I had started dinner just before my husband arrived home from work. Squatting down to get a glass casserole out from under a cabinet, I felt it. Mistaking it for a kick or a poke from the inside from my child, I placed my hand gently against my lower abdomen. The pressure neither subsided nor felt like a poke. I realized what this was. I am not sure if the pressure came from a head or foot, but some appendage of my unborn child was pushing against my side.
When I first announced my pregnancy, many people told me how much they despised being pregnant. These people said they could not see the beauty other women saw in the nine months of what they compared to torture. I’ve heard this attitude constantly, even while growing up. For this reason, I could not understand why my mother said the best times of her life were when she was expecting one of us six children. Pregnancy had been made as this uncomfortable, painful nine months that one endured for the sake of a child.
I now understand my mother. I don’t know how people can despise being pregnant. I have never felt so fulfilled as a woman, never experienced such a culmination of what I was designed to do. I am truly living out the vocation I committed myself to. I promised, four short months ago, to lay down my life in every way possible for my husband and our children. My body is no longer my own, my abdomen no longer the sleek figure I worked so hard for prior to my Wedding. But, I am growing a human life.
For years, I have struggled to grow close to Mary, mother of God. Meditations and prayers, readings and Scripture study left me at a barrier. Frustrated, I continued to try. As an expectant mother, I finally understand the identity and beauty behind Mary. I understand and can relate to “pondering it in her heart.” Nothing has ever filled me with greater joy than carrying a human life that my husband, my God, and I made. This joy is one that is indescribable. She has on her face the same expression of quiet joy that I have seen on many expectant mothers who understand that same beauty, as though it were a secret. I always wanted that secret. It looked like it tasted of the sweetest fruit imaginable. I know that secret now. I hold one inside of me.
I love my baby. I keep telling my child that. “Oh, if only you could know how much I love you.” I feel so undeserving of this true, unadulterated joy. I pity men that they never experience pregnancy. I relate to Mary’s firm, but unknowing Fiat. I could never have seen myself as a mother, but I am not turning down this God-given opportunity. Fear is dominated by confidence, Self-doubt conquered by God’s grace.
I pray the next twenty-one weeks of my family’s Advent pass slowly. I relish every moment of sensation from the Little One, and love feeling each movement gain strength. Too, I pray that this time of preparation is spiritually fruitful. I am preparing to be a mother, with all the kicks, pokes, and hiccups that come with this time. I know already, I will sorely miss being pregnant, but will love when my baby’s Christmas comes.