surprised by joy


Dear friend,

This season has been one of unexpected joy: on December 10th, I found out that I am carrying our first baby...!!!  John + I are absolutely overwhelmed with all kinds of feelings to think about becoming parents + shepherding a little life into the world.  It's been a season of unique peace, joy, and fear, altogether.  I really didn't write that much about it, being pregnant, or the fears or the joys -- any of it.  I sort of just took it in stride and figured I'd write about it later when I had more to say, less to just feel.

But I did take a moment to record some of my favorite moments of the first trimester, and I wanted to share those (as well as some scary moments) here.

Favorite moments:

- the day before we found out for sure, but kind of knew already.  it was warm + blissful; we played in the snow + went Christmas shopping + had one last day of not-knowing presence, just wondering if our lives were about to change.

- the very first moment -- when we first knew.  stunned, thankful, overjoyed...hardly begins to cover it.

- realizing we'd get to tell our families for Christmas -- I couldn't have asked for better timing.  

- the deafening roar my family emitted when we made the announcement -- and then allllllll the happy tears.

- the looks on my in-law's faces when we told them -- and then how giddy they were + still are!

- the day after our first ultrasound, my dad, after his football team experienced a painful championship loss (it was really devastating, actually) saying, "nothing can take away the joy of seeing baby o. yesterday!"

- upon telling the doctor that I was nervous about my ability to stay awake (i.e. not pass out -- I have a history of passing out at inconvenient times...!) during labor.  she looked at me with a very genuine degree of confidence and said, "I think you'll be really surprised at yourself, actually".  I believe her, most of the time.

- a mom with her six-month old baby prompting me to realize that a year from now, that will be me.

- seeing the ultrasound for the first time, and hearing the heartbeat -- that was relieving.  the second time was more special to us both, though.  baby moved it's tiny little arm + it seemed to be waving at us!  it was so brief but so precious.

- imagining holding our tiny baby for the first time...and the fiftieth time...and the four hundredth time.  to imagine it as a little being all it's own is so unfathomable, so remarkable.  I imagine resting my cheek on its warm little head + that makes me weepy...I know, it's kinda weird, and sappy.  But it's still true.

- John telling me: "you seem so much calmer lately.  I think it's because you're finally getting to become a mom." 

- all the moments getting to tell my dear friends -- their excitement and joy + so fitting reactions to the news.  I think this points to the deep privilege of getting to bring life, and joy, into the lives of others.  This is a very literal manifestation of that, but there are more figurative ways that this can be accomplished.  I've been so grateful, and so abundantly blessed.

- the slow stages of realization John + I both are going through.  It's washed over us in waves, which feels like the most gentle and fitting way to absorb such joyful news. 


Fearful moments:

- wondering if people would tell us we were telling them too soon.  which sounds weird, but it was a worry of mine almost every time I told someone!  we chose to tell kind of a lot of people during the first trimester, which we knew was somewhat risky, but...first of all, we figured this is not something we would want to go through alone, no matter what the process looks like.  And secondly...neither of us could contain it!

- the realization before our first doctor's appointment that if anything was wrong, we were going to find out that day.  And that doesn't mean it was the last chance for that, either -- this whole thing has been an experience of surrender.  I am utterly not in control...mercifully, a very good God is in control + I trust him completely.  It's terrifying, but I do trust him nonetheless and he has granted me so much peace.

- when I had a pomegranate smoothie and later the same day read that apparently you're not supposed to have pomegranates!!! (but really I think it's the root or rind or essential oil or something...) also very early on when I ordered a turkey sandwich for lunch and didn't think twice until we were driving home.  A few other food moments like that, where of course, you have to realize that this little life, as fragile and precious as it is, is also incredibly resilient.  I've learned this from working with flowers over the think they are so delicate and they totally are but they can handle a lot of exposure, roughness, and handling too.  It's weird.  But it's true.

- realizing that there is a being forming inside of me...and that eventually it has to come out.  there is no backpedaling from here, friends.  as John has reminded me and as I know, the pain and fear will only be momentary.  The joy will far outlast it.


At the end of the day...three times as many joy-filled moments as fearful ones.  But the good comes with the bad; I know this.  You can't have immeasurable joy without a little fear mixed in...not now, anyway.  I don't feel at my most lucid to write about this; I took a three hour nap earlier and have just kind of cruised's Saturday.  But I wanted to write something still, and the time seemed right because this is my last week in the first trimester!  Already!  I can hardly believe it.  also, I'm counting on no one reading this because I still have a few of you friend out there who I want to tell myself!!!  I'm just praying none of you are suddenly inspired to read my blog tonight, or tomorrow.

That's all I've got for now.  

xo, mal

Mallory OvertonComment