I always jokingly say that I never knew I was a control freak until I had children. It’s always good for a laugh, but I mean it sincerely. The fear that persisted throughout Ephraim’s pregnancy was the fear of the full knowledge that I had absolutely no control over the outcome of the pregnancy. And, after I was feeling more confident and in-charge, I got reminded of my lack of control through his tumultuous (though thankfully fast) birth and the trauma that followed it.
Ephraim’s birth was a shock to my self-assuredness and plans, and that shock followed me through the first few weeks of adjusting to motherhood.
There isn’t a whole lot that you can do to prepare you for actual motherhood. No book is going to tell you the exact personality your child will have, or the exact personality that you have, or the unique way that your personalities will mesh (or clash, as the case may be.)
Over the next few weeks, I want to go back and take a look at each of the times we added to our family. Each of the boys have been so different, and my response and growth through the process was different too. These experiences shaped my motherhood. I have learned a lot in the past few years–and I want to record the process for myself. You, of course, are welcome to come along for the ride!
In the later part of 2006, I sat motionless in a doctor’s exam room as I was told I had a hormonal imbalance that would impede conception. I was advised to come and see my doctor when we planned on starting our family. It was far from the news I was hoping for–I was twenty-one when we married, and I had hoped we’d have children right away. We even already had a list of names that we wanted to use.
In the later part of 2007, we were shocked with a surprise pregnancy, then devastated a few weeks later when it ended in a missed miscarriage. Over the next few years I find myself slipping farther into despair when I thought about the possibility–or lack thereof–of children. The first obstacle was could I get pregnant? And once that bridge was crossed, there was the horrible possibility of can I stay pregnant once I get that way?
Then, in the summer of 2010, we were surprised with another accidental pregnancy. The day we found out, we both cried, and Jeremy anointed me and the room we would use as a nursery with oil and prayed for protection.
I have to start the story of Ephraim with the losses that preceded him, because they changed everything. I would spend the first few weeks of the pregnancy in mixture of sickness and terror. I had never felt so miserable in my life, but I was so afraid of losing another baby. I took every day of sickness as a sign that everything was ok. I refused to be upset over any of the trials and struggles and pains that accompanied the life growing in my womb. There were many moments when I found myself crouched by the toilet with Jeremy hovering by the door saying, “Praise Jesus…Praise Jesus!” I was in my second trimester before we were able to go to the doctor for an ultrasound, and we wept openly again when we saw the tiny wiggly baby with his strong heartbeat.