears of being pregnant. What was it she said, "you're pregnant girl."
I sunk down on the side of the tub. What the h@ll was going on, this had to be some sick joke. I DID NOT want to be pregnant, I DID NOT want another baby. I was angry because I had attached myself to our latest little bundle of joy who, by this time was a toddler. I thought that this was going to take away from her security and happiness and I was not prepared to have any other child take away her attention. Also, I had recently started graduate school and this was certainly not needed. I did not want to be pregnant again.
When I called my husband I was crying and he was fearful. Now, at this point we were not even sure this was a viable pregnancy. The most we knew was that this could be an ectopic pregnancy, which would mean that I would need surgery to correct this pregnancy situation. With this knowledge, my uncontrollable tears and I could tell that my husband was slightly concerned.
It was November 11th, Veteran's day. Being that my husband was a veteran, I chalked this up to one cruel veteran's day gift. My husband left work early to be with me as I was scheduled for an emergency ultra sound.
My husband that day was amazing, the opposite of how I thought he was going to be. When the technician began speaking to me as if this was some routine ultra sound, a totally normal happy pregnancy, I turned away and felt a tear rolled down my cheek. My husband held my hand, and brushed the hair away from face. He could see how all of the unexpected news, the viable pregnancy news, had hit me. What kind of mother was I going to be to this child when I didn't want another baby? So here is where my husband was, a man who I thought was going to flip out, the man who I thought was going to hate this pregnancy as much as I did, being strong. What was going on inside his mind? I later learned that a resounding, "bring it on." rung in his head.
This little girl came to us on our ninth wedding anniversary. She was a 5# 12 oz bundle of joy who I thought was just absolutely gorgeous. Up to that point when I saw her face, I doubted if I could love her. Yet my heart had been transformed from the first moment I looked at her. I remember telling my father as he held her, "isn't she beautiful?" And I meant it, she was our beautiful baby, a little girl who may have been unplanned, but made from love.
What have I learned. God has plans for us that we cannot even fathom. God knew I wanted this little girl, this unexpected bundle of joy, before I knew I wanted her. Everything we had done at this point included the idea for a family of five. We have a three bedroom home, a room with two girls who already took up quite a bit of space. Yet somehow we have made things work.
We have no plans of suing the company of my useless permanent birth control. How can you want to fight anyone when you know that she was the plan from the start? How can you not love a little girl whose blue eyes melt right into your heart, and whose smile and giggles fill the room with joy? I have health issues due to a fourth pregnancy, and I weigh the option for surgery to correct these persistent issues on a weekly basis, but Marie Grace is just perfect.