I decided to share my pregnancy story after I got a lot of good feedback on my Pregnancy Announcement post about my honesty and openness towards my experience. Thank you all for that. I really felt that I wanted to communicate what my first trimester was really like. Of course, pregnancy is different for everyone, but a lot of times you hear just how wonderful everything is. While that is the case, there are some not-so-wonderful times! Both are worth it 🙂
That is why I really want to share my whole story. My pregnancy story begins a long time before I was actually pregnant. I want to share this story because I believe that it can be a powerful tool for others who may struggling. This story shows victory through faith and trust. It is important for me to share it also so that I can remember it. The miracle of life. When I first shared the news of being pregnancy with some close friends, they reminded me what I went through the years before and how amazing it was that I am now past that. I had completely forgotten! I truly think that it is important to remember HOW you got somewhere. To remember the good parts, yet also the bad. They can be huge learning lessons, and serve as a hope for others!
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. – 1 Cor. 1: 3-4 MSG
My Pregnancy Story
As a college cheerleader, I always strived to be in the best shape that I could, and stay small and slender so I could be tossed up in the air with ease. I always did this in a healthy way. However, my sophomore year of college, I had been dating Adam (my husband) and I had probably let myself go a little bit (according to my standards). It was the beginning of the cheer season and as I observed the new, incoming cheerleaders, I began feeling anxious and overwhelmed: I am not prepared for this season, I am not in my best shape physically, what have I done?!
I decided to take matters into my own hands and began an intense workout and eating regimen. My eating was healthy, but my exercise was not, and neither was my mindset. I was functioning off of pure desire to be the skinniest, most in-shape athlete on the team. To me, I was nothing unless I was in perfect shape. Adam could tell me that he loved me until he was blue in the face and the only thing that mattered was if I felt skinny. My emotions that I felt were bitterness towards others who ate whatever they want, greed, envy, and selfishness. My relationship with Adam started to struggle because I felt that he didn’t understand. I felt that he wanted things to be fun and happy, but to me, “relaxing” with things was what got me out of shape in the first place. Things were serious now. The priorities were set, and happiness was not up there until I accomplished my goal.
My excessive exercise and horrible attitude lasted about a year. That whole year I did not have my period at all. It was over that summer that I realized no matter what I accomplished or how much I did eventually try to relax, I really couldn’t. I had adopted this mindset that nothing is good enough, and it was sticking with me. What had I done? To make a long story short, I did eventually see a counselor. This counselor asked me 2 simple questions:
- What is the center of your life right now? Answer: Cheerleading.
- What do you think should be the center of your life? Answer: God.
I had no idea where that answer came from because I had grown up going to church, but had strayed far away from Christ throughout High School and College. I left those counseling sessions with a new view on life, love from Christ, and happy emotions.
I started worrying less about what I was eating, started going to church, and really renewing my mindset. That next year in college cheerleading was my best year yet. I have to say that I still worked out a lot, but in a healthy way. My goal for working out was to make it through my cheerleading routines, not to be the skinniest on the team. I started learning the best workouts and foods for the type of athlete I was, which really helped me in my sport.
During this time, however, I still didn’t have my period. I knew that many athletes did not get their period, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I promised myself, and Adam, that after I was done with cheerleading I would easily get it back.
Fast forward to 2 years post-cheerleading and I still had not gotten my period (yes, I had seen doctors who tried to help but nothing worked). I was in my first year of grad school and that previous summer I had developed some “Orthorexia” type beliefs that had me fearing certain foods, working out all the time, and struggling again. Throughout these 2 years, Adam confronted me many times about how it is not right that I hadn’t gotten my period. He encouraged me to think about the future and whether or not I would be able to have kids one day. Those conversations were very eye-opening to me and I would try to fix things for a couple weeks, and then fall right back into old habits- without even realizing it sometimes!
Things finally got to the point where I realized that my husband and I had had the SAME concerning conversation over and over again my promises to him now meant nothing. Again, what had I done? At this point, I was 24 and hadn’t had a period for 5 years. Could I ever have kids? Is this what I want? Something has got to change. It was me seeing the hard truth that I could have possibly changed my ability to have kids, that I finally gave myself guidelines. I let go a lot, gained 10 pounds, and got my period back. It was a mental struggle because my old habits and beliefs seemed so true and so right to me, but the thought of being a mother and having a child one day eventually overpowered those thoughts. My love for my husband and a potential future baby was more powerful than the chains that held me back.
Victory Is Headed Your Way
Now I know that everyone has a different story. Everybody has their cross that they bear, and may have to deal with for a lifetime. But love and a purpose greater than yourself can overpower the effect that your weakness has on you. You may also struggle with a lack of period and fear that you may never be able to have children, or perhaps you are surrounded by bad habits of drinking, smoking, or drugs and you cannot see yourself ever being healthy enough to have children. I truly want to tell you that you can. Replace the fear with love, hold onto your goal, and never give up no matter how many times you fall. Victory is in your future, even though you cannot see it. Please, don’t give up!