Gratitude Challenge: The Pregnancy Edition

Well, I was hoping the previous post would be my last pregnancy post. However, this kid decided she's not coming out until she wants to. Sounds familiar, but still, we're going to have a talk about this later.

I found a worthy reason to blog though. I was nominated in one of those gratitude challenges that is floating around Facebook. I tend to steer clear of these things. I am a social media spoil sport. It's not because I don't believe in good causes. I'm just rarely interested in doing anything that everyone else is doing (again, my daughter comes by this attitude honestly). However, I've been thinking that this one might be necessary.

No matter how much you want your child or how happy you are to even be pregnant, the tail end of gestation sucks. It just does. You're fat. You're slow. You're peeing every two hours, which is no fun at night. And let's not even talk about the tortuous variety of symptoms that you have available to you. Hemorrhoids or heartburn, anyone? It's just not pleasant.

Then, as if things aren't hard enough, everyone reminds you how this is the easy part, and you jump from this frying pan into the fire of parenting a newborn. Sleepless nights, endless crying, and all the wacky things your body does postpartum. Altogether, it can make you wonder why in the world you signed up for this.

Sounds like a good time to count your blessings, if you ask me.

So of course, I won't do the challenge the way that Facebook dictates. Instead, here are 12 things I'm grateful for during these last nine months.

1. This is a tangible, visible reminder that God sometimes gives you exactly what you want. I know what it's like to beg for something and see it either not come to pass or be delayed by years. Getting pregnant without a bunch of hoopla was my prayer at the beginning of the year--a prayer I fully expected to go unanswered for a long time. Yet, by the time I really put it out there, I was already pregnant. That was pretty cool.

2. My husband is a better guy than I thought he was. And I already thought he was great. Seeing him excited about fatherhood is all the more sweet.

Our Harley Biker Diaper Cake
3. People are generous. I am astounded at how much people have given us. In-laws hitting the yard sales for deals, other parents who donated clothes, baby shower gifts, etc. I've been blessed before, but the giving my friends and family have shown makes me a believer in the kindness of humanity.

4. Generally, strangers are pretty nice. I've joked quite a bit about people in grocery stores and libraries making comments about my pregnancy. And yes, it can get annoying on the wrong day. But otherwise, people are shockingly polite. Plus, I haven't had to pick up anything off the floor before someone does it for me in months.

5. Eating (almost) whatever I want. Before January, I was cutting back on portions, cutting down on sugar, and exercising regularly. I'd actually lost quite a bit of weight and was feeling good. I plan to get back into that soon. However, I can't lie. Being sedentary this last trimester and enjoying every pretzel bun burger I can find is real nice.

6. Ultrasounds. My life has seen wonderful moments. My wedding day. Reading in a hammock on a Dominican beach. That really delicious bread pudding I had at a wedding once. But nothing quite compares to the first time I saw our daughter in 3-D. Surreal.

7. Finally, a decent excuse to be lazy. I can be a little type-A at times, so sitting still when I think I need to be conquering the world is tough. It's been nice to hear people tell me to rest, sleep, and take it easy and I can do that without feeling (too much) guilt.

8. Sweatpants, err'day, all day. Somewhat going along with point #7... I also get a pass on any social demands to look like a fashionista. Not that I was much of one before.

9. I finally get it. Being single and childless for all of my 20s and half of my 30s, I never really got the whole pregnancy/parenting thing. I recall some snotty, nearly phobic behavior towards people with kids. Most of it was because I thought I'd never enter that stage of life. It's easy to dump on what you don't understand. But now I get it. And my apologies to everyone I offended with my single-girl-'tude.

10. The great, big belly. It doubles as a food tray and a place to rest my hands and reading materials.

11. Baby kicks. There's this moment in Sex and the City when the hard-nosed, cynical Miranda feels her son kick inside her stomach for the first time during an arbitrary moment at the bathroom sink. She has this stunned, amazed, and delighted look of wonder on her face. I know that look. It feels just like that.

12. Overall, this wasn't that bad. I've had some difficulties this pregnancy that I won't go into now (that's for a later blog, when I get up the nerve). However, relatively speaking, when you consider everything that can happen, I had a good pregnancy.

There's my gratitude challenge. And if you've read to the end, congrats, you've nominated yourself. Go be grateful for wherever you are right now. Tell someone about it. It feels good.

~jennifer (still ) +1

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