I was 27 when my first child was born.
The same age that my mother was when I was born. The same age that my Grandmother was when my mother was born. And like my mother and my mother’s mother and her mother before her, with the growing and stretching and pushing forth of that little, squirmy human, I had been inducted into the miraculous and marvelous and sometimes maddening world of motherhood.
I am now 12 weeks pregnant with number five — and the magic of it all never gets old. The morning sickness sort of does. My body feels a bit older in my mid-30’s now and the responsibility of also having four other small children adds to the fatigue. But the awe? It’s just as strong as ever.
For growing a human is not like learning to drive — where once you’ve done it enough, you sort of forget the thrill of that first joy ride and spend the rest of your years on autopilot. And it’s not like getting a new job — where the novelty soon fades to routine.
There’s just something different about participation in a miracle. And no matter how well I understand the biology of how babies are made, there is still a “something else,” a greater creator, that turns mere matter into a living, thinking human who cries and breastfeeds and throws temper tantrums. Every time, I am surprised. Every time, I am humbled.
My 6-year-old is smarter than me. My 3-year-old is more insightful. My 5-year-old brings more light to the world than a ball of sunshine, and yet, they were that way before our eyes even met. Sure, I have a very important part in their formation, but it’s actually comforting to know that they each have their own God-given purpose, and I’m here to help them along their way.
And they do the same for me — pushing me and stretching me and making me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I certainly didn’t know my stomach could stretch that way, nor my heart, nor my soul. And the things that DON’T gross you out when you’re a parent are miraculous on their own. Proof that somewhere in the miracle of life is the miracle of love that makes all things possible.
Today I heard the baby’s heartbeat. I laid on the crinkly paper atop the examination room bed while the nurse moved the fetal Doppler around my already-bulging midsection. Soon the the familiar woosh, woosh, woosh of a tiny heartbeat echoed against the white walls.
There you are, little one, who will you be?
Whoever you are, there is a perfect place for you here — in our hearts and our laps and our intertwined lives, and we can’t wait to meet you.
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