miracle of life

Recently, now that I’m visibly pregnant, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I have enjoyed being pregnant. That’s such a complex question….

Pregnancy seems to be one of those things that some people long for with an almost unnerving passion….sort of like marriage. I’ve always maintained that being in a healthy marriage is overall no happier, better, or more fulfilling than being a healthy single person. It’s sometimes easier to cultivate a healthy lifestyle when married…but that’s a whole other post. It annoys me to no end when my single friends assume that my life is perfect, fulfilled, and better than theirs, simply because I’m married and they’re not.

Pregnancy seems to be one of those other stages of life that some people long for and assume that those who are able to experience are somehow more fulfilled or happier. Yes, being pregnant is an interesting, life-changing experience. But at this point (and maybe actually giving birth will change my mind), I don’t see that my life is significantly better, more fulfilled, or happier because of this experience. It’s just different.

I mentioned this to the Wunderhusband, and he said, “But you have the MIRACLE OF LIFE growing inside of you!”

“But EVERY child is miraculous,” was my response. I don’t need to be pregnant to better appreciate how miraculous it is for a child to be born. Every time I see a friend’s child, or even a passing infant, my heart leaps at how extraordinary it is to see a brand new human.  When I adopt a child, I expect that I will feel the same wonder and astonishment. Children are simply extraordinary, whether or not they’re biologically connected to me.  That’s why a healthy adult’s response to seeing a child is a desire to nurture and protect that child.

And that’s why I think that longing for pregnancy rather than parenthood is like being hungry and reaching for a bowl of aspartame rather than a bowl of food. Or like longing for love and settling for a one-night-stand. Pregnancy is simply one means to parenthood (adoption is another awesome way)….And it seems that a person’s longing to be a parent and raise a child can be mistaken for a desire to simply reproduce.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the experience….feeling River kick and roll inside of me is pretty darn cool. And knowing that I get to raise this child with the man I love most in the world is also awesome. But mostly, being pregnant has given me some profound spiritual insights to ponder (nice!), and lots of physical discomfort (NOT nice).  I think that I will enjoy being a parent….but have I enjoyed being pregnant? Well, let me put it this way: I’ve had a textbook, boring, healthy pregnancy, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to repeat this experience and definitely don’t plan to.  Since we (think we) want at least 2-3 more children, we look forward to adopting the rest.  :)

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4 responses to “miracle of life

  1. “But EVERY child is miraculous,” was my response. I don’t need to be pregnant to better appreciate how miraculous it is for a child to be born. Every time I see a friend’s child, or even a passing infant, my heart leaps at how extraordinary it is to see a brand new human.”

    It IS very different when it’s your own child, though. Very, very, very different.

    I know everyone talks about how they didn’t realize how much they could love someone until they had a child, etc. I heard my share of that, but didn’t take it seriously enough. When my daughter was born, I had to come up with completely new categories for… everything. I still feel like I need to re-read every great book I ever read, re-experience every great work of art I’ve ever seen or heard, etc. because EVERYTHING is so very different now. It’s like moving from 3-D to 4-D or something – everything is different now, deeper, but in a way there are no words for.

    I thought I knew how to love deeply before. I see now that, compared to the way I love my daughter, I was wrong… the love a mom feels for a child is a whole new animal entirely.

    I had no idea.

    It’s as if my very ability to love has been stretched beyond what I knew existed. Amazing!

    (I’ve no experience with adoption, but I’ve no doubt the same applies.)

  2. Rachel M.

    On another note, I LOVED being pregnant. LOVED it, nearly every single uncomfortable minute of it.

    Until it was over. Then every memory became repugnant to me, and I’m still not sure I ever want to do that again. ;-P So now I really enjoy not being pregnant… weird, eh?

  3. Mircat

    Thanks so much for the input, Rachel–we’ve tended to think alike on several issues in the past, so I’m very intrigued to see if my experience mirrors yours. Looking back, how long do you think it took you to move from the “3D to 4D” love experience? In a way, I can sort of see what you mean b/c as my marriage deepened and grew, my definition of love grew and changed in (good!) ways that I never anticipated. I’m intrigued to see what parenting does for my categories too!

    That IS an interesting pregnancy experience….I wonder if your rough post-pregnancy physical healing had anything to do with coloring the rest of your memories? :-/

  4. Rachel M.

    Hey, that’s a good point re: rough healing – you might be right. I hadn’t thought of that.

    3D to 4D took me awhile. L and I didn’t *really* ‘click’ until she called me mama at 4 1/2 months – I’ve sometimes wondered if God saw how hard it was for me and gave her some words early so it would be easier for me.

    I was startled to find that a relationship with even a newborn is still a relationship, with all the awkwardness and uncertainty that new relationships bring. Some moms talk about how amazing the delivery day was for them, how magical it is to hold the baby for the first time, etc. For me it just kind of all sucked after the labor was over. :-P My ‘magic moment’ came when she called me mama for the first time. It was one of the most amazing and life changing experiences I’ve ever had. All at once it was like I knew she understood and appreciated all the hard relational work I’d been doing for the past months…. at least, that’s what it felt like. That’s still what it feels like – she drives me crazy sometimes, but I do genuinely enjoy her company, and she enjoys mine.

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