19: Stretch Marks & Sleep Deprivation
I am grateful for Leila’s smiles and coos and the quiet peaceful moments together as she nurses. I loved feelings her tiny kicks and wiggles while she grew inside me. I also found myself appreciating the nausea and how it served as a comforting confirmation that something good was happening in my body before I had those more tangible inner movements. When I looked down at my belly in the first days after her birth, I treasured the signs of her recent presence. Tonight I liked that she needed me to stay up with her a little bit later before drifting off to sleep.
I have not lived in a constant state of gratitude about every aspect since that positive pregnancy test last Father’s Day. There are times when I crave the ability to crawl into bed when I am tired instead of waiting for her. I do not always embrace the amazing thing my body has done and feel vain about the lingering stretch marks. I missed having my body to myself, and I desperately wanted reprieve from the constant nausea during the early weeks and later bouts of heartburn during the last weeks of pregnancy. But I try to remember what all these things represent.
Shortly after Leila’s birth a friend asked me if being a parent was the best thing ever. I started to automatically respond yes before I paused and said that I had never been more grateful for anything in my entire life. We didn’t do anything to deserve her. Every day we are more humbled by this blessing.