Being pregnant is the ultimate test of patience for me. I’ve never been a naturally patient person, so I’ve spend the last decade proactively practicing patience in my character, most of the time failing miserably as I do so. The experience of being pregnant however combines all of the very reasons I struggle with patience in the first place ….feeling out of control, wanting something to happen sooner than it can, being unsure of what is to come….
You can have control or you can have faith, but you can’t have both, and as I “patiently” journey through the path of pregnancy waiting for my second child, I am thankful for the reminder of faith I am being forced to live out as I live without control over my own body. I have to believe that God has a plan and that He has a role for me as mother, and for my husband as father, and that together we need to wait in faith to walk out those roles for this little one to come. And in the meantime, I wait, and my stomach gets bigger and firmer by the day.
Waiting is hard though, whatever it is you are waiting for, but it is the patience in the act of waiting that teaches us peace. And so we are not patient for the sake of patience alone, but rather for the character development of peace and presence. When God gives you something to practice patience in a season of life, lean into it, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel or seem, God has a plan and a purpose and He is giving you the chance to really walk your faith out in a real and tangible way. Be thankful for your tests of patience for they are creating in you greatness of character.
This is my second pregnancy, and now that I know firsthand the blissful baby snuggles that await me, waiting and being present in patience can at times be even more challenging. In this current pregnancy and with my hormones flying, I know I need some daily grounding and reminders to stay in the present moment and to stay patient. To help I am committed to a few daily mantras that are keeping me feeling beautiful in my growing body and at peace in the process of what sometimes feels like a never-ending-pregnancy:
My pregnancy mantras:
- The changes to my body are temporary, but the baby is forever.
- My body is doing what it was designed to do and it is a beautiful miracle to have a front row seat to.
- A fit pregnancy looks different every day – what matters is that I move and honor my body the best I can.
Things are both quite the same and very different this time around. Overall, my pregnancies are practically identical, aside from a few adjustments in my fitness regime. In my first pregnancy with my now two-year-old Ellie, I had just come off a season of marathon training. In fact, while 4-weeks pregnant I actually raced a marathon (The North Face Trail Marathon in DC) and had a fantastic race, winning overall for all female finishers. It was quite easy to maintain a baseline of training throughout my first two trimesters of pregnancy of 35-45 miles weekly, plus 3-4 strength training sessions in addition. This pregnancy however started off differently with my entire first trimester spent recovering from a severe bout of plantar fasciitis in my right foot. The plantar fasciitis was a much welcome reprieve from the ligament tears I had been healing from over the previous four months, but needless to say, running was off the table and my workouts consisted of weights, the elliptical and the Stairclimber. About ten weeks into this pregnancy I was finally able to trot on the treadmill without severe pain in my foot and so from week 10 to week 15 I slowly progressed myself up to about 15 miles per week. Just recently, since week 16 I have been able to pick back up my running miles and am now averaging 35 miles per week with an additional two sessions on the elliptical and two short lifts per week. Having a toddler and a much busier and more demanding business has made making time for workouts much more challenging this time around. I am reminding myself daily to be thankful for the gift of movement and for every extra walk I can take with the dog as every type of activity is a fitness win in its own right.
Life with Ellie means time for workouts, pregnancy naps and other luxuries I enjoyed during my first pregnancy are harder to come by, but they are not impossible. Though my days are more full, the upside of a second pregnancy is exactly that – the distraction of a two-year-old. I have much less time to worry about my physical changes or how many weeks into my pregnancy I am, and, as a result, the pregnancy has gone by relatively quickly. Waiting for Ellie to arrive felt like an eternity, matched with that was the anticipation of all of the unknowns that come with parenting, making the forty weeks seem endless. Now as a parent, the unknowns that are to come with this next little one are less anxiety invoking and though I have less personal free time or fitness time this time around, I am having a less stressful pregnancy experience overall.
The most important thing that stays true with this pregnancy as with my last is to enjoy the practice of patience in the process of waiting. Everything that is worth anything takes time and patience. I do wish I could fast-forward time and hold this little baby-to-be in my arms, but for the time being, I am giving thanks for the hands on practice of being patient in the present. The little one to come is already deeply loved and I am eager to shower him with its first kisses and hugs twenty weeks from now…and yes, we are waiting for a little boy, as so enthusiastically shared by Ellie in the photos below as she enjoys some baby blue themed cake-pops to celebrate the good news!