Just shy of five and a half years ago and in the midst of my first pregnancy, I felt a little nudge in the direction of a personal challenge. With no little ones in tow at the time and plenty of days stretched out before me to prepare for baby, I decided to attempt writing daily for the last 100 days of my pregnancy countdown. I was fully aware that God and nature might dictate more or fewer days before we would welcome our sweet babe, but 100 was a tangible number for me and a way of quantifying the waiting and time as it passed. I didn’t know how the project might evolve, nor that it would end up being a great blessing to me as a mama looking back someday. All I knew is that I was up for something, and 100 days seemed about right.
Days went by, and some were robust and beautiful while others pushed me to new limits and into new territory. I never would have remembered so many of the finite details of that sweet, growing season had I not been jotting it all down. Why I made it public, I’m not sure, but it stuck, and the end result was what I hope will always be a wonderful story for our firstborn, Henry, and a walk down memory lane for my mama heart. As others came along for the ride–reading, commenting, interacting when we met face to face, the village around me felt so tangible, and my awareness of being surrounded was great.
In this way, 100 days became a vessel of community, connection, openness and honesty that I craved. I loved the process so much that I repeated it with our second born, finding it just as cathartic and helpful and heart-driven the second time around.
It’s true of me that I like a little bit of a challenge from time to time, so I’m grateful to the handful of folks who expressed their doubt that I could see my first 100 days project through. While Henry arrived six days before my official due date estimate, the momentum of the first 94 days held me accountable all the way into active labor–a sweet, sweet memory and a hilarious story of me blogging through contractions, which Jason tells best. From start to finish, I loved the process for what it did in me and around me as God prepared my heart for motherhood that first time.
In retrospect, I’m also grateful to those who were certain I would never repeat the challenge for a second child. You know, unfinished baby books and the thousands more photos you have of your first born versus the second and so on. Doubt gave me great fuel for an already determined fire, so when we were expecting Eloise in 2013, I began a 100 days project for her, too. I’m so glad I did.
Tonight, on the second longest day of the year and after a handful of challenging days and weeks, I find myself again on the eve of another 100 days. It’s been on the calendar for some time now, but my anticipation of it is peaking just before I turn the page.
Another 100 days means far more to me than a personal challenge or a public one. Each time, but especially now, it translates into a season of expectation–this one following a more difficult season of wondering, waiting and doubt. These next 100 days (give or take) equal a million answered prayers and the very definite call I’ve sensed to mother again…every dream and heartache and hope and fear welling up and being turned over for joy in the form of a dancing babe within.
This pregnancy has not been easy for so many reasons, some of which I’ll undoubtedly unpack here in the days to come. And it hasn’t been without my constant need to die to self and to acknowledge that I’m not in control. I don’t take a single day of this baby’s life for granted. Not one. Perhaps, for me, that’s part of why this process of counting the days feels so personal and important and sweet.
This time around I feel a little more seasoned in some things and still very green in others. The call to vulnerability and trust is new with each pregnancy for different reasons. So, here we go again, foraging new territory in a practice that has become refreshingly familiar. I can’t say how delighted I am to have arrived at the edge of another countdown, nor how full my heart is that we can be here, journeying through the big and the small things in life, together.
For as long as the little bean will stay tucked away safely as he or she grows, I’ll be here.
with joyful expectation,