On pregnant motherhood

Today on my lunch break, as I readied my lunch bag for a picnic at the park, a coworker said, “better enjoy every last moment of alone time you have left!” She is a mother of three, a very lovely woman, and she chuckled in a good natured sort of way. For a moment I was confused by her comment— because though I am 8 months pregnant and very, very round in the belly, I sometimes forget how obvious it is that my son is nearing his arrival. 

I finished packing my lunch and drove to the park to enjoy my “alone time.” Birds chirp above me now as I type these thoughts on my phone. They are looking for snacks in the grass and on the concrete floor of the gazebo. 


I am not sure I have any alone time left, if I’m being honest. I think my alone time has been gone since I first saw those two blue lines on the pregnancy test. An early Saturday morning, my hunch confirmed, I walked sullenly down stairs to my husband and handed him the test, unable to say anything but “look.” I felt like crying. I was scared, I didn’t feel ready, this wasn’t in my “plan.” I worried that my husband would be scared too. He wasn’t. His first reaction was joy. “This is a blessing from God!” He declared before pulling me into an embrace. We rejoiced together, talked about our fears, held each other in the simplicity of the moment where our lives were changed forever. 


My alone time has been gone since that moment. Since then not an hour has gone by that I have not thought of the tiny life growing inside my womb. At first, they were anxious thoughts. Am I eating enough? Are these prenatal vitamins good enough? Will the ultrasound confirm a healthy heartbeat? Are they growing as they should? Now, as I draw closer to birth, I wonder what my son will look like, will he be fat and squishy or small and thin? My mind is full of dreams of my young child. He wiggles around in my belly, reminding me that he is still here. He moves when I sing, when I drink an ice cold drink, and when I am trying to sleep I swear he is doing somersaults. 


Even as I write this, in the lonely gazebo, I am not alone. He stretches and kicks, content in the warm safety of my womb. The reality is, I have not been alone since he was conceived. His life sparked at the miraculous moment of creation, and by the grace of God he has been growing ever since. This reality would not change whether I felt happy or sad, excited or frightened, peaceful or anxious, about the new role I have as a mother.


I am a pregnant mother. On Mother’s Day, another person told me “happy ALMOST Mother’s Day.” I didn’t know how to respond. My son is not almost my son. He is my son. I love him, I protect him, I care for him, even if my care and protection for him does not physically look much different than my care and protection of myself. This love, care, and protection is mostly spiritual and emotional. I am not almost a mother. I am a mother. I am a mother as much as a woman who grieves the miscarriage of her first and only pregnancy, I am a mother as much as the woman whose child was stillborn. I am as much a mother as the woman pregnant with her fifth child, though far behind in experience and maturity, I'd assume. The moment in time that makes you a mother is the moment your entire being is changed by a new life beginning within you. I knew I was pregnant before I took the pregnancy test because my body and mind were changing. My eating habits were changing. My hormones were changing. All to serve the purpose of sustaining and growing the baby. My body was undergoing a transformation without my needing to do anything.


I have always been pro life. I have always been anti-abortion. Motherhood has not changed those beliefs, but it has deepened them. If I am to believe in the dignity and value of a woman, I must believe in the dignity and value of a mother. And if I believe in those things, I must also believe in the value of the life that makes her go from woman to mother. I must value the life that is unmistakably human, which has a heartbeat usually at the same moment that its mother knows she is with child. 


I believe that a mother is not alone. The child within her is not “almost” her baby, it is her baby. To deny that is to deny the pain and grief of miscarriage, and to deny the joy and celebration of an expectant mother. To deny the humanity of the first stages of human life is to walk a line where a woman is only a mother if she wants to be. If I believe in the humanity of my unborn child, I must believe in the humanity of everyone's unborn child. If we disagree, it is on one fundamental thing: that the life of a human at any stage of life, mother or child, is worth protecting from harm, worth being given the same right to live as any other human being. 




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