When I became pregnant with our son David in 2014, we were overjoyed. We had been trying for years and experienced two miscarriages. So as the pregnancy progressed and everything looked good, we were very hopeful that this would be our rainbow baby.
Once I began showing, we received the usual congratulations from people who learned we were expecting. But we received other comments, too, comments that stung a little bit when we heard them. Watching a young toddler have a whiny tantrum and having one of the parents turn to us and say with a smile, “Get ready.” Jokes about all the practice changing diapers we are going to get. Being reminded time and time again that we won’t get much sleep. Being told to enjoy our time together now because it would be over once the baby comes.
I understand the motives behind all these comments. Seasoned parents wanted to prepare us for the reality of having a baby. They didn’t want us to have this rosy picture of what it would all be like and then get blindsided by the reality.
But the flip side of this is– being treated like we haven’t thought about any of these things or like we hadn’t prepared at all for the nitty-gritty of parenthood. And these comments leave out a lot of things, too. They ignore the fact that we’d had four years together as a couple to enjoy “alone time,” and we had taken advantage of it by traveling, going out on dates often, and spending time together. We had thought over this step and prepared for a long time, and we had spent a long time trying to get pregnant.
What saddened me is that we rarely heard any encouraging comments about parenthood.
How this baby was a miracle and a blessing, coming after a lot of heartache. No, truthfully I didn’t look forward to sleep deprivation and diaper changing, but I rejoiced that we were about to undertake the greatest work I could possibly imagine, influencing a soul for time and eternity. I rejoiced and also felt very humbled that such a great privilege and responsibility was going to be ours. As I look back over the past four years, I have realized some things nobody told us about parenthood– things that I would like to share with others.
They never told us:
That being a parent would cause you to fall in love in ways you never imagined.
That you would feel so fiercely protective.
That you would experience joy like you never imagined.
That you would be forced to be more selfless than you ever have before.
That it would stretch you to limits you never knew you had.
That it would expand your heart in ways you never could have imagined.
That it would cause you to act totally goofy and no longer care.
That it is more worthwhile than anything you have ever undertaken.
It is worth it. All of it. And looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Originally published January 2019.