July 2, 2013

My 19 week mango baby

Week 19
June 24 - 30
Baby is mango sized!
This week continues to be very special for us. 
The kicking is starting to be more noticeable. I definitely felt Genevieve move externally on Monday. And Michael got to feel her move for the first time on Wednesday. 
It was so special.

Sweet craving
I don't have a sweet tooth. I don't mind dessert, I just don't crave it. I LOVE fruit, but I could go without chocolate any day. This little girl has ruined me! I crave sweets. I want chocolate cake. Cookies sound delicious. What on earth? I've heard those sweet cravings will likely stay with you post-pregnancy. Just lovely. Thanks Genevieve, now I can relate with the rest of the world. Give me sugar!!

The last 5 weeks I've been taking a prenatal yoga class with my dear pregnant friend, Becca. I hope to continue this yoga until Genevieve arrives (and then I'll start post-natal yoga ;) I know there are mixed thoughts on yoga these days but it has been one of the most important practices during this pregnancy. I mentioned last week that my attention has shifted from me being pregnant to Genevieve growing inside of me. My thoughts are more internal. For those who don't know, I am an external processor - almost 100%. The idea of 'going inside of myself' and processing thoughts alone is one of the most terrifying things for me. I need a sounding board, I need to vocalize my thoughts. I can't be alone and journal to come to a conclusion. I am terrible at it.

One week before we found out we were pregnant, my coworkers and I went to a one-day retreat called The Soul Care Project. In one of the 'meditate/spend time listening to God' exercises, I had a vivid picture of God asking me to let go of control. If I let go of my perfect timing, God would plant the seed inside of me (my baby). This was month 4 of trying to conceive and it was a very hard and emotional time for me. I was being stripped of control and my timeline. It was in that moment that I chose to trust God to plant and nurture the life in me. And that was the month we conceived. That spiritual, intimate experience was the start of this journey I am currently on.

Pregnancy is a very spiritual season. It is the first time where I have been able to internally process my thoughts and emotions. It is something that only I can experience for myself. I don't think you can really understand pregnancy until you have experienced it personally. I have felt every emotion under the sun these last 20 weeks. I've been utterly happy, incredibly overwhelmed, slightly anxious, exhausted more than ever, ready to meet my daughter and yet I don't want it to end - quite a roller coaster. It's hard to put into words, but as life physically grows inside of me, I am now grasping the idea that I am the dwelling place of the presence of God. This theme has been so important to me - Immauel - God with us. The power of God lives in me. That is huge, that is a big deal. And it changes the way I look at others, too. I start to see them as image-bearers and dwelling places of God as well.

It allows me to find God in everything, the good, the beautiful and the blessings in my life. So with yoga when we silence our minds and focus on the divine within - I have never felt so close to God. And I love the greeting namaste:"The divine (or spirit) in me acknowledges the divine in you." If only we saw people and greeted people with this idea - that we are connected because Christ is in us. It's a beautiful thing. And focusing on breathing is so powerful, too. There is something so significant about breathing. I love that in Hebrew 'spirit' is the word Ruah which also means 'breath' and 'wind'. It is the tangible acknowledgement of God with us. Not only is it a reminder but it is our source of life.

And of course touching my belly, my baby's home, connects me to my daughter. We do a lot of exercises in yoga where we focus on the life in us. I also spend 20 minutes every morning sitting in the nursery connecting with God and my baby. I don't want to just get caught up in what type of reusable diaper and swaddling blanket to register for (although still important and fun to research). I want to focus on this spiritual experience. I want to pray over my baby, speak truth and love over her and connect with her even in-utero. I feel like I am learning more about myself on a new, deeper level. I treasure those quiet moments and intimacy I experience with God when I learn to still myself and listen. I am so grateful for this journey and all I am learning.
Post Yoga work-out
I have loved reading all of these books and using my beautiful journal (thank you Corrine!) these last few weeks. 

I topped the week off by hanging out with my coworkers and their families.
Lovely ice cream at Jenis - which I enjoy 20x more with a sweet tooth ;)
My coworker, Chrystal, is due the exact same day as me. Unintentionally, we dressed the same for a comfortable picnic at the park. Seriously, maxi skirts are the way to go during pregnancy!!

I love spending time with everyone's families and chasing chickens around the yard ;)
And to top off my weekend, I got to see my best friend! Natalie was living in New Zealand for the last year and just moved back. It was the most wonderful thing seeing her again!
Here's to another great week ahead.


  1. Oh, Merrill, what beautiful words! When I got pregnant with Simon, I was working in college ministry. So much of my life was about working for Jesus or with Him. Carrying Simon in utero was one of my first and most profound experiences of God working *through* me. I had a strong sense of Him doing the all the work, which was simultaneously scary (ours was a surprise pregnancy!) and reassuring. I was pregnant at Christmastime, and I spent much of the season feeling weepy thinking about the pregnancy of Mary, the whole world waiting...
    You've definitely inspired me to try prenatal yoga, since I'm now 13 weeks pregnant with my second. Being pregnant with a one-yr-old underfoot has been different - with the amount of time I spend chasing him around, mothering has felt more physical than spiritual lately.
    I guess I should probably introduce myself - Ethan Bennot referred me to your Facebook page for wedding inspiring when we got married 2.5 years ago, and I've followed your blog since then. I'm the Pacific Northwest lurker on your Google analytics. :-) I also went to high school with Jonathan Moody, so I'm excited that you and Becca get to do this together.
    P.S. I love Genevieve Lark, but I've also thought that Ruah would be a lovely and meaningful name for a daughter.

    1. Michael and I contemplated Ruah somewhere in the name ;)

      Yes! I know you! At least I've heard all about you through Ethan and I grew up with Jason and Michelle. Small world it is! Congratulations on your second one. Can't wait to join you in the motherhood club :)

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