As I write this, I am laid up on the couch, with tissue boxes and a half dozen "pregnancy-approved" over-the-counter remedies at arm's distance. I have been sick since Christmas Day and am just now beginning to feel a bit more human again. One of the many joys of pregnancy is a lowered immune system, thus putting me at a higher-than-usual risk of picking up the passing cold bug. And catch it, I did! I can't remember being this sick since I was a kid. Sigh.
Speaking of "cold," it's freakin' UN-REAL right now. Yesterday was 14 degrees. It is currently 15 now (from what I see on my weather app; I haven't stepped foot outside in a day and a half). And the week ahead looks dire, too, with highs only stretching into the low 20s. This is a very bad time for one's heating system to go on the fritz, and yet, ours did. The only time our heat worked yesterday was for the 30 minutes the repairman was here. ("It hasn't worked all day, I swear!" I said. "I can't very well fix a heat system that's not broken," said he.") Five minutes after he left, it shut off again and my husband and I have had to take turns flipping it back on every three minutes just to maintain a chilly temperature of 62 degrees. Sigh.
I had grand schemes for the Christmas break. I always love taking hikes around my parents property in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and was planning on catching the breathtaking sunrise through the trees, lungs burning from the uphill ascent in the crisp December air. Instead, I awoke the day after Christmas unable to breathe through my nose and with throbbing sinuses. I spent the remainder of our time in PA nursing my symptoms and just trying to get through the family hangs, which I'd been so looking forward to! There was no hiking in the crisp morning air. There was no running around the lake (my other favorite outdoor activity when I'm visiting my parents). There also wasn't any sleeping in, either, as my sinuses demanded attention every few hours or so. Holiday plans aborted. Sigh.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I had just run a half marathon (like, literally, the day before), and was about to run another one the following weekend. I finished strong in both, and decided, even vocalized aloud to a few people, that perhaps I would run a half marathon every single month of my pregnancy. I'd heard of pregnant women pulling similar stunts, and I thought, "Why not me?" Soon after I'd uttered the words, the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester set in, and I quickly realized "why not me." There was NO way I could run 13.1 miles feeling as badly as I did, and so that dream quickly disintegrated. Sigh.
I have been humbled many times already during pregnancy, and I know there is much more humility to come, with my changing body and mind, and of course the constant humilities associated with raising a child. I have had more days of feeling ill in the past four months than I have had in the past four years. I have had to ditch many well-intentioned plans that I was excited about due to feeling sick or exhausted. I have found myself eating things I would never have imagined myself eating because it was the only thing that sounded palatable. During these times, I have been totally unable to control the craving. Like, for example, the day I HAD to have Popeyes. Fried chicken, mac & cheese, and the crappiest, worst-for-you mashed potatoes ever microwaved. And a biscuit. I ate every last bite of that meal. And I don't think I'll ever eat Popeye's again. But the uncontrollable nature of this craving humbled me, because I have spent YEARS (decades, even) controlling what I have put in my body, in an effort to control what it looked and felt like on the outside. I've lost much of that control, too, as my belly grows to accommodate our son, and my butt grows to accommodate my current love of rich, savory food; food that I have deprived myself of for years. Sigh.
Despite all of this change and all of the unexpected challenges, I feel really, really good. To be clear, I do NOT "looooove being pregnant!" as I have heard so many other women exclaim. I definitely do not love the symptoms of being pregnant. I mean, who does love the uncontrollable cravings, the crying fits, the extra cellulite? But I am enjoying the way pregnancy makes me stay in the moment. The way it humbles me. The way it makes me constantly reflect on what's really important (Newsflash: it's not having amazing abs). The way it's brought my husband and I even closer. And the way it forces me to accept what's happening at any given moment. When I live in acceptance, I am far happier than when I am constantly pushing against what's in front of me. I love my growing belly and what it holds. Will I ever have abs like before? Who knows. Who cares. I am amazed by what my body can do and I am so excited to see what happens next. All of my fears of losing my identity, my career, my organized home, and yes, my abs have (and are) melting away to reveal a new happiness. A new peace. A much greater understanding, and a whole lot of new love. And all of this newness feels so perfectly aligned with the New Year.
2018, I welcome you with open arms, an open heart, and an open mind.