Pregnant, and Far from Home

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but ever since I found out I was pregnant it’s been difficult to write. Not because I’ve been super busy — I’ve been the same amount of busy — but my brain has struggled to take my emotions and put them into concrete words. I’d hoped I would be one of those women who naturally share countless stories and pictures from their pregnancy, but it’s felt like swimming against the tide.

However, today marks ONE MONTH until Baby Lucchi is due, and I finally feel like I’ve stored up enough words to sew together into a coherent post.

Ten years ago, I could clearly picture what starting a family would be like. I’d have a loving Christian husband, a big house for us to grow into located close to my family (preferably in or near the countryside), our own accumulated library of novels and homeschooling books, and a nursery all prepared for the little sprout’s arrival. Even five years ago I hadn’t given up on this dream, though I could see my life starting to take a different turn, and had started downsizing my belongings in preparation for God’s call.

And now? Well, I do have the loving Christian husband, and for this I am super grateful, but everything else is different. We live in an apartment, in the city, in Europe, far far far from my family. We do have books, but so far they’re squeezed onto only one bookcase. Not quite the library I’d envisioned. We don’t have space for one of those gorgeous Pinterest nurseries, but we’ve managed to squeeze baby’s crib into our bedroom and set up a changing station in the living room. Small apartments are a great training ground for maximizing space.

Do I consider myself to have lost something by choosing to start a family of my own on the mission field? Yes, I do. I lost the sense of security that comes from watching your life play out the way you’d planned. I missed the opportunity to spend my pregnancy with my family, to laugh together over my growing belly, to go “baby shopping” with them, and to have them all be around after the birth. I also gave up the security of my own culture, like shopping at big box baby stores in a language I understand, never having to wonder whether my doctor could speak English, or ever considering whether I have what it takes to raise a bilingual, cross-cultural child.

Perhaps that sounds strange, even silly. But it’s honest. Sometimes the knowledge of what I’ve lost keeps me awake at night.

The silver lining? Where I see loss, I also see gain, for myself, and for my child. In choosing to set aside my security and plans, I’ve found a life of risk, of adventure, a new piece of God’s heart and a new side of His character that I would never have known otherwise. And because I’ve experienced it, I’ll be able to pass this knowledge on to my child someday. In surrendering my close proximity to my family, I’ve gained new friends and brothers and sisters. My child now has such a host of uncles and aunts that I wonder how she’ll ever keep them all straight, or keep from getting spoiled. 😉

Perhaps I didn’t experience the convenience of having all my needs met by Wal-Mart’s baby aisle, but we still have all we need for baby, and more! Despite my fretting, we’ve never gone to a doctor who doesn’t know at least a little English. And though the jury is still out on what kind of cross-cultural parent I’ll make, well, there’s definitely some wisdom in letting tomorrow worry about itself.

The Christmas story this year had special significance for me. After a rocky start involving angels and a virgin pregnancy, Mary was all settled in, her “nesting” phase complete, the nursery ready, her family all at hand for the big day … and then the census occurred. Who wants to ride a donkey all the way to Bethlehem during their third trimester? Imagine it, sitting there, your belly bulging painfully, your body aching with every jolt of the donkey, and your bladder throbbing with no rest stop in sight. Did Joseph ever complain about how many times they had to halt so she could find an available bush? And when they did reach Bethlehem there was no available room at either hospital or hotel. Her birthing room became a stable with a pile of blankets and hay. No proud family members were there to take pictures, and the carefully prepared nursery was far away.

Yet after her baby came screaming into the world, miracles started to happen, stories she would always treasure.

I’m sitting writing this on my comfy couch in my comfy apartment. There’s food almost ready in the crockpot, the cold winter weather is kept at bay by solid walls and windows, and everything a newborn could possibly need (like diapers diapers diapers) is close at hand. My unborn baby is happily kicking my rib cage, probably wondering why I’m so quiet and and still and where her noisy, exciting father has gone. (He’s at work, but we’ve noticed in the last week or two that she often gets very active when she hears his voice. Daddy is apparently the fun one in the family. 😉 )

Pregnancy may not be what I expected it to be. It may not be what I had planned. But when I feel those little feet pushing against me and see the odd bulging of my stomach, I know that this pregnancy has been more amazing then I could ever have hoped for.

Maybe, soon enough, I’ll have some miracle stories of my own to tell, and to treasure.