Just about every mother I've ever talked to has warned me of the joys and difficulties of learning to "die to self" when your children arrive. When someone's life is completely dependent on you, it doesn't (or shouldn't) take long to realize that it's not about you anymore.
Yesterday, I had an early lesson in selflessness...before our daughter has even arrived.
At eight months pregnant, it's not unusual to start having contractions. Your body tries to ready itself for the real thing with "fake" contractions called Braxton Hicks. I just recently started feeling those. They are not painful at all, just a tightening of the stomach muscles (I wish my abs could be that tight all the time!).
But yesterday, I started feeling something different. I was having strong "cramps" in my lower back, similar to menstrual cramps. They were coming in waves or cycles. I know from all of my reading that "real" contractions start in your back (not your stomach like Braxton Hicks). It didn't take me long to realize I was having pre-term contractions.
Ever since we found out our due date, I have always said that my plan is to "go early." I had no desire to go all 40 weeks till I'm huge and miserable. I knew that going 2-3 weeks early would not put my baby in danger, and that's kind of what I had my heart set on.
But this was WAY too early. I got nervous. I called JP and my mom and had them both pray for the contractions to stop. I started feeling guilty - that I had brought this on myself and my daughter by wishing to go early for so long. I prayed in tears that God would forgive me for being so foolishly selfish and that He would cause the contractions to stop so my baby could go full term.
Later I found out that the contractions were probably a result of a stressful day. I had been busy and stressed all day at work, and hadn't eaten anything all day from breakfast until about 6:30pm (the contractions started around 5:15). I had only had a small amount of water to drink, which I didn't realize was so incredibly vital at this stage of pregnancy. I was able to go home, eat, drink, lay down and within another hour the contractions stopped.
Did I overreact? Probably. But I think God used the situation to show me the error of my desires. There is nothing I want more than for my baby to be healthy and fully developed when she comes into this world. To want her to come early was a foolish thing. And not only was my plan to go early selfish, but my failure to feed and nourish my baby during my busy day was also selfish.
I know I have a lot to learn. It started 8 months ago, and it will continue for the rest of my life. I just thank God that He's faithful enough to show us when our ideas are wrong.