In the first few weeks of pregnancy, my energy levels dropped majorly. I literally lacked the gusto to fight back or argue with Carlos about anything. Cleaning tired me out. Additionally, I now had to depend on Carlos to do many things I normally did, like cooking and grocery shopping, because my nausea was bad. The same nausea also prevented me from going anywhere near the sink, so washing dishes was also out of the question.
Feeling quite helpless, I began to think about what I could do. I could still say thank you for the food he cooked, even when he forgot about my onion aversion and added it to the ground beef. I could still text him saying to have a good day at work. I could still hug him good-bye and kiss him when he got home and ask him to tell me about his day. I could still encourage him to go out with his friends sometimes, so at least one of us could be enjoying ourselves. And on the days when I did have a rare burst of energy, I could clean and even manage to cook a few things (with no onions, of course) because I wanted to give him a little bit of a break.
And one day, two or three months into the pregnancy, Carlos confessed: “You’ve been a lot nicer to me since you’ve gotten pregnant.”
At first I felt triumphant that pregnancy hormones hadn’t gotten the best of me. And then I just felt bad, because, honestly, how had I been treating him before?
Just a little bit of self-examination and asking Carlos for his opinion revealed that I had previously manipulated, pouted when I didn’t get my way, blamed instead of asking for forgiveness, and was more concerned with being right than being humble. I don’t think I knew how to practically love Carlos, either. I didn’t know what to do or say to make him happy.
It’s amazing what happened when pregnancy forced me to unclench my fists, surrender control, and say, “This is all I have to offer you right now, Carlos. It’s not much, but it’s everything I have. Please take it.” And he did.
A few weeks after Carlos’ startling confession, I realized that not only was it true that I was being nicer, but Carlos was doing things differently, too. He was texting me on the way home from work, asking if anything sounded good for dinner. He was tucking me in bed and bringing me water when, at 8 or 9 every night, I had heartburn so bad that I couldn’t focus on anything else. He elected, multiple times, to stay in with sick me instead of going out, and even seemed to be enjoying it. Every time I felt nauseous or dizzy, he would hug me against his chest.
What in the world was going on?
Love, that’s what. Love had finally made its way into our house. Whatever was there before-hints of love mixed with bitterness, resentment, anger-wasn’t uplifting for either of us. And every time we are tempted in the future-because it will happen- to go back to that old way of “living,” I am going to fight against it. Now I know that fighting means unclenching my fists and humbly telling my husband, “This is all I have to offer you right now. It’s not much much, but it’s everything I have. Please take it.”