So, our summer break from school (20 July to 4 September) started out wonderfully...
I spent some money on an inspiring Spanish DVD to give us a focus each money, chose a family chore for the day, a trip out every week.....we had piano lessons and swimming lessons to go to, we had a weekend away with friends and yes we even managed a day at the beach and an outing to the local stately home which only ended with one of the children in the hospital. We began the second Harry Potter for our after-lunch quiet time, hoping to watch the film at the end of the holidays. For over six weeks without 'going' anywhere due to my husband's work commitments (I did contemplate flying the 3Sisters to Spain, but the local airline insisted on another adult to help me out), the first week or so we were on a roll.
For anyone particularly eagle-eyed, yes my last post about suffering in pregnancy didn't refer to my previous pregnancies. It referred to the new one, the one we confirmed after we buried my grandmother, the one that explained why I was exhausted our end-of-term weekend (and thus came home a night early). It referred to the pregnancy which has managed to surpass all previous pregnancies in the sheer volume of NAUSEA I am experiencing and of course also includes some accompanying vomiting and nose bleeding (sometimes into the same bucket, at the same time......sigh.) Oh, and with this pregnancy I also developed ptyalism....I never knew drooling could be so annoying!
(This is not the time, by the way, for anyone to recommend Seabands, Vitamin B, raw ginger, crackers, fizzy drinks, eating, not eating, medication, pot or any other 'amazing' cure for morning sickness, thanks. There is nothing I can take that can shift my sickness and nausea during pregnancy, and usually, I can focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. And the light of God.)
As much as it doesn't sound like it, I'm trying not to moan. I'm trying to offer up my suffering and get through this positively. But it's easier said than done, particularly when faced with a ton of hormones that induce crying, guilt, desperation and worry. Yes, I'm managing to keep down enough food and, in particular, liquid, so I don't require hospitalisation. Yes, we have enough food in the house and money to pay for extra food to satisfy the whims of what I do or don't want to eat. I'm not in a Third World country or a warzone. I have an accommodating husband and three girls who can entertain themselves some of the time. And yet....
And yet, I'm finding it difficult to let go and trust God on this one. I find myself wondering all the 'what-ifs' - we're only 8 weeks in. What if? what if we lose this one, what about the risks of 'problems' with the baby, with the birth. If I don't feel I can cope now, what will the newborn weeks be like? How can I combat these hormones that induce rage and impatience? Granted, the unwelcome concern of my parents the strain of pregnancy and labour on me are partly responsible for my worries - but why I am letting them inside my head? A friend experienced psychotic episodes and a mental breakdown after the birth of her fourth - what if that is me?
And that's nothing to the feelings of regret I'm going through at this new pregnancy. It's part of me, part of my principles, my ideals as well as my heart that we would have a bigger family. Yesterday I was thinking that even three children was too much, when usually I want to share how wonderful it can be. I was wondering why the heck we had tried to get pregnant this time round when pregnancy is so difficult. And worse. I'm still wondering why God makes pregnancy so difficult. This puts our family under strain. My husband is a true godsend, but his paid work is enough juggling for any person without me delegating dinners and bedtimes to him every night while I avoid the kitchen and later try to keep food down. And I know this is likely a short-term thing, this too shall pass....
So where is my faith? My constancy? My obedience? My patience? My trust? Why in the face of dehabilitating sickness am I still turned inward? I keep getting moments that I know Jesus is giving me. The 3Sisters have never bonded so well. There is so much love in our family. We learn new things about each other every day. This new pregnancy is such a gift, whatever happens. But still I feel, several times a day, that I can't go on. And it's not always the tear-inducing pregnancy hormones that are responsible.
I will continue to offer this up in prayer. I've had a quick scout around the internet and found headlines such as 'morning sickness so bad I want to die' (which make me feel like a real whingepants in comparison), but it really seems there is no practical solution to my dilemma. I will continue to rely on a spiritual one, knowing I am supported my by husband and girls and the few close friends who I have shared the news with (a Facebook message from ThirdSister's godmother was such a welcome pick-me-up.) I can't be the only person out there going through this.
Sometimes you just need another person to share something with - and possibly have some insight and understanding - to get you through the day. Or another person's prayers. That's what I'm going to aim for. I had to blog this, even if it just ricochets around the web, to get some perspective. That's already helped. Thanks for reading.