Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Sunday 26 May |
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

How “That Stupid Pregnancy Bump” Changed Me Forever

Pregnant woman 01 – CC

© Teza Harinaivo Ramiandrisoa / CC

Carolyn Svellinger - published on 07/09/15

Unplanned and unexpected and...finally joyful

I am not one to reminisce and rehash past events in my life, but how can I not with this one?  It was the single most life-changing event I’ve known.

Although I’m within a week of being in my third trimester with our third son, I’m still not a terribly emotional person, except for some things.

My oldest child is one of those things.

I was not even a year out of college when I found out I was pregnant with him. (here’s a snippet about that whirlwind)
My life was not on track. I didn’t have everything figured out. I didn’t even have plans to figure anything out. How about that, huh?! I didn’t even have plans!

I didn’t have anyone to worry about or take care of except myself, and I wasn’t even really doing that! I look back on my former self during college years (and even high school) with disgust. The decisions I made were vain, thoughtless and self gratifying. I was working tons but not saving my money. I spent it all on anything I wanted.

We grow up being told, “chase your dreams! Do what feels good! Have no regrets! Live, laugh, love! Be forever young! You only live once! Live in the moment! Be true to yourself!”

We are told these terribly cliché statements but with no context surrounding them.  Embarrassingly, some of us even tattoo these stupid mantras onto our own body or hang/paint the words in our own household. And without wisdom attached, these words encourage reckless behavior and regretful futures in the wisdom-less youth and ignorant adulthood.

And wisdom-less and ignorant, I certainly was. I was definitely being true to that.

I would hear someone rambling on about their past mistakes and how I should learn and be better, but I didn’t care. I was told repeatedly of my potential for “success” and that I had the “Midas Touch”, that I was gifted, that everything I touched moved for me and with me.

But childishly, I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t it? “

Nothing was ever difficult for me. I never had to struggle to do anything well. I excelled at anything I put an ounce of exertion into doing. But an ounce was all I ever exerted. My head was always somewhere else; onto my next self-fulfilling “dream”. I never thought about REALLY putting hard work into my life, focusing on a goal, and delaying my gratification for the bigger picture. I wanted what I wanted. and I got it. I never looked for a bigger picture.

I look back on myself during those years and shudder.

But what I do not regret was the choice I made with my husband to love our oldest son.

There is nothing that I have done in my past that has brought me greater, lasting joy than giving life to my son, and our subsequent children.

And I say THIS, coming from a girl, who once hated children. All ages. I used to pride myself on a monologue I would frequently give to anyone within earshot about how I believed all newborns were ugly, scrunched-up things, toddlers were all whining, grubby brats, and the ages beyond until teenager-dom were just annoying, obnoxious, and germ-y.
Bring a baby into the room, and I would roll my eyes and walk away while all the other girls and moms oohed and ahhed over the “sweeeeeeet little baaaaabyyyyy cooo coo coooweoifhawkjfawlkjfhalkjfh BARF!!!!!”

Give me a puppy dog, I always said. Those things are fluffy, cute, and you can put them in a crate overnight with a bowl of food and water. Those things don’t demand any more attention than I felt like giving.

Yet I chose our son.

Not because my religion tells me “ABORTION BAAAAD!” but, because thankfully, I listened to science enough to fully acknowledge that the moment one of my eggs is fertilized, it’s not merely a fertilized egg, it’s a HE or a SHE with his/her own, unique DNA; a human being, separate from me. I at least held that conviction.

Yet I looked into the mirror at the bridal shop and saw my reflection. I had chosen the simplest of all the dresses.  I was beyond being able to hide the bump protruding from under the sash.  And looking at myself, in a wedding dress, it looked so wrong.

“That stupid bump” I remember thinking. “It shouldn’t be this way,” I thought.

Yet it was.  And it was so right.

So much more right than the way I thought it should have been.

Three years later, that “stupid bump” says, “I love you, Mom,” with a tiny voice every single night, as I close the door to his bedroom.

I look through the crack in the door, and see “that stupid bump” curled up under the snowy blankets of his queen sized bed and he looks so small, holding his “Baby Lamb” and closing his eyes.

Tonight, as my husband and I kissed him and asked God to bless him, he squealed and giggled with his first, genuine excitement, knowing his birthday will come in the morning.

Getting to witness these simple delights, these very first realizations, understandings, emotions and victories in a human being who was created by God, yet from my husband and I is equal to no other high or rush of endorphins I could possibly imagine.  And I’ve had lotsa rushes.

I cry tears of joy to know him, to be in his presence.

I look at him sometimes and I get flashes of what kind of a person I might be today if I had chosen myself first; my body instead of my son. Those flashes haunt me with images of loneliness and years of empty seeking.

Lexington has changed me forever. He and our other children are now the recipients of my gifts and talents, my exertions and my love. I shall not be wasted on them, contrary to what my previous lifestyle told me would happen with “brats” in my life. I have grown ten times the person I was three years ago.

I dare a fuzzy puppy dog to even attempt stirring that up within me.

I look at newborns now and I am moved to tears by them. They are each living evidence of a miracle and of true love on earth.  I sometimes have to pinch myself or bite my lip to keep from tearing up and being obnoxiously emotional when I see a newborn in public.

“OHHH IT’S MY ALLERGIES! I GET THEM SO BAD!” (we all know that’s a lie now, because of this) :)

How wonderful a transformation I have made.  I’m still transforming, make no doubt about that… I am still vain and selfish- I mean, this post was mostly about ME, wasn’t it?  But I am aware of it now.  I can change.  I can be better.  I thank God for knowing me better than I ever trusted Him to know me- and proving it to me! I thank Him for giving me my husband, for giving us our wild little Lexington.

Happy Third Birthday, Mister. You are a miracle.

Carolyn Svellingeris a writer, artist and mother of four. This article was published on her blog Sverella and is reprinted here with permisson. 

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.