Leading up to our wedding, I was embedded in anxiety. I was worried Chris was going to get a rare, fatal disease or into a car accident. I stressed constantly when I said goodbye to him, hugging him a little longer, cataloging how he looked in that moment, just in case. Running my hand through his hair, holding eye contact, squeezing him extra tight. I was convinced we'd never make it to the altar.
I was certain this story was too good to be true; that it wasn't mine to be lived.
And so, I dress rehearsed tragedy, convincing myself that if I thought through all of the painful scenarios enough, I could keep them from happening.
My therapist explained that the reason our brain does this, which is an attempt to reach for control, is actually a form of fight or flight. It is preparing for danger, but, in an overactive way. Our brain thinks it's being helpful - keeping us from harm - but, of course, it's not.
A few weeks ago, I began doing the same thing with pregnancy. As we neared the end of this road, it started to seem impossible that we were actually going to get there. I started worrying about all of the awful, awful things that could go wrong between 35 weeks and holding a baby in your arms. I began to worry about something happening to Chris again. I began to agonize about what could happen on the drive home from the hospital. My mind played out scenarios in slow motion, over and over again.
I was positive, yet again, that this season of life was too good to be true.
These moments, for me, are a mix of two things.
- I don't think I could possibly deserve this much good in life. Not because of insecurity, but because after years and years of waiting to have a baby, it feels impossible that it would be coming true. Honestly, it feels like a fairytale in a broken world.
- My fear is bigger than my faith. My fear begs me to control. I say I trust the Lord with everything. I say I know He can redeem even the most painful of events. And I do believe these things! But my mind yearns to control - to prevent any potential pain. Because pain hurts, y'all. It hurts so badly. Why would we want to feel that?
One of the most difficult parts of life is that bad things do happen. Daily there is inexplicable heartache and heartbreak. Bad things happen to good, amazing people who we love. It doesn't seem fair and can leave us feeling unsettled, shaken and worried.
I'm learning, lately, to lean into my faith with greater ease. I'm remembering that this baby I'm carrying is God's to begin with and there is a big, beautiful plan for its life. I have no idea how many years the three of us will have on this Earth together. I pray, daily, for many, many years to come. But if I spend each one stressing, I am squandering them away.
So here we are, less than one week away from my due date. I am approaching the next week with open hands and a prayerful, thankful heart. I'm savoring the days, knowing change is coming. I'm looking at anxiety like a wave in the ocean: it can come find me standing on the shore, but I will watch it go right back out to sea.