Pregnancy and the Fear of Losing Myself

One hot morning last summer, Matt and I had just gotten home from spending two weeks working a camp in Louisiana and were frantically unpacking and repacking for a month-long road trip to California, with only one day’s rest between the two.

For the past year and a half, we had been living in a 1976 Airstream travel-trailer on our friends’ 40-acre homestead, and it suited our simple lifestyle. Matt is a musician by trade and drove school buses during the year to supplement a less-than-stable salary; I have been working towards my journalism degree and picking up videography gigs here and there.

But on that humid July morning, groggy-eyed and sleep deprived, our adventurous little life was shaken by two faint pink lines. I was pregnant.

The starving artist lifestyle seems doable for two young people living off of love and Trader Joe’s mac & cheese. But add another little life to the mix, and things begin to feel very small and held together by duct tape and other various choking hazards.

Suddenly, nothing feels secure—like a handful of balloons that cannot withstand the current of wind, I found myself grasping at any form of stability or control long after those balloons had disappeared into the horizon.

Matt and I wondered if it was still possible to live this life to which we felt so deeply called while providing a stable environment for our future son. We knew compromises would have to be made—but to what end? I would give up the world for this tiny little person who already has my heart, but what if God wasn’t asking us to? What if He has other plans?

I am constantly asking myself, “What does God expect of me, of us, in this season?” Yet I fear losing myself in all the worst ways. I fear sacrificing a beautiful life for a safe one. I fear giving up on a million dreams and losing my sense of wonder to a permanent state of exhaustion and spit-up-stained yoga pants. And I fear losing that special space that only Matt and I shared for three years. How’s that for raw honesty?

I wish I could say we figured “it” out—how to balance dreams and passions and give this new little person all that he deserves. And maybe it’s simpler than it seems. For Matt and me, setting aside our passion for a 9-5 wasn’t the answer. (There is nothing wrong with day jobs and cubicles, but Matt and I knew that was not what we were called to.)

What we did know was that we needed to make room in our little two-seater lives. For us, that meant getting creative. It meant putting our ears to the ground and listening for the heartbeat of God. Setting aside passions and goals was not an option—but could we search deeper and find new dreams?

Matt has always had a heart for teaching and a love for knowledge, so the idea of him getting his teaching certificate was enthralling. Teaching would give him summers off to continue pursuing music and taking family road trips, while still putting food on the table. In fact, Matt was able to record an entire album over the Christmas break.

As for me, I am still working towards my journalism degree and, in the meantime, will continue to write and create from home. In some ways it feels like everything is changing, and it’s scary and exhilarating. But in other ways I can look in the mirror and see that same face staring back, with a slightly rounder middle, and a bigger drive than ever.

Together, we exhale in anticipation of all this new season holds, trusting in the God who works all things together for our good.

Our son may not grow up in the most traditional of circumstances, but by God’s grace, he will experience the world. He will grow up believing he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. And He will be inexpressibly and unconditionally loved.

Alyssa Bell is a 23 year old wife and mother-to-be. Currently working towards her degree in Photo-journalism, she graduated from a 2-year film internship in East Texas. With a passion for ministry, community, and simplicity, Alyssa and her husband have spent the past two years living in a refurbished 1976 airstream on their best friend’s 40 acre homestead. A photographer/videographer by trade, you can follow her blog at alyssajbell.com.

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