Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 10: How are you doing?

When I think about answering the question, "how's it going?" these days, it makes my heart beat a little faster. Of course, my honest answer is that my life is difficult right now. "Are you excited about having another baby?" Well, I haven't actually felt good about much of anything except eggnog, snuggling on the couch with my children, and asking my husband to do favors for me for several weeks, so no, not really. But I do think that having a baby is a good thing, even if it costs me a lot of discomfort, if that's what you mean.

I probably worry about this more than I should. No one has flown off the handle at me. But here's what I worry that other people are thinking. The first is just a general discomfort with the suggestion that having a child is anything but a blessing. I can understand this one, particularly from people who don't have children, or from people who are particularly sensitive to our culture's complex relationship to childbearing. The other response, which is more likely to be accompanied by hostility, is a complete lack of sympathy. "You chose to have a baby, now you have to suffer the consequences. Don't ask the rest of us to listen to your griping." So, I'm trying to find the middle way between these two extremes, for the sake of my mental health.

Also, after I listened to this Gospel reading in mass on Sunday (Matthew 25:37-40): Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

I finally understood the meaning of this verse (1 Timothy 2:15): Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

If I had known - really known - what a sacrifice it would be to have children, I probably would not have chosen it. Fortunately for selfish people like me, in a Christian context, the cultural imperative for married persons to have children is so powerful that I could not help but surround myself with hungry ones who need food, thirsty ones who need drink, naked ones who need clothing, the least of Christ's brothers - in short, these, my baptized children. Jesus states very clearly that only those who fed, clothed, and visited him are to sit at his right hand in heaven, so I am certain that this path, childbearing, is my gift from him, and my way to salvation, if I continue in faith and love and holiness. So, no more least for the rest of the day.

The last of my news this week is that I felt the baby move! I know, it's super-early, but I promise, promise, promise it wasn't gas (which "Your Pregnancy: Week by Week," assures me that it is). Let me ask you this: does gas ever feel like someone is tapping you from the inside right where (and only where) your uterus is? The correct answer is no.

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