I am now officially eight months pregnant.
I have to tell you, being pregnant is not one of my favorite activities. The beginning is a lot of queasinesss and/or throwing up, the end is a lot of uncomfortableness because the baby is so big. The middle is usually pretty good for me, but this time was exhausting, though I’m not really sure why (maybe having something to do with the five other kids??). I am, however, very much looking forward to meeting our new little man, and really can’t wait for those fun ‘babymoon’ days of cuddling a sleepy baby while using post-partum recovery as an excuse to lie in bed all day and let the big kids fend for themselves.
However, I was recently very convicted about my attitude toward pregnancy. An acquaintance said to me, “How are you feeling?” I replied with, “All right,” to which he responded, “Well, about as good as you can feel with an alien invading your body, right?” I laughed and agreed.
Later that night, it hit me. If I think of my growing baby as an alien invasion, I’m embodying all of the reasons women don’t want to have children. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts. It’s tiring. It changes your body in ways that will never be fixed. My sweet baby is an inconvenience in my life instead of a blessing.
What’s interesting is that my attitude toward my last pregnancy was exactly the opposite. Carrying a special needs baby who was not guaranteed to survive, I was very clear on what my role was in her life: I was her protector and guardian. While I could not predict what would happen once she was born, as long as she was unborn, my body was giving her the ability to live, and I was fiercely protective of her. I would lie in bed in the evenings and feel her kick, knowing that the moments I had in the here-and-now with her were precious. She was still alive and safe, and I could provide that for her for the time being. I was happy to sacrifice my daily comfort for her safety. There were no thoughts of alien invasion, only thoughts of wishing I could keep her safe longer.
Why should I not consider this pregnancy in the same way? Just because my baby is normal, or appears that way to the ultrasound tech, do I have a false sense of security about his safety, and am therefore justified at being annoyed that he is an uncomfortable inconvenience?
I shouldn’t be. It is my joy to sacrifice my body and my comfort for another person, especially my own baby. I have been called to love him more than I love myself, and be happy to lay my life down for his. In my case, that means the aching sides, the swollen ankles, and the insomniac nights. It is one little tiny way that I can emulate Christ.
I try to think of one of my roles in my kids’ lives is to provide them with a loving, nurturing environment to grow up in. It is the same for baby J. He is not invading. I am helping him grow in a loving, nurturing environment, and will happily sacrifice my own bodily comfort for the joy of giving him that. So the next time you hear me complaining about my sides aching, or about how ready to be done I am, remind me! I am protecting him and nourishing him, and need to continue doing so with a joyful attitude until he is ready to face the world.