What Jesus Christ taught me about pregnancy

This weekend was basically one giant meltdown for me.

I am sneakily suspicious of the hundreds of pregnancy hormones surging through my body resetting every emotion inside of me from neutral to crazy. Yes, they are the ones to blame.

Regardless, it didn’t stop me from becoming a blubbering mess more than once.

Real talk?

This pregnancy has been difficult for me.

I know I join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of women who have uttered similar laments.

But tonight I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at the dusk turning into the grey of evening, feeling hot tears pour down my face onto my growing belly.

I had just said something unkind to my husband. My mood has been a constant roller coaster these past few days and I was regretting letting my irritability get the better of me.

This weekend was an exciting one for us. We moved into a bigger apartment and started setting up the nursery for our baby girl.

nursery

Maybe it was the wonderfully crushing reality of an imminent addition to our family. Maybe it attending a new ward where the number of newborns practically outnumbers the parents. Maybe it was the sleepless nights battling increasingly sharp sciatic pain, and burning acid reflux.

But something inside me snapped. And as it did, fear trickled into every portion of my heart.

I had expressed some of these concerns to my husband and my mother. They both responded confidently that I would make a great mother.

I’ve always known you would be a good mom, even before I married you, Eric said.

I’ve never had any doubts about you raising a child, my mom reassured.

But as I listened, all I heard was hollow praise to satiate my moment of crippling fear. Deep down, their words filled me with more dread. I was certain I would disappoint the people I loved most.

And so I sat there weeping, wishing I could take back my last conversation with Eric, thinking about how unprepared, unfit and unbelievably terrified I was to be a mother.

My husband, my hero, came in quietly and put his arm around my shoulder as I cried and cried.

No one tells you about this part of pregnancy. It’s real and it’s raw.

I apologized for my unkind words. He forgave me quickly and once again poured out words of affirmation.

My head began to scream.

“He doesn’t understand what I’m going through. I feel crazy! Can’t someone just tell me it’s okay to be scared as hell? That it’s okay to want to drown into the sea of despair that I’m wading further and further into? Can someone just tell me that fear is normal, healthy even?”

What I heard was silence.

And then, a still, small voice from inside my heart spiraled slowly up into my weary and frenzied mind.

It took me back to a snowy road in Kalispell, Montana.

I was a missionary and my companion and I were teaching a woman, Taz, who has always been very dear to me.

As we taught Taz about the restoration of the gospel, Taz discovered she was pregnant. One night in particular, she was having a rough time.

Before we left, she asked us a question I’ve never forgotten.

“Sisters, will you find me in the scriptures what it says about pregnancy?”

My eyes were instantly wide.

Was she serious? All I could think of was Mary, the mother of Jesus, bringing forth her first-born son, lying him in a manger.

While it was a beautiful story, I didn’t think it would be much help to Taz.

Her question was in the back of my mind for the rest of the week.

Finally, the answer came.

Christ

As we returned to Taz’s home, we sat down and taught her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That her Savior, our Savior, felt every pain, every fear, every heartache she would ever experience.

“Jesus Christ knows what it’s like to be pregnant, Taz.”

And then we read to her the words an ancient Book of Mormon prophet named Alma taught to the people of Gideon.

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that he bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

As we read her those words, tears poured down her cheeks.

And a million minutes and miles a way, as I thought of this experience, fresh tears trickled down my own face as well.

“Christ knows what it feels like to be pregnant, Emmilie. He knows what it’s like to feel crazy. He knows the growing fear and the feelings of inadequacy, the pain of carrying a child.”

And suddenly, my thoughts were in an olive garden called Gethsemane.

christ-praying-in-gethsemane-dewey_1183667_inl

There was fear in the garden that night. It was nothing to be ashamed of. It was the crushing realization and acceptance of the responsibility placed upon our Lord’s shoulders.

“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me,” Christ plead with the Father.

Hours before the brutality of Gethsemane, Christ sat with his apostles, those who knew and loved him best.

I can only imagine that if the Savior of the World told Peter, James or John that he was scared about what he was about to do, that he didn’t want to disappoint the people — all mankind — whom he loved so much, they might respond in a manner similar to my sweet husband.

We have never doubted you, Lord.

We will follow you forever, Master.

Essentially, You will be an incredible Savior, friend.

And because he couldn’t turn back, he couldn’t — and wouldn’t — retreat, Jesus took upon him the sins of all of us.

You. Me. Eric. Our daughter.

And because of him, I can do ALL things.

I can face the fears rooted in the deepest corners of my heart.

And I can know that someone infinitely greater than I, “whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose,” knows my pain and heartache and fears as I enter motherhood.

And as I sat on the edge of my bed, my husbands arm around my shoulder, different tears poured from the corner of my puffy eyes.

Grateful ones.

Tears that bear the testimony of a Savior, who loves and knows me perfectly every day — even on the crazy ones.