So pregnancy. I love the people it creates. I love the boys that have spent nine months of their lives nestled inside me, closer to my heart than anyone else will ever be. I love the privilege I have had of carrying them, body and soul, tucked beneath my ribs. It is not lost on me, the deep grief that some women, and precious friends, feel who carry their children in their hearts, rather than their wombs, while they are being knit together. It is an honor and a gift to conceive, and carry, and bear down and press so much life into the world.
But I do not love being pregnant.
It makes me sore. It makes me tired. It makes me isolate and hibernate. It makes me sick and makes me vomit for months. And months. It stops me dead in my tracks. It wears me down. It beats me up. It steals my sleep and my energy. It makes my back ache and my feet swell. And it hurts. A deep, enduring, constant hum of discomfort for nine solid months.
And to be honest, before the joy of holding these sweet boys in my arms, comes the grueling work of laboring and delivering them into this world. A precious, and intimate, and beautiful experience. But one that pulls, and tears, and breaks my body. It is a wounding work.
And I've been thinking of my precious friends, who are in the throes of the third trimester. Sleep deprived and hurting, preparing to birth their babes into this world. These beautiful women whose lives are being poured out for the sake of their children, that they may have life and breath.
And in a painfully poignant way, pregnancy and childbirth invites us to share in the fellowship of Jesus' suffering. As we lay down our lives for our sons and daughters. As our bodies are quite literally broken and torn for their sakes.
I'm watching my friends ache, and remembering the long months with Oliver, and the excurciating pain of delivering Milo, and I hear Jesus' communion invitation.
This is my body.
There is fellowship with Him in this suffering.
We are not alone in it.
We are not lost within it.
He stands with us, as we cry out and deliver daughters and sons into waiting hands.
As we whisper to them in the delivery room.
This is my body.
And He whispers the same words to us. "Dear One, This is my body. Broken. For you." Nail pierced hands, offering bread and offering life to those of us who would approach the table, and recline beside Him. Knowing full well that we bring nothing more to the table than what our sweet babies bring into the delivery room.
The work of pregnancy and what is accomplished in a delivery room pales in comparison to the work of Jesus and what was accomplished on the cross. But it gave my soul comfort and courage, knowing I was standing with Jesus, welcoming pain, that my boys might have life.
To my sweet friends who are in the thick of it, blessings upon you as you lay down your comfort, press into the pain, and fiercely love the children you carry.
"Greater love has no one than this, that one would lay down his life for his friend"