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Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy’

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day!

I have been blessed with a great mom. Although I will not be with her in body, my love and appreciation are being transmitted across the miles, from coast to coast, from heart to heart. I have also been blessed to be called mom. It is my most favorite title, name, and calling. It is the experience that has changed, not just my life, but me, the most.

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As I think about this annual celebration, it seems that there is a baby boom all around. Although not many ladies that I know personally are expecting, it seems as though every shop, restaurant, park and bus stop is full of them!

With each exposure to pregnancy, I am realizing that something within me is changing. I no longer look at the expectant mom, and think:

‘how exciting for her.”

Now I look and think:

“does she know?”

Does she know of the miracle of this entire process, from conception to birth?

Does she know how surreal it will be to watch a perfectly formed human being emerging from her own body?

Does she know the mixed emotions of wanting to hold this child in her arms, and knowing that with each push, she is closer to that moment when she will no longer feel him or her moving around … within her very own body?

Does she know that her child will be born with a scent uniquely their own, and if she were blinded she could surely pick her own child out of a crowd just by their scent?

Does she know that ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes will be the only thing she will count on that first day she holds her baby?

Does she know that, no matter how tired she is, she will choose to watch her baby sleep peacefully, as she stares in awe and wonder?

Does she know how holding her sleeping child will create the most deep feeling of warmth?

Does she know how a smile from her baby will erase the fatigue of sleepless nights?

Does she know the changes to come?

As the years pass …

As her child grows …

As busyness takes over …

As independence, and school, and part time jobs, and friends come between them …

As her job, her husband, her house maintenance, her meal preparations, her friends come between them …

As growing up can mean growing apart …

The moments of inhaling their scent, wondering at God’s handiwork in their form, watching them sleep. The moments of rapt wonder, just at the existence of this miraculous removed part of her, dim somewhat from her memory.

And then …

a phone call

a text

a note left in haste

a shared laugh

a glace at their adult body sleeping

a hug

an I love you

a momentary pause when looking at the size of their t-shirt, she remembers how tiny their t-shirt was many years ago.

And it will take her back to those early days of wonder at this piece of herself walking this Earth.

And it … all … comes … back.

And all she wants to do, is to hold that overgrown child of hers, and feel the warmth, and inhale their scent, and trace the outline of their lips with the soft of her finger.

Does she know?

A woman,
when she is in labor,
has sorrow because her hour has come;
but as soon as she has given birth to the child,
she no longer remembers the anguish,
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”
John 16:21

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It was an exciting day in church when, one after another, three couple announced that they were each to have their first baby. The cheers rang out throughout the sanctuary. Smiles were wide and bright. A fresh sense of joy and elation surrounded the cloud of witnesses.

Each of the couples are healthy, educated adults, who will be fantastic moms.

It seems as though there is a baby boom of sorts in the circles of my daily life. There are baby bumps everywhere! It is as though pregnancy has reached epidemic proportions!

For so many of these pregnant women in and around my life, this is their first child.

When I speak with other ‘veteran’ moms about those who are expecting their first child, we share the same thought that “they have no idea how their lives are about to change.” This is the common response of those of us who are ‘veteran moms’, when we hear of a woman expecting her first child. There is such a sense of joy for those expectant moms, mixed a bit with sorrow. Not sorrow, because they are having a baby, but sorrow because they are losing an innocence that they will never have back again.

When ‘veteran’ moms hear of a first-time expecting mom, we try to flash back to the point of life that they are at. We try to remember what our book educated, dreamy-pictured, idealistic thoughts were of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. We try to recall how little we thought that our life, our marriage, out BODY would change.

But, once we pass through the veil to motherhood … there is no going back! The door is shut, locked and sealed. There is no ‘before’ life, as a mom.

Whenever I hear of a woman expecting her first child, I think how beautifully naive she is (no matter the books she reads, or the people she talks to). I think of how she is living in a state of the calm before the storm (although, for some, pregnancy is a storm in and of itself). I think about how, when she gives birth (or brings that adopted child home), she is not just laboring for the birth of her child, but she is also laboring for the birth of her new self, for she is about to be re-born, as a new creation … she is about to be … mom.

She is new because she will be different from the inside out.

She will think differently, spend her time differently, shop differently and prioritize every part of her life differently.

No longer will she be able to hear a child cry, and ignore it.

No longer will she be able to watch news stories about lost, or abused, or sick children and be able to forget it.

No longer will she hear of a lost child in a public place, and not help to find them.

No longer will she be able to not glance at a baby in a stroller, when passing by.

No longer will she see a woman will an agitated child, and not have her heart go out to the woman.

She will be changed, a new creation, like the one she holds in her womb, or her arms, a new life is about to begin.

And what an adventure-filled life it is!

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What would you advise? What would you suggest? What would you do?

A young woman discovers she is pregnant.

She works an office job. She makes little money. She does not have a car … or her drivers license.

She still lives at home with her parents. A household where she has witnessed, and experienced, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Her boyfriend, of a few years, asks whose baby it is. He is not planning to stick around!

She is pregnant.

What would you advise her? What would you suggest she do? What would you do, if you were that girl?

Really, what would you advise? What would you do?

The girl has options:
1. abort the pregnancy
2. go to term, and allow the baby to be adopted
3. keep the baby

What would you do? Seriously!

