You see this picture? Aren’t I just glowing? Oh thanks, you’re too kind. I came across it when going through pics on my computer, gathering a batch to develop. Because I’m old-school like that. Hard copy photo albums are my jam. I want to be able to pull an old dusty album from the bookshelf and share it with my grand-kids some future thanksgiving from now. That, along with my cursive inscriptions, will make me appear 100 years older. Grandma’s got to begin her game now, in her thirties, so she can be ballin’ like an O.G. in twenty years. (Apparently I’m full of gangster references. Don’t worry, I’m wearing neutral colors as I write this.)
But look at that pic. It’s one of my favorites. What could be more majestic than a pregnant woman with curled hair, laughing on a mountain top?
I must have been laughing with the sheer joy of creating new life, right?
I was laughing because… I couldn’t get up.
It was ridiculous.
Just before this, I was laying back on that crooked tree trunk for a pose. It felt awkward. So I tried to get up. I flexed my belly muscles and leaned forward and… Nothing. Didn’t move at all.
At 7 months pregnant, My abs had significantly stretched and separated. They didn’t even connect in the middle anymore. It happens to the best of us.
I tried again: wheezing loudly, “Eeeeeeeee….”
Still no movement. At this point, my husband and our photographer friend were laughing. I was surprised she kept the camera still. She had originally suggested I recline against the tree. Which is normally a great idea for, you know, normal people. But leaning on a scrubby oak pitched at a 45 degree angle, I was instantly trapped by my own belly weight.
I finally rolled sideways and braced myself with my arm, grunting like a CrossFit junkie hefting her personal best. One final backward shove, and I was upright. Well, the top part of me at least.
I couldn’t contain it anymore: the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Everything about me was so not graceful. The panting and wheezing and shoving and hefting. The lovely glowing “Mother Earth” jig was up: so I laughed. Hard.
And the camera lens clicked.
Pregnancy is rough, constraining, and even debilitating. But in the moment, I laughed.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Amen. Come Lord.
In the end, everything turned out just fine. We have a healthy baby boy, and an unexpected preggo pic that makes me laugh when I look at it. It reminds me to have a sense of humor about the struggles and daily work of Mommyhood, where I could just as easily laugh as cry. And there is time for both. But in this instance, when a former gymnast and triathlete could not even sit herself up without a fight, I’m glad I laughed.