HOW PREGNANCY HAS HELPED ME FIND MY VOICE

so… you should probably pour yourself a cup of coffee and get cozy for a second.

it’s one of those heart-to-heart, wish-we-were-doing-this-in-person kinda posts. it’s one that I want to chat about friend-to-friend, and let you know that this Holy Becoming thing is so hard and good and just incredible. I want to tell you about all the crazy ways God is real and big and just present here in new ways lately. I want to talk about how wild this journey is and how wonderfully terrible it can be to grow into a more Jesus-like creature, to grow into more of who we’re made to be.

I guess I’ll just jump right in, then.

when I was growing up, I was kind of a doormat.

no, really. I have always had a really tough struggle when it comes to communicating and voicing what I need and want from situations and people.

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I’m a chronic “yes” girl. saying no is HARD. so, for years I would go long periods without saying it, and then suddenly burst into a stubborn fit of “no!” to make up for the pent-up fear and frustration that I had allowed to build. this took its toll on friendships and situations in which I’d end up used and bitter because I’d stayed quiet and small instead of being vocal and brave.

it has taken so very long to get to where I am now, to a place where I can speak my truth and (usually) boldly vocalize my needs and the things I hold dear. it’s a fight and a struggle which I’m proud of because it has helped to make me who I am. ❤

but as my pregnancy has progressed and little Io has grown, I’ve found new areas in my life where I’ve been quiet instead of vocal, where I’ve been passive instead of passionate, where I’ve been letting bitterness in instead of allowing truth to speak freely from me. it’s such a process, guys.

I’ve been learning that I must make this a constant practice of opening up my own heart to Jesus, letting Him show me where the quietness has been fear and where the lack of “no” has resulted in a cost more pricey than I’d wanted to pay. I’ve been learning the art of mindfulness, how to practice Presence and simply be. I’ve been learning that when I speak out with my own mouth, it paves the way for others to speak out, too. I’ve been learning that I will soon be responsible for the vocal-ness of not just me- but also my infant daughter. and I want to be ready. I want to be worthy of that responsibility.

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here is how I am learning to use my voice during my pregnancy…

speaking out for those who are unheard and un-listened-to
if I can’t even support the voiceless who are already living in this world, how can I expect to speak up for my daughter? how else will I teach her to use her voice if I have not helped others to find theirs? how else can I expect her to speak to me if I haven’t shown I’m a worthy listener. I’m practicing those skills now, with those who need it most. I’m leaping into the fray and being present with those in the mess who need a representative.

becoming unified and finding clarity
J and I are practicing communicating in new, healthier ways with one another. we are doing a lot of asking “why do we feel this way?”, a lot of looking under the surface, a lot of learning from each other and holding space for the other person. we are making new decisions as one, and using our voices to build each other up in more practical ways. we are vocalizing the way we feel about things- current events, our marriage, little Io, and even the things we don’t understand or just don’t know yet. we are getting vocal about how we will teach her to be vocal– how we will teach her about claiming her ground, giving or refusing consent with things as simple as a hug, and saying no when she needs to in a way that respects herself and those around her. we so badly want Io to grow up in a home where each of our unique voices blend into an empowering harmony instead of drowning one another out in a destructive chaos.

putting my (and her) needs on paper
from typing out this blog post (this takes courage, too!), to writing a birth plan that empowers everyone involved, I’m learning to put my needs on paper and not be ashamed of them. I’m learning to claim and protect her space for her, from the moment she’s born, before she can do so herself.

facing the discomfort without fear
I’m stepping into areas of my life that I would have previously avoided out of desire for simply keeping the peace… instead of making the peace. I’ve responded graciously to people whose comments I wanted to ignore, I’ve been strong and brave when I needed to be, and when the situation calls, I’ve harnessed silence as a weapon of wisdom instead of letting it harness me. I have made the hard decisions and thought about the hard thoughts in order to make the right choices… instead of just ignoring them. I want to teach Io that knowing how to use your voice often means using it when it is hardest to speak, and holding silence when you most want to lash out.

talking to and with my daughter
yes, she may not be out breathing my air or seeing my face just yet, but she knows my voice. it is the first voice she ever heard. she can hear it every time I use it, and from before birth, I will be responsible with the gift of my voice in her presence. I will honor her and Divine Love in the way I speak to & about her, her father, her extended family, and every person I come into contact with. I will shower her with kindness and respect and love when I open my mouth to tell her about our day or when I ask her to please settle down so mama can sleep 😉

claiming my space & my story as mine alone
this is the hardest of them all, friends. in our age of technology and social media and busy busy busy… it’s easy to allow my story to be stolen, to loosen my grip on my right to share what I want, when I want, with the world. it’s easy for my most precious and personal moments to become nothing more than words on a screen for the masses to click like or share… or twist or tear down. it’s easy for my time to be violated by well-meaning good-wishers who take my story into their own hands and make public the gentle minutes that make up my life. instead, I am choosing to say “no“. to say, “this is my story, and I will share what I want to share, when I want to share it; and I need you to respect that your place is not to do that for me.”

fine-tuning my voice will take my whole life. but I am finding it. it’s sitting here, inside me, waiting to be released. and I’m ready to let it fly- for myself, for my daughter. pregnancy has pressed me to be more active, more passionate, and more brave in the way I speak, because I want those things for her. for you. for us.

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