As many of you already know, Ian and I are expecting a baby in early November. This is definitely an exciting time for our family. We are filled with many emotions that one may normally experience when waiting for the arrival of their newborn… excitement, happiness, fear, joy, fear, love, fear… I’m sure you can see a theme! In all seriousness, becoming a parent is a lovely yet terrifying thing – at least from my point of view. I have, however, found deep joy and encouragement in sharing this experience with my Dale family.
To be honest, when I was approaching the end of my first trimester and getting ready to share with my community that I was pregnant, I was really nervous! I think it was a mixture of anticipation in sharing a secret that I kept to my close friends and family for so long, to wondering what people’s reaction would be, to worrying about what kind of personal space boundaries I might need to set. You see, I wasn’t just sharing with a few people in an office that I was having a baby. I would be sharing with my close community families, those at the Dale and Sanctuary, which encompassed maybe over a hundred people give or take. It felt like a lot.
I wanted to be sensitive as well to the fact that a lot of people have mixed feelings about children. From the loss of kids, maybe trauma around childhood, to a number of feelings surrounding parenthood and motherhood. I felt like I wanted or needed to hold my joy close in case someone’s sadness came pouring out upon hearing my news. What actually ended up happening was that I was met with so much love, joy, protection, and care. It was, and continues to be, so beautiful. I feel grateful.
Upon telling people that I was expecting, I was surrounded with care from the beginning. My job can be very physical. We are often facilitating drop-ins on our feet, preparing meals, doing dishes after, doing outreach, helping people clean, etc. My community at the Dale has made sure I don’t lift anything too heavy, that I sit down and take breaks, that I eat something. I am asked so many times a day if I’m alright, how I’m doing, if I’m tired, if I need anything. I have had to really set down my pride, to be honest, and let people love me. I am used to being strong and independent, and its not that I am not these things now, but growing a human does make you slightly more fragile in some ways. My people are really showing me how much I am loved and how much our little baby is loved in the ways they look after me. It really is a reminder of how much we hold up the idea of giving and receiving at The Dale. I am receiving a lot of love and care, especially these days, and being in friendship based ministry and community continues to be such a blessing to my heart.
I have been grateful for all that has come from this experience. I have experienced people’s deep care for me, and received small gifts for our baby (including a painting of frogs with glow in the dark painted lily pads). I’ve heard motherly advice, and been asked questions about what how I am feeling. There have been handshakes and hugs, but also silent nods or funny comments that I’m not really sure how to take sometimes. I gather all these things in my arms and know that this baby will be a gift, not only to me, but to all of us I hope in some way or another. I thank God for his love shown to me through my community, and for unexpected places of joy and hope. I pray for all those experiencing loss, and those who have had really hard experiences with family and babies. I know that these things are not to be held lightly. I pray for my community, that I can care and love them as much as they love me. I think that’s what it’s all about really – learning to love each other well, through our joy and pain, fear and excitement, happiness and sorrow.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over my family. We feel deeply loved.
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