Today is the due date for my third child. I don’t think we will be meeting him or her today. I was sure I was in labor earlier this week, making each day that has passed since seem like a wasted eternity, especially since my husband’s paternity leave is ticking away, minute by minute.
I’ve tried everything. Spicy food. Walking. Vigorous housework. The baby is staying put for now. There is nothing we can do but wait – and meditate on the common, everyday, messy, breathtaking miracle of birth.
And trust me, right now I feel like a mess. I’m forty pounds heavier than I was 9 months ago. My feet, face and hands are swollen. Even my maternity clothes are getting too small, my thighs filling out my jeans like sausages, my belly peeking nakedly out from underneath my stretched-too-far t-shirts. All the extra flesh and blood hung on my skeleton makes me ache everywhere – feet, back, knees. My stomach and lungs have been pushed rudely to the corners of my chest cavity, so that acts as basic as breathing and eating are uncomfortable.
And that’s just the physical part. I haven’t told you yet about the crying fits, the anxiety of an unplanned third child when I am unemployed and my youngest is not even 2 years old yet. The stress on our marriage. The fear that says to me every day, “There’s no way you can do this.”
And yet, I am the house of something holy. Somewhere, some part of my spirit has said, “This is my body. Not my will but yours be done.” Beneath the cathedral vault of my rib cage, a fully formed little human rests in that sacred space, waiting to emerge into the first of all of the days of its life.
Like Mary, I have said yes. Perhaps not consciously, perhaps not even graciously. But if my other children have taught me anything, it is that even when I feel like I’m drowning in inadequacy, frustration, sleeplessness, busyness, noise, and every other sacrifice that comes along with parenting, my head bobs just above the water, buoyed by unfathomable love.
So we wait for you, little one. We wait to find out who you are. We wait to see why you were given to our family. We wait to give you a name and a home. We wait,despite everything, in joyful hope.