“How are you feeling?”
I stared at the text message, wondering how I should respond… because, truthfully, I felt terrible. I couldn’t keep anything down and I was exhausted. Being ten-weeks pregnant while parenting three other children wasn’t the easiest thing I had done. I spent most days counting down the seconds until nap time, and then bed time, when I could flop back on the couch and just focus on resting.
“Meh… I’ve felt better!” I typed back, inserting a green, nauseated emoji.
“Well, look at the bright side… sickness means healthy baby!”
I nodded. That had, honestly, been what sustained me through days on end of my forehead being pressed firmly to the bathroom tile while my children argued in the next room: the mantra of… “morning sickness means healthy baby!” It seemed to take the edge off of the suffering. Never mind that this was another opportunity to experience, in the tiniest of ways, Christ’s suffering for me… the greatest good was a healthy baby.
As a mother who has experienced the suffering of two miscarriages, I can personally attest that battling fear and anxiety each pregnancy is a real struggle. Any time the nausea seems to lessen, my first thoughts are, “I hope the baby didn’t die.” Each and every time. I breathe a small sigh of relief when I pass the sacred 12-week mark and, then, another at 25 weeks… yet the fear of cord accidents, placental abruption and any other unforeseen misstep weigh heavily on my mind until the baby is placed in my arms. My arms… where I can finally protect them from harm.
But… this is the lie.
Even today, as I write this article, I am 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I am still slightly nauseated but mostly better. The exhaustion is alive and well… but the notion of morning sickness being the hope to which I can helplessly cling is a false hope that truly won’t deliver because, as we believers know, to hope in anything but Christ is futile.
John Newton said, “If it were possible for me to alter any part of His plan, I could only spoil it.” Yet, as I choose to place my hope ultimately in a healthy baby… trusting morning sickness or healthy diet or obsessive fetal heartbeat monitoring along the way, I am foolishly holding my plan up as the ultimate good… rather than the plan of the Creator. Thanks, God… for making the world and sustaining everything and all of that… but I can handle my children and my family. You go handle the Middle East.
If I can believe that a hope that does not put us to shame (Romans 5:5) is a result of suffering in the likeness of our Savior (Philippians 2:3-11) and that God truly works EVERY thing together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), then I can wake each morning trusting my unborn baby to God and his goodness. Yes, I am to be wise and to steward this pregnancy well… but morning sickness is a terrible Savior.
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Beyond that, once the baby is in my arms… I am still not able to prevent illness or injury. I can only, again, wake each morning with open hands and trust my children to their Creator who is good.
Can we press on, believing God is ultimately in control and good, even if it means we will not carry this child to term? Is His goodness contingent upon a wrinkled, pink baby delivered at 40 weeks? And then a happy childhood free from tragedy or illness? If I stand at the graveside of my child, can I do so with hands raised to God in praise? Or will that dark moment be the one that causes me to turn my back on my Maker?
Is Jesus truly enough?
Any time I choose to rely on what the world relies on for safety and security, I am reminded of how quickly it can be taken away… leaving us lost and confused, wondering how on earth this could have happened… when we were so faithful to do what the world says to do.
Christ is really the only hope that lives. Christ is the only hope that satisfies… both in times of infinite blessing and nights of suffocating grief.
So, I will, today, resolve to trust the Lord not only with my unborn child… but with my 5-year-old, my 3-year-old and my 17-month-old. I could choose to trust in morning sickness, the right education, a certain income, a suburban neighborhood, or an organic diet. But… ultimately… those things will never keep their promises. There is only One who does.
Kara Garis lives in central Oklahoma with her husband and three small children. She studied biology and chemistry at the University of Central Oklahoma and taught science prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom. She contributes regularly for Mom’s Milk Boutique blog, Oklahoma City Moms’ Blog, her personal blog and has written for Desiring God. Instagram. Facebook.