When this baby is born,
I will have had 6 babies in 11 years.
Such a pattern has a natural result in that when a new baby is announced, it typically isn't met with the same enthusiasm that came with the first or second.
Not that I blame anyone...when we have a new baby every two years or so, it hardly seems novel by the 5th or 6th time.
But still...pregnancy is just as difficult, the thought of a new addition to our family is just as exciting to me, and I still spend sleepless nights wondering what he/she will look like and what kind of personality will be joining our family.
Our lives are still changed profoundly, but it just isn't typically acknowledged in quite the same way.
That's just fine,
but it makes me extra appreciative when someone goes the extra mile to celebrate with me.
Early on in this pregnancy, we attended a Young Women's fundraiser dinner at church.
I'd been feeling really lousy that day, but I had committed to bring a cake for them to auction off, so I spent much of the day making an elaborate cake. By the time we got to the dinner, I felt like I was about to fall over, but I tried to put a happy face on and muscle through.
The next day, my friend sent me the following text:
"Hi Kaitlyn, you seemed kinda down yesterday. Is everything ok? Do you need help with anything?"
I was surprised by how perceptive she was. She didn't know I was pregnant yet and our conversation had only lasted a couple of minutes the night before. I thought I had put on a pretty good show of enthusiasm. I explained that I was newly pregnant and was doing ok but just trying to stay upright.
"Oh Kaitlyn, congratulations my dear!!! I got chills. And maybe even a tear in my eye haha. How are you feeling? How can I help? What can you eat? What can you tolerate smelling? Do you have any restrictions?"
We exchanged a few more text messages, and before long she had walked several blocks to my house and left a bag of pregnancy nausea-friendly snacks on my doorstep, including a bag of special morning sickness hard candies. She did all of this while she, too, was about 18 weeks along in her own pregnancy!
She first observed my unusual behavior, she followed through on her observation by checking in with me, and then when I explained she took it upon herself to find a way she could serve me.
That sequence was very inspiring and motivating to me.
And then, when I let her know we were having a girl, she replied:
"Yay!!! Oh, I'm in tears and chills and I'm so elated for you! Congratulations Kaitlyn! Who is going to throw your baby shower?? I'd love to help!"
Her kind words meant the world to me, especially in a time of such isolation.
The day after I shared on Facebook that we were having a girl, there was a knock at the door.
Some cute neighbor kids were standing on the doorstep with a gift bag and a cookie box to deliver to me! I visited with them for a minute or two and then followed them out to their car where I chatted with their mom. We don't know each other that well (our interactions have mainly been related to our kids), but she was still the first to appear with a new baby girl outfit along with a super fun cookie-decorating kit for the boys that even had a pink and white box to coordinate! I was so touched that she would go to such effort to congratulate us and share in our excitement. Somehow, holding a baby girl outfit made it all seem so much more real and my excitement level shot up!
Her actions motivated me to do a similar thing when another friend announced the gender of her baby last week.
These simple kindnesses have stood out in my mind even more during this weird time in the world.
I am not a particularly social person, but it has been harder than I expected to be away from everyone for so long. There is lasting connection that is formed when we are aware of each other's daily lives and find little ways to help. Serving and being served help us feel Heavenly Father's love, and it has been harder to do both of those over the past few months.
Thank you to these sweet friends for your observations and compassionate responses!