Baby Envy

Well, that might seem like an odd post title from a woman who is now nearly 9 months pregnant, but this time last year I was NOT pregnant, and I just wanted to take note of the shift in my mentality since then.

Last Fall we were able to have some incredible travel adventures–and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything–but I also remember some of the struggles I was having spiritually and emotionally during that time in relation to babies, pregnancy, etc.

This article from Her.meneutics reminded me…. I have definitely experienced this thing called baby envy. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you’ve been married or even if you’re not married: if you’ve got it in mind that you want a baby but for whatever reason it’s just not happening, it can literally feel like you are surrounded by annoying pregnant women (not all pregnant women are annoying, but I’d be willing to bet that most are… at some point throughout those long months. And I can say that because I’m pregnant and I know I have my annoying moments.) My husband and I tried for nearly a year before conceiving the baby I am currently carrying. In the grand scheme of things, I know that is really not very long (and is, in fact, much more typical than I originally thought); but, in the midst of the process, it felt like forever. The ‘baby wait’ can take a toll on a marriage even after just a few months of trying to conceive. A woman will likely start questioning her own and even her husband’s viability, let alone God’s plan for growing a family.

I can absolutely relate to feelings of bitterness and envy during a time when pregnancy seemed out of reach for us, and yet my Facebook feed was filled with nothing but babies. I had a hard time feeling happy for even close friends or family who were expecting. I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing another cheesy pregnancy announcement and yet I was sickeningly drawn to them at the same time.

Now, don’t get the idea I was thinking this way ALL the time. My husband and I have been very blessed with opportunities in the last 5 years, we both have good, stable jobs, amazing friends and family and have had a variety of irreplaceable life and travel experiences. I really didn’t have anything to complain about and, for the most part, spent most of my time enjoy my life. But it’s amazing how all those great things can become somewhat dulled in comparison when your mind is absorbed with envy. Envy of anyone or anything will tarnish the good gifts God has given us and blacken our hearts, separating us from His good and perfect plan for our lives. Of course, He uses all situations for good; but, looking back, I wish I could erase those feelings of envy from my heart and mind. I wish I had trusted that His plan and timing are perfect and that faith does not always (in fact, almost never) mean instant gratification. I wish I could go back and convince myself to resist the urge to despair and question, to celebrate with others instead of indulging in bitterness and trust that God really does do all things for the good of those who love Him. Even if that had meant never becoming pregnant.

Yes, I am pregnant now, but I wanted to write this now to remind myself of these truths when a situation feels dire and I can’t see the forest for the trees. When the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence and I have a hard time trusting God’s providence, I want to remember that my timelines and hopes and expectations will not always align with His perfect plan. But the moment I submit myself to His sovereignty is the moment my burdens will be lifted and my sorrows allayed. This is where the true joy of a Christian abounds: not that we do not experience hardships but that, even in hardship, we have a solid Rock on which to stand strong.

I’m not sure why trusting in a perfect and sovereign Father is so difficult (because it always turns out for the best in the end), but I know that this is just the beginning of a new level of faith for me and my husband as we embark on the journey of parenthood. Bringing a child into the world is one of the greatest privileges and heaviest responsibilities that God can give us. And I will need to remember daily that my worries and expectations and routines are not enough to get the job done. Things will not always go as planned. Situations may often feel dire. But relying fully on God for the strength to live His will is always the right approach. I hope I will remember that in the days and years to come!

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