This is not a new, or uncommon situation. It is one that has directly affected the lives of many women, through all generations. It is not an easy situation. It is not a comfortable one.

Now, seriously, what would you advise? What would you do?

I will tell you what this young woman did …

She continued the pregnancy, and delivered a healthy baby girl. She kept the child. She, and her child, continued to live in her parents home until she met and married a man who proposed to her, and asked to adopt her child simultaneously. The child grew, and was joined by two brothers (who were royal pains in the … neck). She grew up, married, had three children, had friends, and hobbies, and a job she loves. She found her Creator through the faith and life of her grandmother. She has not had a flawless, perfect life, but she has had … life.

Today, forty-three years later, I celebrate my birthday. In real terms, I celebrate my meaningful life, because my mother made a tough decision, without any knowledge of how this decision was going to play out.

Even as I contemplate the circumstances through which she made her decision, and even though I am thankful for the life she chose to give me, I do not know that I would advise or counsel another woman to do the same. Her circumstances would make the decision to continue the pregnancy and to keep her child so … unwise.

Whether or not my mother acknowledged this at the time or not, we do not know the future, and we do not know the purpose in pain, or the value in struggle. Only our Creator knows why the DNA of two people came together to form a new being, a new life.

My life has not been flawless, or perfect. It has not been without pain, or struggle, or heartache. I have not lived a life without regrets, or sins. I have felt hurt, and pain, and not understood why bad things have happened in my life.

But, I have had … life.

And I have my mother and the strength that she possessed when she decided to continue her pregnancy to term, give birth to and raise me.

Thanks mom, for giving me a happy birthday.

Now, what would you have done?

For you 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;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. ”
Psalm 139:13-18

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I so vividly remember Thanksgiving Sunday, sixteen years ago …

I had spent the night in a hospital, in a city I didn’t live in, not knowing why I had been having the most dreadful, take you breath away (literally) pains for over a day. I was wheeled to Sonography for an ultrasound, which revealed the ‘problem’ … I was pregnant, and the pregnancy had attached to my fallopian tube. It’s growth was causing my life to be threatened.

Once that knowledge had been attained, I was immediately prepped for surgery, and wheeled into the OR to have the tube and the pregnancy (the baby) removed. It was a day that made thanks-giving a struggle. On the one hand, I was thankful for my life, and on the other I was mourning the loss of our fifth pregnancy, our fifth child.

And life moves on …

About twelve and a half years ago I was visiting my doctor to confirm what I had already guessed … I was pregnant.

Now for most that declaration might bring a smile to your face, but, with our history of incomplete pregnancies it was just step one of a very long, very anxiety-ridden time.

When my doctor told me the due date would be October 17, I asked him to look to see when Thanksgiving Sunday would be. His reply, “October 10.” To which I replied, “I’m having this baby on that day.”

On October 9, 1999, as I bent over to tie my shoes, the first discernible beginnings of labor began. And the following day … Thanksgiving Sunday … on the tenth month of the tenth day, at ten past ten in the morning our son breathed his first breath, and cried. And so did we, with more thanksgiving than we had ever hoped.

And, today he turns twelve. He is on the cusp of all that adolescence holds and brings to a boys body, mind and soul. He is eager to physically look down on me. He is not too eager to have signs of affection shown to him in public, and has not yet reached the point of maturity that can handle hearing me tell stories of when he was younger (but if I could, there would be rafts of great and humorous tales of adventure and mayhem). He is eager for his voice to change, but has not yet started to empty the hot water tank when in the shower. He’s on the cusp.

Who is this boy to soon become man? He is the one who wants to give hugs (even to his sisters). He is a creative soul, who would prefer to build than to tear down. He is the football player who is struggling to put all his weight into it when coming up against the other team players, because he really doesn’t want to hurt them. He is the only child we have ever gotten a call from school about … apparently on top of another boy hitting (if only he could divert this to football). He is a philosopher who, while the rest of us are talking nonsense, will awaken from his silence and share his deep thoughts about something he has been turning around in his mind for a time. He is not a ‘school’ academic, but he is a most natural student of life, who will probably study far more than his report cards ever indicate. He is our only son, and in him we are well pleased.

But what do I want for him? I want him to be a man after God’s own heart.

Samuel referred to David this way. He told King Saul that because he had not done what the Lord had commanded, his kingdom, his rule that was supposed to have lasted a long time, would end. He also told the King that because David was a man after God’s own heart, he would inherit (though not by birth, so much as God’s appointing) Saul’s kingdom.

A man after God’s own heart … what a grandiose hope for an adolescent boy. But, it was as a boy, the youngest in the family (probably called the Hebrew equivalent of ‘little puke’ by his older brothers), that David was first anointed as the next king of Israel. God’s plan for David’s life was not hampered by his last of bloodline, his youth, his size or lack of formal education. God had a plan that was born out of the condition of David’s heart, and it was that one quality that made David God’s man for the job.

I pray that my son’s heart will, like David’s, be one that seeks to be in unison with the heart of God. There is no other dream or desire that I pray more earnestly for his life. It is in being one with God that, even in sin (and boy, did David know sin, and failure), redemption can be received.

“But the LORD said to Samuel,

“…The LORD does not look at the things people look at.

People look at the outward appearance,

but the LORD looks at the heart.” “

1 Samuel 16:7

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