three years

I got pregnant with Elias on May 18th, 2006.

I'm writing this post a few weeks early, just because I'm thinking about that day - thinking about the past three years. How they've been filled with joy and excitement, pain and irritation, expectations met and those that have fallen really short.

I'm also writing this blog a few weeks early because tonight I found the video my sweet stepdad filmed while my mom, my sister, and I took the pregnancy test(s) that let me know I was gonna be a mama. I'm so glad I watched it - oooh, I just laughed and cried looking at us. Me, repeatedly calling Elias "Joaquin" - since I was sure that was going to be his name. My sister, definitely crying more than I was. Telling Nick over and over again as I called him to tell him the news, "our lives are changed forever! our lives are changed forever!". So many things struck me about that video - but one thing that I didn't expect to feel was really
thankful for the changes I see in myself.

When I think back to May-2006-Jessi, I know for sure that she is immature and not really all that wise (not that may-2009-jessi is, either), but I always kind of think of her in this fairytale sort of light. Oh, she was skinny. She had time to do her hair and always had her nails done, roots covered. She may not have the patience or servanthood of someone who cleans up after two other people's poops all day, but surely she had some insightful things to say - since she seemingly had the time to form coherent sentences and complete thoughts. And of course - you'd expect her to be much more pleasant without all the contractions and back pain and constant itching and distracted attention to two little other ones.

But I was amazed to find - I really didn't want to be her anymore.

Sure, her stomach was a little flatter and that cute green dress fit her much better - but she looked just a tad self obsessed, watching herself in the mirror as much as she watched the pink lines forming on the stick. Her voice was a little more stable and certainly more well-rested sounding, but her words were focused on the girl in the mirror & no one else. For the first time in a long time - I just didn't want to be her.

It's been three years. Twenty six of these past thirty six months have been
filled with pregnancy - I've been sharing my skin with someone else for
72% of the last three years, and I am so thankful for where that has left me.

Thank you Jesus for every stretch mark, every contraction, both c-section scars, the roots, the sleeplessness, the weariness, the selfishness glaring back at me from the mirror every morning that makes me reevaluate every little detail of my heart.

Thank you for the headaches and the tears, the cuddles in the middle of the night, the toddler puke stains on my carpet, and the snot left on the shoulder of my favorite sweater.

Thank you for all the glamorous expectations I had that just never came to fruition. Thank you, instead, for the beautiful reality that replaced my warped and painful sense of self.

In the past three years, I don't think I've become anything to brag about - but I do know I've slowly started to become a mama - and for that,
I am more grateful than words can describe.