Last Friday, I made a list of things people have said to me recently about my pregnancy. Most of them were about my size, but one was just this:
“Come out, Baby Dwight!”
Before this past weekend, my response to that was a (sometimes aggressive) “No! Don’t!”
I thought it was because I had such a long to-do list of pre-baby practicalities staring me in the face, but over the weekend, something became clear to me: it was because of The Fear.
Saturday night, I got into bed and pulled out the little journal where I write letters to Adlai: things I want him to know when he’s older, things I want to remember myself. I felt heavy as I wrote, and before I knew it, I was telling him I was scared. And I was sad. And I was mourning the end of this season of him and me.
Simon walked in to me scribbling hard and crying harder, and he asked what was wrong, and that was it.
It all came out. Stuff I didn’t even know I felt, fears I’d been walking around with, holding onto, afraid to name.
I was scared.
Scared of how I’m going to cope with two small children. Scared Adlai will feel abandoned. Scared I won’t have what it takes.
Scared of having a horrendous labour. Scared this baby will be sick, like Adlai was, and will have to go to the neo-natal unit and I will have to worry and cry over him, like I did for Adlai.
I was scared that the good God had done in Adlai’s first year of life – the healing He did in our marriage through us walking through the fire of sleepless nights and not communicating and learning to love each other and Adlai all at once – that it would be undone.
I was scared that the good God had done in my heart – the healing He did through my feeling like an outsider everywhere I went, through my sitting on the fringes, having to leave parties and church for feedings, feeling like a spectator – that it would all be undone. That I would have to start from scratch.
All of it poured out there, tears on the pages of Adlai’s little journals, snot running down my face, great heaving sobs pouring out of me uncontrollably at 11:30pm, while I tried not to cry so loud I would wake Adlai in the next room.
Simon sat there on the bed and listened. He got me a tissue. And when I was done, I laid down, and he held my hand and prayed. I fell asleep soon after, spent from being 39 weeks pregnant and from pouring myself out.
It took a little while on Sunday for it to sink in. For me to realize the difference. But I felt it. The Lightness. The Readiness. And when someone at church said, “When’s he coming?” I said, “Soon, I hope.” And I meant it.
Often, great healing can take weeks, months, years.
But sometimes all it takes is one night. One night of pouring your heart out, then resting, and waking to find the burden has been lifted.
The Fear is gone.