I am now in the third trimester of my pregnancy which ladies say can get very uncomfortable. This is my first baby so the whole experience is new territory for me. I’m soaking it all in and keeping my expectations to a minimum. In reflecting on the journey so far, I have learned a lot about how I handle the “journey” of life. Recently, I had the revelation of how much the experience of pregnancy is an allegory for living out our life’s purpose. Whether or not you’re pregnant, male or female, I think these lessons are applicable to what it means to endeavor to reach the fulfillment of your dreams and purpose. The illustration I’m going to use will be pregnancy, but you could easily replace the process and child in these posts with whatever your process and purpose are. All of the key transitions we face could be used, as I believe, it is those phases of life that are the best teachers. .
To start off with we are going to discuss the morning sickness phase of pregnancy. After the joy of discovering you’re pregnant the very first battle to face is that of morning sickness. There is little gap between the celebration of knowing you’re pregnant, to dealing with the realities of all that entails. How true is that when it comes to identifying your purpose in life and when the reality of what it means to try and get there sets in? There is only a short grace period or honeymoon phase. Reality sets in faster than the reality that you’re in this phase of transition does. It requires we look our reality right in the face and decide how to respond before the emotion of it all has had time to settle.
In the case of this pregnancy, I had a good week or two from discovering I was pregnant to the nausea setting in. Once it did, it hit hard. My energy was low and my sensitivity to smells, motion, and certain situations increased significantly. I quickly discovered I had to change my priorities in this time or the next few months were going to be miserable. Time honestly seemed to come to a halt as I realized just how long 9 months is.
Any dream or vision worth having requires we go through the same season of “morning sickness.” It isn’t talked about because we love discussing the joy of discovering your dream and purpose, but not about what it means to own the fact you’re going to make that reality. Once the buzz and excitement wears off from defining what you’re going after, you are going to have to face the necessary discomfort that comes with aligning your life to that new vision. It is uncomfortable, but purposeful and productive discomfort.
When it comes to pregnancy, taking in the fact that you can’t do what you used to do was what really frustrated me intellectually. But thankfully, my body was just too tired and sensitive to let me care too much. That wasn’t even the hardest part though. What I found most challenging was discovering that what I love to do to recharge (working out) now was a battle. This is because it would trigger my gag reflex, especially if I tried to go at my normal level of intensity. How true is it though, that when we get a dream if we don’t have morning sickness we will simply continue to operate like we used to instead of make adjustments to align our life to help support and feed the dream we have now taken ownership of?
I was challenged one day during the throws of gagging, even at the thought of bad smells, with the realization we best endure the seasons of morning sickness when we remember it’s purpose.
You’re producing new life or opportunities. This is nothing short of miraculous and it is reasonable to accept that with this comes a price of adjustment.
You can endure far more than you think if you keep your focus on the outcome, not solely on finding comfort in the moment.
It is okay to do what is necessary to care for yourself or the vision to thrive. This is true even if it means less productivity in the short term. The long term health is far more important than the immediate wins and is how we set a proper foundation for what is to come. .
Being forced to slow down because your body doesn’t feel right otherwise, especially when you’re a high performing person is a big challenge. I quickly became aware how much of my value I attached to what I produced in a day, versus who I was that day. You see the beauty of stages like this is it gets you to stop and reflect on who you are not what you do. This is so important as we step into the greater of life ahead. For me as a parent, I’d much rather face the reality of this now while I don’t have the responsibility of my children also on my plate. Not that is bad, but how much simpler is it to cut out and remove poor mindsets and behaviors when it’s just you who have adopted them. When my daughter arrives she is going to learn the fundamentals of life and behaviors from what I model. Might as well start out a step ahead then have to clean up a mess I made, right?
One thing I started to hear a lot from my midwife team and other ladies was “It’s a good sign you’ve got morning sickness. That means the baby is healthy.” I thought that was just a nice thing for people to say when they find out you’re struggling with nausea. Like a nice way to say,” hey this is a symptom of health not of dysfunction.” It bugged me for a bit until I realized how needed that is. We can take pain at face value an think all of it is bad. Honestly though, how many times do we undergo pain and discomfort because it in fact is good, just different. Think about it. Love is painful. It costs a lot of time, heartache and investment. Creating a lifestyle of health carries with it a level of discomfort and pain (all good pain of course). Now hear me clearly here, there is a difference in good pain versus bad pain so this doesn’t apply to every situation. But like morning sickness this pain is a low level, sometimes constant state that can’t be fully ignored. It demands change and a response, but is not debilitating. In fact the discomfort is as a result of you stretching beyond your previous capacity and potential.
When it comes to you and seeing the fulfillment of what you were designed to do come to reality, the stages and seasons of morning sickness, pain and discomfort that seems pointless are actually full with great purpose. It’s this discomfort that challenges us to think through what is really most important and what is not. To let go of behaviors and habits that will not serve us in the next season is invaluable. Let’s not despise the morning sickness, though we can be honest it isn’t enjoyable. What if we instead look to the value and impact this stage of growth makes on setting us up for long term success in our next season?!