A friend told me recently that one of her biggest fears in regards to her baby boy isn’t that he won’t sleep through the night, eat his vegetables, or learn to spell.
She’s afraid that his future wife will hate her.
I can honestly say that such a thought had never even crossed my mind until then. Should I be worried about my unborn baby’s betrothed!? I’m barely grasping the idea that I’m going to have an infant.
The more I thought about what she said, the more I started to realize the gravity of my upcoming entrance into parenthood.
Within the next 2-3 weeks I will give birth to a living, breathing, functioning little boy. This boy will skin his knees, go to kindergarten, get holes in his jeans, bust a move at school dances, and one day bring home a woman who will be his wife.
The trajectory starts with his first cry, his first gasp into life. And then, someday, he’ll bring home a girl who might hate me.
I recognize the insanity of this logical leap, particularly since I haven’t even met my son yet. But something about the late third trimester flips a switch in your brain between pregnancy and parenthood.
I’m so excited. I’m wonderfully, ecstatically, fearfully, joyfully waiting for life to change forever. I’m elated to meet the little being that has been growing and kickboxing in my womb for the past nine months. I can’t wait to hold him, to see if he has Dairy Man’s eyes, to watch him grow.
But if I’m honest, I’m also terrified.
This terror has spawned a few moments of pure, unadulterated irrationality throughout this pregnancy. One such moment came when Dairy Man asked me what kind of closet doors I wanted in the nursery and I melted into an indecisive pile of emotional goo.
I know there’s nothing existentially significant about closet doors. But for some reason it felt like if I picked the wrong doors for a room that was going to house MY CHILD, everything else would fall apart.
The doors had to be perfect. I had to be perfect. Because, clearly my child’s whole future would hinge on closet doors. The wrong doors could keep him from sleeping through the night, getting good grades, making friends, eating his vegetables.
I’d like to blame it solely on pregnancy hormones, but I think it’s deeper than that.
Because it’s not about the closet doors. It’s about feeling overwhelmed. It’s about the unknown. It’s about life changing. It’s about a long-awaited blessing so beautiful it simultaneously makes me want to laugh and weep.
Pregnancy has been a growing experience (no pun intended – bahdoomCHHH) for this self-aware Type A. The baby-baking process has been the ultimate exercise in loss of control. And it’s liberating. Everything up to this point and everything that will come after requires complete trust in God.
My son might not like broccoli. He might get detention. He might draw on his perfect closet doors with a red Sharpie. He might marry a girl who is lactose intolerant (the horror).
I have to put it all, even that future woman who will steal …ahem… I mean marry my son away, in His hands.
This is all part of a plan—a plan outside of my control. The road was paved with frustration and heartbreak, but God finally blessed us with a viable pregnancy. My fear of parenthood pales in comparison to my intense, overwhelming gratitude. That’s what matters. I might not know how to swaddle a baby or discipline a misbehaving toddler, but I’ve been given the incredible chance to figure it out. This child is already in someone else’s hands.
I’m realizing that this is it. Right now. My life isn’t about tomorrow or growing up or my son’s future wife, it’s about the beautiful terror of each moment. The realization that I’m not in charge. The recognition that each mundane or shattering moment can take me straight to the feet of glory.
I’m so thankful I get to live this life. I wouldn’t trade all of the pain, anger, fear, and uncertainty that comes along with it. It’s not about what already happened or what could be, it’s about where I am now. There is nothing more sacred or profound than this day.
So I’ll keep nesting, reading baby books, saving money, and practicing my breathing techniques. But ultimately I know that this new adventure is out of my hands. Everything will be new, but everything will be painfully beautiful. Life will change and we’ll change with it.
That’s the best kind of fear.