When Jana and I found out we were pregnant again, it elicited joy from us. From the timing of the pregnancy, to the fact we were going to have four kids like we wanted, we were overjoyed. The joy slowly wore away, though.
During Jana’s pregnancy with Gideon (our third child), there were times it was difficult to watch Jana endure during the pregnancy. There were moments it was difficult for her to walk, sleep…be. She has mild scoliosis, which is exacerbated with the pregnancy. She dealt with a sciatica. She was a mother of two young boys as well which would not only tax her physically, but mentally and emotionally. Plus, she had me to deal with constantly!
When Gideon was finally born, I forgot about the tough moments of the pregnancy Jana endured. We were grateful for Gideon, and glad to have another member of the family. We continued to live life to the fullest, and slowly looked forward to baby number four.
This fourth pregnancy with Jana was difficult. It was difficult for Jana, and it was difficult for me. Already, I can hear someone say, “You have no idea how difficult it was for your wife, so you can save your so-called difficulty!” Yep. So I won’t talk about my difficulties because mine aren’t as legitimate. Well, I can talk about these… How helpless I felt the last six to seven months of the pregnancy. How it adversely affected our friendship and marriage.
I saw Jana barely able to get through each day because of back and leg pain. She was sleeping less and less because of the pain. I saw the toll of this adding up and grinding her down mentally and emotionally, and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it. I saw the anger grow within her due to ridiculous pregnancy comments, our boys being boys, or the daily travails of life and marriage get to her easier because of being weary.
Of course, all this affected our marriage and friendship adversely. “Cherish these days of being pregnant!” Toward the end, both Jana and I wanted to punch the people that made these types of comments. Yes, Jana did as well.
I prayed constantly for her healing. That didn’t happen. Then I prayed relief for her body. That didn’t happen either. Then I prayed she would just be able to make it through the day and get some sleep. (Please God!) How the heck can you comprehend three more months of pain and sleeplessness when you are broken by another day?
I did what little I could. From meals, to tasks around the house, to my time with the boys, I tried to step up. It still didn’t seem to help anything. Sometimes, I made matters worse.
Christmas Day, I was trying to surprise Jana by taking care of a meal. In my preparation for this, I tried to be sneaky in asking her what baking supplies we had so I could be prepared. Christmas Day comes, and I’m trying to prepare this meal. An ingredient I thought Jana had said we had we didn’t have. I got upset. Jana had no idea why I was upset, and was wondering why I was trying to prep a meal while everyone was in the living room. I yelled at Jana in front of my boys. My thinking? I’M TRYING TO BLESS YOU! WHY DON’T YOU WORK WITH ME HERE?!
Yep, I’m really a blessing. Again, she has no idea what I’m trying to do and was understandably wondering what’s going on. Even better?
LIAM: Dad, you made mom cry. (Liam goes to Jana to console her, and the other boys follow suit.)
Merry Christmas! Daddy is a jerk.
I apologized, repeatedly, to Jana in front of the boys. I apologized to the boys, repeatedly, for disrespecting and dishonoring their mother like that. Thankfully, Jana and the boys forgave me.
The pregnancy had been trying for Jana and me. The last few months of it I scaled back on a lot of things, intentionally and unintentionally. My wife is in pain, and my boys want someone who can wrestle with them, going to the Creighton basketball game doesn’t matter. Daily, just getting the boys ready for bed was a task. When it was all said and done, it’s 8:30 PM and Jana just wants to sleep. My evenings are slowly becoming more devoted to her and the boys. Nothing else matters.
Last fall, I attended Thinc Iowa and came away inspired. I considered what might be next in life and work as I listened to the speakers and experienced the conference. I drove home buzzing with anticipation and excitement. All that ebbed away as the pregnancy moved toward its end.
I wrote less. I read less. I met with people less. I did less. The tangible ideas I had for life and work were fleeting as the demands of marriage and family began to mount.
I didn’t begrudge this at all. I love my wife, and boys, and wanted to do whatever I could for them. Especially for Jana as she endured constant pain. However, I looked forward to circling back around to reading, writing, networking, developing new ideas once the pregnancy was over. I just needed to make sure Jana and our family made it to the finish line with the pregnancy.
To be continued…