Everything about the last six months has been agonizing. At 5 weeks pregnant I was hospitalized and told my baby was not going to make it. That night depression sat by my bedside and refused to leave. I remember calling my pastor, who is also my dad and just weeping as he sat with me in the hospital room. They admitted me for pain my kidney was causing & did their best to prepare me for what could happen that week. I remember laying there in the hospital bed thinking, not again. I was pregnant before this and had lost the baby. The doctors described it as, your body aborted your baby. As if the pain wasn’t enough, to know my body was to blame was heart breaking. Having disease in the body causes many complications when a woman is pregnant, and i had already had prior experience with this when I was pregnant with my son Jonah in 2008. Now, six years later, I am much older and much weaker than I was back then, causing more issues than I could ever imagine.
After I was discharged from the hospital, I was told to monitor my blood pressure and remain on bed rest. What I had thought would be a few weeks on bed rest, turned out to be six months. Zero physical activity, because even when I tried to do anything active, I would end the day in significant pain and discomfort. I could feel my muscles weakening by the day. The swelling in my legs and feet cause such pain even when trying to stand for a little while. When I look in the mirror I no longer recognize myself. It’s as if I am staring at a different person. Now, sixty pounds heavier than I was just six months ago, I feel extremely beastly and can’t catch my breath from just walking from my bed to the bathroom. Not only has my body weakened and become more swollen than a thanksgiving day float, but my skin has become rough and full of painful acne. Due to the high levels of hormones in my body I am covered in acne on my face, neck, shoulders, back and even my scalp! Then there is the pigmentation change on my neck and back. My skin has turned from an olive color to a black streak across my neck. Let’s discuss my teeth for a moment, which had already been weakened from years of meds that caused dry mouth. The lack of calcium has caused a weakening on the enamel and already two of my teeth have cracked in the back. Because dentists are so expensive, I just have no idea when I will be able to take care of this issue. It’s safe to say that I am not glowing with pregnancy beauty but literally looking hideous. This can take a toll on a woman, not just because she doesn’t feel like herself, but also because she cannot control any of these changes nor can she manage to control her feelings due to hormone spikes and changes. Not only has depression lingered by my bedside for these last six months, but it also taunts me into believing it will never leave me alone.
I find myself in an agitated, vulnerable and sometimes angry state. Loosing my temper much quicker with those closest to me & having crying spells that last longer than I want. I’ve been talking to the Lord regarding self control, and really just showing my fruit in the midst of this situation. I have spoken to other married women who have had children and experienced what I am experiencing in this current season. It feels like such a lonely dessert place and I can hear the Lord speaking to me, as indeed He is walking beside me, but many days I attempt to block it out because it is easier to get through these momentary sufferings when we try not to address it. I am certain that my pregnancy hormones and my emotional state is not as lucid as it would be if I were not pregnant suffering with illness. Although it feels like I need Jesus now more than ever, the truth is… I need Jesus everyday!
For some marriages, there is a His & Her sink, His & Her closet, etc. In my marriage we have a his and hers too. His illness (ACM w/Syringo) & her illness. It’s hard to tackle illness when one partner is suffering, but what about when both are suffering? I have even had some people ask me “why did you guys have a baby if you both are sick?” So many times that question has angered me because I truly believe God is sovereign over us & how many children HE chooses to allow us to fill our quiver with. A true gift of God, so who are we to question Him? Faith is suppose to believe in the unseen. I have no idea what is to come for us, does healing await? How will God provide financially? Etc. Questions we have asked before, even before being diagnosed with disease, yet God has always been great provider & ultimate comforter. I did not question then & I will not question now.
The ugly truth is, its so hard. It can be the loneliest place & the pain can eat at you. Depression can taunt you & try to keep your soul downcast. To be a woman and feel so ugly, so lonely & feel so much pain can cause us to question our very existence. But, beautiful transparency is facing those feelings & laying them down openly at the feet of Christ. Admitting that we desperately need Him & cannot possibly make it, not even a second without him. Clinging to the hem of His garment even when our fingers feel faint and want to let go, our pursuit of holiness to look like Jesus keeps us clinging.
I feel so hideous during this time of carrying my son inside of me. The pain I feel physically makes me so tired and all I want to do is give up. Yet, who is it that I am suppose to see when I look in the mirror? Who is it that anyone is suppose to see when they look at us? Superficial america will make us feel insecure because illness has changed how we look, but Christ centered truth will remind us that Jesus & His character is who people should see. I know so many women, especially Christ followers who are so consumed with their looks, that even without realizing can make comments to other women that make them feel so ugly and unwanted…. yet, our goal is to encourage one another to look like Christ. Vanity fades, and so does this life. Who do we look like? Who do we see when we glance at our selves or hear ourselves speak?
The ugly truth is, we can do better.
Beautiful transparency is, we can openly admit this & pray that His power is made known AND seen in our weakness.