We took a photo for the first time that Sunday afternoon, eight weeks ago. I’d always imagined I’d do a photo with the pregnancy test, like the many I’ve seen on Pinterest—the ones where nine months later that little piece of plastic is replaced with a baby. But the two tests I did were the cheap kind, flimsy little strips that are hardly photogenic.
So instead we took a photo of me holding a pea. Because my phone app told me that this week (week 6), our baby is the size of a pea. It seemed a little silly, picking the best-looking pea out of the handful of frozen peas my husband brought up from the freezer. Sitting with it in my palm as he snapped photos of me sitting cross-legged on the bed.
But this photo-taking was an act of faith, a statement of trust in the One who created and loves this little pea inside of me.
I’d been spotting for three days. And I’d read the books, checked and double checked the websites, and I knew there could be a hundred good reasons for why I might be bleeding lightly right now. I was still sick to my stomach, still asking my ever-sweet husband to run downstairs first thing in the morning and fetch me some toast before I had to sit up. I could still nap half the day away.
All little things, but we needed the little things right then. We needed the hope.
All I could think of was that little black and white screen a year before, and the deathly silence that had filled the room when there should have been a heartbeat. All I could remember was being so naively sure everything was ok until it wasn’t.
I’m too aware this time, that life is a fragile fleeting thing. I will not, cannot trust this pregnancy until I hold a living breathing child in my arms.
And yet I do not want to live in fear. It’s been my constant prayer since that horrible day last summer: Oh God, don’t let fear take up residence in my heart. Don’t let it steal everything good. Let your perfect love drive it out—by force if necessary. I don’t want to be a slave to fear.
I chose JOY to be my one word this year, knowing we were hoping a child would be ours soon, knowing I needed to stake my claim to joy from the beginning, my desire to enjoy the trying, the waiting, the hoping, the growing.
And so I enact my hope, my joy. I enact it by picking a pea from the small handful, by brushing my hair and making sure my shoulders are not slouched. And smiling for the camera.
This is our child, just the size of a pea, his heart a mere poppy seed. Eight weeks later, my app tells me she has grown to the size of a nectarine and I’ve cried again at the doctor’s office, but this time in joy to see her wriggling and squirming on the screen, head cradled on her arm, heart pumping loud and strong.
It’s not certain yet. Life rarely is. And my mama-friends remind me that this is how it will be from now—the constant care and concern for this child, even after she has grown into a woman.
But not fear. I will not allow fear to slowly erode away at the joy. I feel it breathing down my neck each morning as I wake. But with a prayer and a deep breath, I’m learning how to close the door to it. I hear God’s words through his prophet Isaiah and I know he speaks them over us too:
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”
And so I am holding on to JOY in this child growing within me, and the hope that knows that God is with me, whatever may come and that his love for this wee one is beyond my comprehension.
This post originally appeared at SheLoves Magazine.