Last week I was walking out of a store and I held the door open for the woman behind me. She happened to be a woman that I recognized from church. Smiling she said, “Thank you so much! Here you are helping me and you are the one that is pregnant! Can I carry something for you?” Nothing wrong with that statement except for the fact that I am NOT pregnant! I am embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t very gracious. I just kept walking and said, “You are welcome! And I am NOT pregnant.” It was an extremely awkward minute as we both continued walking to our cars. (Of course she was parked right beside me.) In a very strained voice she said,”You have a good rest of the afternoon!” as I escaped into my van. I admit it, I was mad and upset. I said a few not very nice things to my husband. He tried to soothe me by patting my hand and smiling at me and (intelligently) didn’t say anything. It was my vanity and pride that was hurt, nothing else. She obviously didn’t mean it to be offensive. She was trying to be kind to an expectant mother. The only problem was that I wasn’t expectant, certainly not expecting her to think that I was pregnant, anyway. After pouting and feeling sad for myself for a few days, I gave it some more thought and realized that I had probably over-reacted. (Those of you that know me are shocked I am sure! Can you believe that I would over-react!?!?) In her defense, the dress that I had on was one with an empire waist and it was pretty loose around the belly area. Given the fact that in the past 12 years I have been pregnant for 4 1/2 years averaging a baby every 2 years or so and Jonathan (our current baby) is pushing 18 months, the odds were in her favor. I also have to admit that my body has changed with each pregnancy. With the first couple of babies, everything seemed to bounce back to where it should be ( ok…maybe ALMOST where it should be) pretty quickly. But I have to say, the older I have gotten and the more babies this body of mine has housed, things haven’t bounced back as quickly and they certainly haven’t landed where they were supposed to. My body has shifted and softened with each pregnancy and birth. Motherhood has changed me. I like to think that my priorities have shifted along with my waistline. No longer can I care only about what I want to do or what is best for me. My focus has shifted to thinking about what is the best for my family, for my kids. Pregnancy and motherhood have taught me about sacrifice. Being one of the lucky ladies that can’t keep anything down for the first three months and battles heartburn for the last three months of pregnancy, I have sacrificed many of my favorite foods. I have sacrificed fun outings due to the complete exhaustion that comes along with growing a tiny human inside of you. I have sacrificed alone time and date nights with my hubby.(And by alone time, I mean the ability to go to the bathroom or shower without an audience.) I have sacrificed time and gasoline driving kids to numerous sports practices and games. Sacrifice…sacrifice and parenting go hand in hand. I like to think that I have softened, and not just my belly. When the doctor places that new baby in my arms, my heart just melts a little bit. After giving birth 6 times and adding three more kids for good measure, you can imagine that my heart is pretty much a puddle of soften mush. I am not saying that I am a big pushover. Just ask my kids that if you want to hear them laugh. I expect a lot from my kids. They are expected to follow the rules and listen to their dad and I. We expect our kids to be respectful and helpful. The difference is that since becoming a mother, I realize that the respect and obedience that we expect from our kids is coming from a place of love, a place of softening, if you will. Because we expect these things to be given to us, we open ourselves up for disappointment, for hurt…but the softening also allows for indescribable pride and love for our children. Being a mother has softened my heart. I am capable of loving in an unconditional way that only comes from the grace of God alone. So while I may have been upset that I was mistaken for a pregnant woman, I am thankful that I have had the privilege of having an expectant heart.