By Elizabeth Foss
I ran into an old acquaintance at a party last weekend. It had been about a year since I’d last seen her and I was delighted to meet her again. She’s always been a warm woman, who seemed to love to play with my babies. So, I was a bit — ahem — surprised at our exchange.
“You look tired,” she said.
“Ah, I am,” I replied with a wink. “I’m getting kind of old for this.” I rubbed my growing belly.
“How old are you?”
“Why don’t you take the pill?”
Gulp. Um. My well-rehearsed treatise on the Culture of Life and openness to God’s gracious goodness completely evaded me there in the kitchen between the bar and the buffet.
“It’s against my religion.” That was lame, I thought, as nothing else sprung from my mouth.
“Well, then why don’t you just tell him to stay away? Tell him you’ll come find him when you want him around. Tell him to leave you alone.”
I was backing away now, physically recoiling from the disdain in her voice. Honestly, I couldn’t even speak. I went and sat as close as I could to “him” on the couch. And then I let the words come in my head — words I never shared with her, but wish I had.
“Because I get to have another baby.”
I get to feel my cheeks flush and my heart race when I see two pink lines on a positive pregnancy test.
I get to plot and plan and dream up the perfect way to tell my husband.
I get to tell my children they are expecting a sibling and watch the ensuing happy dances and hear the shouts of glee.
I get to see a brand new heart beating beneath my own. I get to hear the rhythmic swish and thump that tell us the baby is still well.
I get to feel the flutters and have the realization dawn that they are created by my baby who is moving within me.
I get to see my belly swell and not be bothered by “weight gain.” I’m gaining a baby.
I get to hear my children bless this baby every day and pray for her safe arrival.
I get to lie in a darkened room, my husband nearby, and get a glimpse of our baby on a screen. I get to watch him fall in love with the baby of the grainy image. I get to see a tenderness reserved especially for moments like these.
I get to become acquainted with the rhythms of her being — her active times, her sleepy times, her hiccups — all before I ever see her.
I get to rub my belly a million times a day, wearing out maternity shirts in an effort to caress the growing dear one.
I get to receive holy Communion, knowing that the baby inside of me is nearer ever still to the Real Presence of the Lord.
I get to look forward to the day she is born, imagining the slippery, soft cheek against my own, feeling the enormous relief and thanksgiving that come with her safe arrival.
I get to watch the cord be cut and know that I still have years ahead of me of nourishing her from my own body and a lifetime of nurturing her from my soul.
I get to fold well-worn lovely little pink clothes and eagerly anticipate dressing a new doll in them.
I get to fall asleep at night with my husband’s hand on my belly, marveling at it all and thanking God for the miracle of two made three.
I get to have a baby. Again.
Isn’t God good and aren’t I blessed to know a Church that has led me to this precious time in my life?