Pregnancy: What 1st Trimester Teaches Me About Jesus

If you didn’t know, I’m pregnant with my second baby right now. (Oh, did you miss the super cute pregnancy announcement last week, featuring my super cute child??? Well, here it is:

7

For more cute pictures in that post- and some tips on using chalk markers- click here.)

And let me just say, first trimester was way worse this time than it was with Lucy. Admittedly, I didn’t have any really horrible, outright morning sickness, but I did have nausea bad enough to make me want to curl up in the fetal position for the first 6 hours of the day for several weeks.

Yuck. It was the worst. Not only do you feel like crap, but you can’t explain to anyone why. It seems like when you’re pregnant, that’s one of the few seasons of life when people understand that sometimes, you just can’t be a functional person right now. But so early in the pregnancy, I didn’t want to tell everyone, so I was left isolated in the disgusting feelings.

And I felt it seep into everything from food to weather, from clothes to decisions about staying home or going somewhere. Everything disgusted me! Including the thought of writing posts every week.

Ok, they didn’t disgust me exactly. I just felt like all I could do is consume without mentally having anything to give. I even shared with with the amazing group of Hope*writers (if you’re a writer of any sort of who loves Jesus and has something to say, you should absolutely join this group!!!) about my difficulty in publishing anything at all, let alone biweekly posts.

I was met with resounding encouragement by so many in that particular community that first trimester? It’s no joke, and it’s a time to show yourself some grace. Being pregnant in general is a time to show yourself some grace. (I know that being human in general requires grace, but here we’re talking about a specific category of grace-needing.) 

My new friend, Heather shared what was maybe the most encouraging thing of all- this awesome post called “Things I’m Not Doing” from her own experience of first trimester + baby #2.

I love this list of things, because when I read them I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief. And I thought to myself, “Yeah. I don’t have to do all the things! I can just eat donuts! And it’s ok.”

Because it is.

My favorite items on her “things-I’m-not-doing” list are as follows:

  1. Cooking a lot. Because let’s face it, so far I’m not amazing at cooking and I just can’t seem to get a lot made or prepped in a manner that works for my family right now. So, sometimes we eat Taco Bell for dinner. Or just super easy things that you can assemble or microwave or bake for 20 minutes or something. (I welcome anyone’s advice here who has great menu ideas… just make sure they fall within those guidelines. Otherwise forget it.)
  2. Coming up with creative things for my toddler. Because a) I don’t like coming up with crafts to do, and she’s not in a season where she needs a lot of that anyway. And b) there’s plenty of fun stuff that’s free around here- like a story time at a local coffee shop (that even has kids books and toys, you guys!!! It’s like a coffee shop for moms! Provided I am motivated enough to actually go… see item #3). Feeling badly about not coming up with crafts? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Doing lots of social things. People. I love being social. I do! But the amount of effort it takes to get my 25-pound child up and down 3 flights of stairs, and into the car, and somewhere else, and also being pregnant? Sometimes it’s just not worth the back pain, y’all. I promise we’ll hang out. Just as soon as I stop feeling sick and/or dead after 5:00 pm.
  4. Planning and goal setting for the year. Can I get a witness? Because I super love planning and goal setting. And they’re important. But until my brain de-fogs a little, I don’t think I’ll have mental capacity beyond finding something to eat and finding something for my people to eat. For now, my goal is to eat some waffle fries. (I’m really good at accomplishing those types of goals.)

I could list more things, but I won’t, because you should just go read Heather’s list. (Girlfriend makes her own chicken broth. You know, pre-Kroger style. I think it’s downright impressive that she does that when she’s not pregnant…)

The point is, I just needed to let go of some things. A lot of things. Can you relate?

From January through about the beginning of March, I felt like I was walking through a fog of nausea, cravings, and a daze of obligations.

I’ll say it again- Yuck. And I just felt like a taker. You know what I mean? I felt guilty about how incapable I was at- well- anything beyond sitting on the couch drinking ginger ale.

Why go into all of this? Because I just want to encourage you that it’s ok if you’re a taker sometimes. A consumer. We all have seasons where all we can do is receive. Or at least, where we feel empty, unable to give of ourselves at all.

That’s ok.

You might remember this post from February where I included this print:

Lengthen the steps

I love this verse from the Complete Jewish Bible version, because this was and is a time where I need God to lengthen the steps I can take. I need the hope of Jesus to shield me.

I love that God cares about our relationship with him and our growth, no matter what season we’re in. In my yucky first trimester, He sent so many blessings.

For example, just when I was feeling so disgusted with our living room I couldn’t stand it, he gave me the gift of support from my husband to change it, and a visit from my mom which yielded simple and beautiful things like new accent pillows, a lamp shade, and a rearrangement of a room to breathe new life into it.

God gave us what we needed at that time- he gave me what I needed. (Beyond that- what I wanted!) He went above and beyond what I even thought to ask for, pouring out blessings in the midst of my yuckiness.

A friend of mine commented recently about the difficulty of loving the church when faced with its imperfections, like how it feels so forced sometimes. And I know you can relate to that. Anything filled with imperfect people is going to be imperfect. But that’s not the end of the story.

Jesus came because of his love for us, for all people, so that we could become one body of believers who would one day dwell in the fullness of his presence.

And he didn’t wait until we were perfect to do so.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

This is more and more humbling as I get older and have various seasons of yuckiness, pregnancy related or otherwise. Because being a “grown-up” often means seeing all your bad as well as good. It means failing and falling on grace, while standing once again on truth over and over again. It also means letting go and receiving. After all, we are powerless without Christ.

So, when you feel like a pregnant woman in her first trimester, don’t let the yuck fool you. Be a taker for awhile; receive what God offers. It won’t be given conditionally or passive aggressively or begrudgingly. You probably need to take what he’s giving before you can be a giver again anyway. As the song says, he’s a good, good Father.

And he gives abundance even now.

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