Our world bid a most wonderful welcome to my dear friend, Debbie’s son and his partner’s firstborn. Little William arrived safely, healthy, loved and treasured. Then only a couple of days later my friend Donna was given the green light to announce the pregnancy of her daughter – this is a pregnancy to be celebrated and prayed for, as I am faithfully doing each day.
As I was spending time being thankful for both these announcements, my mind also wandered to the times I had been pregnant. I can easily recall so many of the feelings and worries and hopes I had during that time. I realized some of those feelings were not unlike the feelings I’m experiencing now.
When a woman first gets the news she is pregnant, whether from a doctor, as it was in my case, or from a kit in a drugstore, which seems to give a person a bit of time to digest the information on her own, the first thing realized is that you really have absolutely no idea what is ahead of you.
It becomes quickly apparent that things will be changing for at least a certain number of months. It is as though the life you once knew and were so comfortable with is put on pause, a great pause. So too with this pandemic. It feels like we are in the midst of a great pause. Pregnant women are informed by those in positions of authority of things they can and cannot do, of things they should and should not do, and they are often given endless supplies of unwelcome advice from countless people. So too with this pandemic.
When I was pregnant, there were foods and drinks to give up. There were countries to avoid travelling to. In fact, as I recall, air travel was not really recommended at all, unless there was a serious emergency. Walking of course, was encouraged. But being in contact with people infected with colds, the flu and measles were not. Eating healthy and keeping blood pressure in check were on the list of ‘dos’. So too with this pandemic.
Beyond those practical things, I had plenty to worry about. I couldn’t see the baby growing inside me, and I had to trust others that it was progressing as was expected. Other than following the few guidelines set out for me in a pamphlet, I really felt I had very little control over making sure that the life in me was going to be ok. So too with this pandemic.
The other thing I recall about being pregnant was it was really hard for me to imagine what our new life with a new baby would be like. With our firstborn, Kaitlyn, we, like all parents thought we could imagine the changes headed out way. Of course, we had absolutely no way of understanding the full impact her entrance to the world would have on us. With our second, Gregory, we couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to introduce a sibling to the mix. We couldn’t imagine that our love wasn’t limited and that instantly, upon his arrival, it would simply expand so there was enough for all of us.
I also recall some days and weeks just dragging, and some flying by. I remember sometimes being tearful and sometimes being giddy. I remember wanting the private time with my baby to last, and I remember not being able to stand the wait until the birth day. So too, with this pandemic.
While I can recall the discomforts of the pregnancy, I have to admit they are not front and centre in my mind. I have to think hard about them to recall them at all.
What I do remember clearly, what I learned from being pregnant, giving birth and starting a new life with our children is this. I could never, ever, ever, have imagined the absolute joy, new unexpected gifts, depth of love, new experiences and new ways of being that came with the birth of our children.
In these weeks when I find myself tearing up at the Modern Family season finale, at emails from friends, at Jim telling me that Ben blew him a kiss when he was dropping something off on their front porch, at a video of man playing his guitar and singing Amazing Grace, through an opened window, with his mother who is in a long-term care facility, at Debbie telling me of William’s birth and of Donna telling me of her daughter’s healthy pregnancy, I remember that these things would have given me the same reaction many years ago when I was waiting for new life.
I cling to the idea that when restrictions are lifted, when we are blessed with our new life of sorts, we too, will simply be amazed that the life we so tried to anticipate, is more precious than we ever could have imagined. I pray the way we are imagining ourselves being will be realized. I pray we will remember gratitude. I pray we will remember the importance each member of our society holds. I am praying I find ways to grow during these times (not necessarily around my waist) that will allow me to become the person I am imagining I will be.
Right now, we are in the midst of a great pause. In pregnancy, we need the months of pause to allow new life to grow. During our pandemic, I am trying to be patient to allow our world to grow too, into the healthy, loving, vibrant home we long for.
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how find your area of growth during these times.