Karen Rouggly has curly red hair that never seems to want to tame itself. She enjoys nerdy things like reading, writing, and crafting, and can get sucked into a good TV show at a moments notice. She holds a degree in Theatre, which she tries to use on a regular basis. She also has completed a Masters Degree in Intercultural Studies. Karen, her husband, her cat, her housemate, and soon to be her child, occupy a small slice of land in Azusa that they eventually want to get around to cultivating, but right now just produces weeds. She works at Azusa Pacific University, watching students grow and change and allowing herself to be changed in return.
The topic of growth in change could not be more apt for the time of life I am in now. I am literally growing and changing everyday. I feel like every morning I wake up, I am a different person than I was when I went to sleep the night before. My body has changed and adapted…and most likely, grown to accommodate the life that is growing and changing within it. I am 34 weeks pregnant.
My season of growth and change started much earlier than 34 weeks ago though. It started 29 years ago when I was violently brought into this world myself. My own time in the womb was tumultuous, filled with drugs, alcohol and God only knows what else. In fact, it’s a good thing that only God knows what else, and our memories cannot take us back that far. But since that day, I’ve been fighting for growth apart from my own mother and longing to change my “humble” beginnings. So when I married Seth six and a half years ago, I knew I wanted to have kids, but I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey for me. I wasn’t sure I had really grown away from who my mother had tried to make me. Granted, I should say that I did have a wonderful and supportive childhood through the selfless care of my Aunt and Grandmother, but not even they could undo the scars that mothers place upon their children. So if I couldn’t change those wounds into something else, how could I protect my own child from my own infections?
I tried to put off the desire for kids for as long as I could. Seth and I got married young, so we had that excuse. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, except travel, so how could I bring a kid into that world? Then once I figured out what it is I wanted to do – I needed a Master’s degree to go with it, so I delayed childbearing just a little more. And all the while I was trying to psych myself up for this whole “mothering” thing. I could see that my sweet husband was wanting to test out the “fathering” side of life though. He wasn’t vocal about it; he knew that I needed my time. But the more I saw him, the deeper our marriage grew – I knew he wanted a child of our own to love and cherish. I mean really, a cat can only give so much.
As my heart began to soften towards him, oddly enough, my heart began to soften towards myself. I knew the time for growth had come, and it was time to bring some change into our lives that impacted us so we would never be the same. It was time for kids.
This time, I was determined to do the right thing for me and our baby. I’d decided that all things can be reconciled and I’ve done my best to model for myself, my husband, my baby, and my mother that pregnancy can be a healthy thing. I’ve taken all the right classes, taken all the right vitamins, and registered for all the right things. On the outside – this pregnancy is great! I’m getting larger by the day, and as I think about 6 weeks to go…I feel…freaked out. Even through all these great decisions, I didn’t feel like much had changed within me. I still doubted my ability to be a good mother (especially if we have a girl – how can I mother a girl and not scar her for life?!?!). I’ve doubted my body’s ability to bring a child into this world (that has to fit through that?!?!). And more than once, I’ve doubted that we’re really ready for this (cloth diapers are how much and I have to wash them how often?!?!).
But I had an epiphany a couple of weeks ago driving home from our birthing class. Seth was having one of his rare moments of doubt, and what immediately popped into my head was the reassurance of “Our baby’s birth day is just ONE day in their life. It has no bearing on what type of parents we are going to be – no bearing on how well we will raise this child.” It was in that moment that I realized that my own birth day, however crazy it was, had no bearing on my life. No judgment on how I raise my children. No factoring into my skill as a mother. And most importantly no ability to hold me back anymore.