My wife and I both travel for work a good bit.
I spend several days a month traveling to my company’s main office, industry conferences and client meetings. She jaunts from our home in Washington, DC, to New York, Los Angeles and international events.
The day after we found out we were pregnant, we went to Costa Rica. Since then, she has gone to Austria, Germany and France. (While not as exotic, I’ve been to Nashville and Santa Monica!)
Recently, I drove her to the train station to catch a sunset ride up the coast for two days in New York. At 35 weeks pregnant, this was the last work trip either of us would be taking for a while.
As I stood with her waiting for the 5:21pm to arrive, I thought about our lives over the past year and how my wife had transformed.
In twelve months, we’ve transformed from blissful newlyweds to a soul-searching couple after a devastating miscarriage to overjoyed expectant parents.
Physically (her) and emotionally (both of us), the journey has been a true endurance test. Pregnancy definitely ain’t for the weak.
While our miscarriage was early, it was still painful. There is no guidebook to tell you how to feel. So we felt lost, confused and damaged. What if we could never have kids?
We refused to stop trying after one setback, which led to our pregnancy just two months later.
Since that trip to Costa Rica, I’ve witnessed my wife remain remarkably calm as her body was taken over by another entity. It was like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
Her body changed on a nearly daily basis. Her breasts swelled, preparing for breastfeeding. Aches and pains kept moving; as soon as one was relieved, it would shift to another area. Hands, feet, back…
She had to learn to deal with her constantly-changing body as it pertained to self-image. Clothes that were once too big to fit became too small. Being a confident, independent woman with a baby growing inside you takes ever-increasing amounts of trust, grace and determination.
Her favorite foods soon repulsed her, after several months of sickness where everything repulsed.
Sleeping became a chore, with countless mid-night potty breaks. Being several state away from her closest friends and most of her family added more stress. And this was before our landlords decided to sell our house.
As the pressures and stressors piled on, higher than ever before, my wife adapted to be able to deal with each of them, head-on. It was like a maternal switch flipped that gave her extra insight, coping mechanisms and problem-solving bandwidth.
Standing there as the train pulled into the station, mere weeks before meeting my daughter, I had a realization:
While I had sent my wife to those foreign countries over the past year, the mother of my children was about to board.