As with most couples, my wife and I have certain sayings and expressions that are embedded into our daily routine. Drive safely. Have a good day. Be safe. Hey babe. Hey babe? Sweet dreams. I love you. You get the point. However, my favorite phrase is one that has taken on more meaning and significance now that my wife is pregnant. It’s the phrase I love you more. It’s a phrase that I started saying to my wife when we first fell in love. When I say it I mean that I love her more today than yesterday and I love her more than I ever thought I could. Cheesy? Perhaps. But the message is sincere and it’s a blessing to be able to fall deeper in love with my best friend as our marriage grows. The added significance of that phrase could easily be linked to the pregnancy. More accurately, the pregnancy has provided me a new lens through which I see my wife. I see her in ways I’ve never seen before and it simply yet emphatically makes me love her more than I ever thought I could.
My wife has gracefully navigated the predictable obstacles and the unexpected turbulence throughout this pregnancy and I couldn’t be prouder. I watched her battle the flu with sheer determination because all the best meds are not on the baby’s safe list. I learned how “morning sickness” actually means “all day” sickness and it sucks as bad as I thought. She experiences sudden tiredness, extreme fatigue, and daily soreness. There are specific cravings for Firehouse subs and Waffle House, but mostly for ketchup. The opposite is also true with strange food aversions, even if it’s only the smell of something trapped in my beard (apparently). Most of her clothing is no longer comfortable, her sleeping patterns have changed, and the baby appears to be using her bladder as a trampoline. My respect for moms and moms-to-be has grown exponentially! It is obvious that the arrival of a baby changes a family, but the baby changes a mom’s life long before that moment.
I readily admit that I could never handle all of these pregnancy symptoms and changes with the grace and beauty that my wife does. In addition to sacrificing her own body and lifestyle, the invasive doctor’s appointments constantly put her in vulnerable positions. I’ve seen my wife strip down to a hospital gown at least five times in the past two months. I know she is uncomfortable each time, so in those moments I can’t help but love her more. I cringe each time she has to give blood or talk about platelet treatments, but then I love her a little more. When the nurse asks her to step on the scale I remind her that she is beautiful and I love her. Then, as she hesitantly steps on the scale with a sigh of surrender, I love her more. When the technician shows the ultrasound on the monitor and I can see the baby, it is indescribably amazing! But then I look over at my wife’s situation with the poking, prodding, and cold jelly and I can’t help but love her more. I am constantly reminded that the most vulnerable moments create the biggest opportunities for our love to grow. Life is full of vulnerable moments, but I’m learning quickly that pregnancies are predicated on them!
Witnessing the miracle of a human growing inside of another human being is mind blowing. Granted, my view of the process is likely more up close and personal than most because my wife is a sonographer who performs ultrasounds for a living. In other words, I have been able to watch our baby on the ultrasound monitor at home like I’m watching a reality TV show. It might only be a few times a week, but for the past 17 weeks it’s been my favorite show. However, it’s not the best thing I’ve seen. The best thing I’ve seen is my wife’s amazing ability to embrace the vulnerability. It takes courage because vulnerability involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. My wife’s courage through this season of our lives is inspiring and undeniably attractive! That’s why it’s never been easier and it’s never been clearer…I love her more.