I will probably always treasure this piece. A certain sweetness and innocence about it are so charming to me. On the timeline of my drawings, it is a more recent one, which I drew during this pregnancy to, in a sense, commemorate the addition of our third child – and an element of our family's experience during this pregnancy.

What I maybe like even as much as the drawing itself is the title – "Filled with Wonder." As with the similar piece "Expectations," the title encompasses much more than just the initial or most obvious interpretation. Who is filled with wonder? Well…we all are, and in different ways.

You look at the children in this piece, both of them obviously enamored with what is changing about their mother's belly: What is happening here? What is in Mommy's tummy? My oldest, almost four years old now, understands better this time than she did when I was pregnant with our second, two years ago. She seems to know what I mean when I tell her there is a baby in my belly, that she will soon have another sister, that there is really a life growing within me. I did have to explain that not everyone with a large belly has a baby in their tummy. (Grandpa George took it pretty well.)

And then there was the first time she put her hand on my moving belly. I felt the baby kicking around, so I invited her to place her hand in a spot where I was sure she would feel something. Sure enough, right against her hand the baby shifted very noticeably, and the look on her face was priceless! Her eyes brightened, her smile broadened, and she gasped excitedly, "I feel the baby!!" Filled with wonder, indeed.

Of course, she wasn't always as interested in feeling the baby's kicks as she was in that first moment. Perhaps she thought it was a bit weird or simply preferred I give her my attention in that moment instead of giving it to our invisible tummy-baby. But that's okay. She's not the only one who has been filled with wonder.

I have been. You'd think after two previous pregnancies, this one might be less intriguing in some way. And maybe in some ways it is. I am, unfortunately, not as exceptionally vigilant about my nutritional needs (or my coffee intake) as I was with our first. I haven't been reading all the books about "what to expect" during pregnancy and haven't clicked as many of the links in my weekly pregnancy email updates. I haven't taken a pregnancy photo every week without fail. But I have enjoyed, maybe even more than the first time, feeling our little one swim around, pushing against the confines of my belly with an elbow or a knee, wiggling those growing hands or feet. I've imagined meeting her for the first time, perhaps with a bit clearer imagination, having now experienced those meetings twice before. I've also wondered how our two daughters will react to her as a newborn, how they will interact with her, how they will adjust, how they will befriend her and take care of her.

And it's not just that I'm filled with wonder in the sense of my own emotional response. I'm truly filled with something wondrous and wonderful. Within my own body is a tiny human being, a wonder of life, a real child with totally unknown potential.

This actually reminds me of a poetic passage from the Bible, in verses 13–16 of Psalm 139, which say, "For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body."

It's funny that although I can't see my child growing inside me (only my growing belly!), God can. He can watch, from start to finish, all those little details as they develop – as her heart is formed and actually begins to beat, as her tiny fingernails begin to grow, as her eyebrows get their first fine hairs.... A human being, wonderfully made!

Whenever I stop to think about it (which, to be honest, as a mother of two isn't as often as I'd like), I'm filled with wonder at the wondrous being growing inside me. And she's almost ready for us to meet her. My due date is, from the day I'm writing this blog, a little more than four weeks away. The aches and pains of this trimester keep me from walking quickly or sleeping soundly, but it's only for a few more weeks! Soon, God willing, our hearts will be filled with the new wonder of meeting our third child face to tiny face.

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In my decision to start blogging about my art (and the emotions of my life in general), it seemed appropriate that I would write about this drawing first. Though I drew this piece nearly five years ago, for my first pregnancy, many of the same emotions fill my heart today as they did then. Even as I type these words, I carry in my belly our third child, currently wriggling and squirming quite visibly, and mere weeks from joining our family.

While I've since created a half dozen drawings about being a family, my first piece about actual parenthood, "Expectations," kind of caught me off guard. I was just a few weeks pregnant with our first daughter, Natasha, when I felt inspired to put my pen to paper and try to capture, in some way, the unique experience of carrying a child within my body. As with so many of my drawings, it felt somehow easier to draw this mysterious experience than to write it out in words. And as I drew, I began to recognize within my heart some of the many layers of emotions that had already gathered in those early weeks of pregnancy.

Initially, I was going to name the piece "Mother," but that seemed rather drab and cliche, and it didn't capture any of the depth of this particular mother's heart. So, I named it "Expectations." Yes, she is "expecting," as we like to say of a pregnant woman, but the deeper expectations – those filling her mind and soul – overflow, even overwhelm her. When I look at her, I see so much she might be expressing: tenderness, awe, anticipation, hope... A new mother is filled with so much beauty!

But I also see emotions less discussed, perhaps even less "acceptable" though sincere just the same. Many, many mothers (including me), while filled with a new life, are also filled with fear, uncertainty, even sorrow for personal freedoms now lost. There are so many unknowns, challenges, and sacrifices that lie ahead.

I didn't know it when I drew her, but just creating this art was part of my own preparation for birth, helping me to acknowledge and face both the joyous and the not-so-joyous emotions that now welled up within me.

And though I've been pregnant twice before, the expectations filling my mind and heart now include all these and others. After experiencing motherhood for the past four years, I have clearer ideas of what to expect. Of our baby. Of myself. Of my husband. But there are still untold storylines ahead of us. I will love and give in larger measures. I will be pushed to new limits. I will continue to learn and grow in unpredictable ways, even as those around me do the same.

Until each of those days comes into view, I expect that this child, like our first two, will change me – and all of us – in ways I cannot yet fathom.

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