I admit - there are times when I walk past a mirror and catch a glimpse of my growing and now prominent baby bump and have to do a double take. It truly catches me off guard. There are moments when I have to just laugh as the reality of the growing baby inside me reminds me of how we even got here. At 36 years young (no, I am not ashamed to admit it) I am one of the "older" soon-to-be mamas of a newborn (at least for our area). Most of the mom friends my age have pre-teens and middle schoolers. We live in an area where it all happens in your 20's...but when have I ever conformed to the "standard"?!
It's funny how my feelings toward baby bumps have come full circle in the last decade. It was in my own mid 20's when the maternal instinct started to kick in and sparked the desire to be a mother. I would see an expectant mom, many of them friends of mine starting their families, and smile sincerely with full expectation of that soon being me.
Months turned into years and frustration and disappointment grew simultaneously alongside my desire to have a baby. Baby shower after birth announcement after Mother's Day came and went and I still remained empty armed and broken hearted. No longer could I see a baby bump, let alone a mother and baby, and not be anything but cynical and hurt. "Why God? Why can't it be me?" It was a silent, lonely battle and only God alone knew my heart's cry and saw my tears.
Eventually I reached a place where I had to surrender my plans to whatever God had in store. I wasn't quite at the point where I could share their joy, but I no longer looked upon pregnant bellies and glowing faces with jealousy and hurt. I didn't have to grit my teeth and choke back tears every time I was asked "When are you going to have a baby?" I simply replied I did not know God's timing and offered no further explanation.
Despite the evident joy I feel and the reality check I face when seeing my own growing baby bump, I'm consciously aware that I may be the cause of someone else's heartache. I know. I get it. I've been there. I've felt it. What I know to be true is that even though I have grieved hopes, dreams, plans and desires, I've also witnessed miracles, answers to prayer and God at work in ways I simply couldn't have controlled or predicted. Too many times I've been a part of a plan that I had no part in controlling except to be a mere vessel.
I need to explain something. I was never the woman who just had to be pregnant. I wanted to be a mother and I was at peace with however God chose to make that a reality for me. My adopted child is no less my child than this child I'm carrying. There's NO difference. Even Michael sees no difference between being a step-dad and a father to a child who shares his DNA. He's never skipped a beat with parenting and loving Elijah as his own (although this will be his first experience with a baby and he's still got to learn to change a diaper but I feel certain that will all quickly come)! God puts families together in a variety of ways, and it's also safe to say our somewhat unconventional family breaks a lot of stereotypes.
I'm sharing all this to explain how this reality still sometimes catches me off guard - not just because of my growing belly but mostly because I simply have to stand in awe of God. When I think about His plan that He's been intricately weaving together all I can do is be amazed. Never could I have done this. Never could I have put this family together. It's a reminder of how out of control I truly am and how Sovereign He is over every single detail. Things don't always make sense and the good Lord knows I've tried my hardest (failing miserably) to predict and control the outcomes of my circumstances. Yet He's graciously, patiently shown Himself faithful even when I've doubted, even when I've feared, even when I felt desperately, hopelessly out of control. The reality is I'm glad I didn't have control. I'm glad I couldn't have predicted His plan. I'm thankful to be a part of what He's doing and yet trying to remind myself how much better His plan is than my own.
So I take baby bump photos and I am fully embracing this pregnancy, a true gift from God. I know these bump shots may be hard for some but I pray this growing belly of mine will be a constant reminder of the faithfulness of God and His Sovereign plan. So enjoy my belly, I sure am, and when you see it please remember how good our God is.