Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Joys of Pregnancy

I had started dinner just before my husband arrived home from work. Squatting down to get a glass casserole out from under a cabinet, I felt it. Mistaking it for a kick or a poke from the inside from my child, I placed my hand gently against my lower abdomen. The pressure neither subsided nor felt like a poke. I realized what this was. I am not sure if the pressure came from a head or foot, but some appendage of my unborn child was pushing against my side.

When I first announced my pregnancy, many people told me how much they despised being pregnant. These people said they could not see the beauty other women saw in the nine months of what they compared to torture. I've heard this attitude constantly, even while growing up. For this reason, I could not understand why my mother said the best times of her life were when she was expecting one of us six children. Pregnancy had been made as this uncomfortable, painful nine months that one endured for the sake of a child.

I now understand my mother. I don't know how people can despise being pregnant. I have never felt so fulfilled as a woman, never experienced such a culmination of what I was designed to do. I am truly living out the vocation I committed myself to. I promised, four short months ago, to lay down my life in every way possible for my husband and our children. My body is no longer my own, my abdomen no longer the sleek figure I worked so hard for prior to my Wedding. But, I am growing a human life.

For years, I have struggled to grow close to Mary, mother of God. Meditations and prayers, readings and Scripture study left me at a barrier. Frustrated, I continued to try. As an expectant mother, I finally understand the identity and beauty behind Mary. I understand and can relate to "pondering it in her heart." Nothing has ever filled me with greater joy than carrying a human life that my husband, my God, and I made. This joy is one that is indescribable. She has on her face the same expression of quiet joy that I have seen on many expectant mothers who understand that same beauty, as though it were a secret. I always wanted that secret. It looked like it tasted of the sweetest fruit imaginable. I know that secret now. I hold one inside of me.

I love my baby. I keep telling my child that. "Oh, if only you could know how much I love you." I feel so undeserving of this true, unadulterated joy. I pity men that they never experience pregnancy. I relate to Mary's firm, but unknowing Fiat. I could never have seen myself as a mother, but I am not turning down this God-given opportunity. Fear is dominated by confidence, Self-doubt conquered by God's grace.

I pray the next twenty-one weeks of my family's Advent pass slowly. I relish every moment of sensation from the Little One, and love feeling each movement gain strength. Too, I pray that this time of preparation is spiritually fruitful. I am preparing to be a mother, with all the kicks, pokes, and hiccups that come with this time. I know already, I will sorely miss being pregnant, but will love when my baby's Christmas comes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the Other Side of the Screen

I have no excuse. According to society, I fit the description. I am in the appropriate generation. I frequently check my electronic mail daily and love a good instant messaging chat. I have a cell phone on which I make phone calls and send occasional texts. I recently acquired a portable music player and have taught myself how to download music from my CD's to the device.

I am still, however, somewhat of a misfit. I prefer to send a long, hand-written letter rather than an email. I will place a phone call before I text. I have no idea how to use iTunes nor have I ever been on their site. And I am sure that, while I used Facebook frequently, I have no idea of half the features it offers.

Case in point. Recently, I was communicating back and forth with a person concerning an upcoming event. Not sure if my husband and I were able to attend, I sent an email (for which I would rather have done one mass phone call) and began deliberating on our RSVP status. The person requested via email that I call her, but did not include her number. I was perplexed. I was sure I did not have her number and was unsure how to obtain it. After a few days of fruitless searching and an out of town, Internet-less trip, I had yet to call her. As such, she sent me an email, angered I had not placed the phone call. I wrote her back and explained that I did not have her number, but remembering to include mine.

I was away from my phone when she called, but she left a long voicemail wondering why I had not gone through a mutual friend to get the phone number or had not looked on her profile page on Facebook to get her number. Phone numbers are on Facebook?! I was so surprised. I had no idea a person could publish their address and phone number on Facebook. Furthermore, why would I call a mutual friend, only to request the phone number for another person?

I miss the days of phone calls and letters, when people communicated in one long conversation rather than sporadic emails where miscommunication is both very possible and quite prevalent. As as society, I believe we have become too busy with technology to remember there is a person behind that computer or cell phone. As such, we forget to spend the needed time just talking, catching up on life's ups and downs. I know that my generation, not to mention the generation following, are the biggest perpetrators. However, there are a few of us, though we seem to fit the profile, who are still just as confused and perplexed by the new technology and its unestablished etiquette.

I will continue to learn through unintended trial and error. However, I will obstinately remain an old-fashioned misfit. My lengthy letters and simple phone calls will continue. I will continue on Facebook, but will not let this become my primary form of communication. I know, as technology continues to advance, I will become both more updated, but also more stubborn in my ways. I have no problem learning new things, but I refuse to forget the humanity on the other side of the screen.