Last time I wrote here at Ignitum Today, I shared with you that I am expecting a new baby this spring and that I was experiencing the dreaded symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum. I was about 10 weeks pregnant at that point and in the throes of nasty all-day nausea and fatigue. Thankfully I am now 18 weeks into this pregnancy and the sickness is finally starting to lift. As long as I am careful when brushing my teeth, I usually won’t spontaneously throw-up any longer. Thank you Jesus!
As I’ve been coming out of the nausea and sickness this past week, I can’t help but look back at myself these past few months and take note of how I have handled the situation. I wish I could say that I accepted this challenge with the grace and dignity of someone fully in communion with the Will of the Father. I wish I was able to say that I did not complain about the discomforts or make my husband miserable every evening with my daily account of my trials. I wish I could have focused completely on the fact that this child growing within me is a child of God and that I am fulfilling His will with my “yes” each day.
In other words, I wish I were more like Mary.
This year for the first time ever, I prayed the Immaculate Conception Novena in preparation for yesterday’s Feast Day. (I used a great website called PrayMoreNovenas.com to help me remember to say the prayers. Check them out, they’re great.) As I went through the prayers each day I felt myself growing closer to our Blessed Mother and coming to know her as not only the Mother of God, but as a fellow mother who experienced pregnancy and birth and the trials of motherhood. Sure her Child was God and infinitely perfect and her labor and delivery has been described by theologians as “light passing through glass” , but nonetheless she was a mother, like me.
I have been thinking more and more about how she would have been pregnant at a time with few household conveniences or comforts. The bubble baths I like to take to relieve lower back pain and the Zofran to relieve nausea were not options for her. Even though her delivery has been long believed to be pain-free due to her lack of original sin, her pregnancy would have been completely human. She likely would not have been spared the trials of swollen ankles, Braxton Hicks, hiccups, heartburn, and rushing to the bathroom three times a night. Just as Jesus experienced all the pains of the Crucifixion, Mary would have experienced all the discomforts of pregnancy.
Now this is where I’ve been feeling sheepish for my actions these past few months. Yes, my circumstances have been difficult. But did they really warrant my selfishness and complaints? Did I ever fear my husband would leave me, or that I might be stoned to death for this pregnancy? Did I ever have to report for a census riding a donkey across the countryside? No, my God has graciously supplied all that I need to trust in His goodness and love for me. I have no reason to bemoan my beautiful crosses. I cannot imagine that Mary would have complained about hers.
I have been really bad at giving up my body for the greater glory of God. I’ve struggled to keep my eye on the bigger picture of spiritual growth through adversity and trial. So it is with great confidence that I humbly beg Mary, who also experienced the trials of pregnancy and understands my temptations at this time, to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Leah-Jacobson-e1318950563716.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Leah Jacobson is passionate about John Paul II’s “New Feminism” and teaching women about the amazing dignity and worth of their bodies. She founded the Guiding Star Women’s Center in 2009, a non-profit focused on uniting the pro-life movement in Duluth, MN, and coordinates a national effort called The Guiding Star Project whose vision is to create a Culture of Life by creating greater unity and collaboration of pro-life groups. As a homeschooling mother of four (soon to be five!) young children, and a lactation consulting graduate student, she feels she understands better than most the pressures and stresses facing women and families in our current culture.[/author_info] [/author]