The truth is, I’m flabbergasted that there’s less than 10 weeks left in this pregnancy (plus or minus a couple). It’s passed so quickly, I’ve had very little time to reflect on what it means to have a son.
People often ask, Is this pregnancy any different? And, physically, it really is. I feel him move all the time. That has everything to do with the posterior position of our placenta (yes, I just wrote the word “placenta”. Sorry Dad…) and nothing to do with baby’s sex. But these every-day, all the time movements have also greatly decreased my stress levels. I don’t ever wonder if he’s ok. I just press on my belly, and he pushes back.
“Hi Mom. I’m here. Don’t worry.”
And that’s nice, because my life is full of worry.
Moments of “reflection” about this baby have mostly taken the shape of blind panic as I try to imagine how the heck to get three kids in and out of the van? How do I go for a walk with three? You should see the elaborate contraptions I dream of in my sleep that involve our double Bob stroller, an Ergo carrier, duct tape and three screaming children.
And when both the girls wake up at night, I think to myself: Will I ever sleep again?
But, apart from those panic moments, the other feelings associated with having a son have sideswiped me with their ferocity, quite literally forcing breath out of my body and tears out of my eyes.
There are certain (some seemingly benign) things that I just can’t think about. Or watch. Or listen to.
For example the The River Lullaby sung in the movie The Prince of Egypt.
This has been a favorite of mine for a long time. In fact, I would sing it to Mo when she was just a baby. Soothing her to sleep.
Now… I just can’t. Nope.
It is, hands down, my most favorite piece of art. Ever.
Seriously. And that’s coming from the daughter of a glass blower. It captured me the first time I saw it, and I stare at it every time I visit my parents’ house. I’ve (not so secretly) written my name on the back, so everyone knows it comes to me next. Sorry to be morbid Mom and Dad. It’s just the truth.
I can only explain that I now, viscerally, understand what a sacrifice it would be to give up a son in order that he might live. There was no certain outcome to Jochebed’s decision when she placed Moses in that river. Just a glimmer of hope. And, maybe it’s just silly pregnancy hormones, but I really feel a deeper empathy for her decision, now that I’m growing a baby with XY chromosomes.
Not to mention this Little Man will have two older sisters, who I pray will lead their little brother to safety, just as Miriam did.
I have a feeling Lent and the Easter Triduum will be much more heart-breaking for me this year. Every time my brain sends out feelers to contemplate the Crucifixion, those feelers pull back. Like a touched anemone. To imagine Mary’s anguish is to break my own heart over and over and over again. I can’t even go there. I hope I can remember that Good Friday is always followed by Easter. But I can’t think about it. Not yet.
I’ve figured out a healthy way to approach this prayer problem: while I’m postpartum crazy, go to all the Masses over Easter, cry my eyes out, and pray for grace. Yeah. That sounds like the best plan to me…Ahem (that’s me desperately calling out for better suggestions if you’ve got them!).
At Beth’s wedding in September, I watched as her husband, Jeff, danced with his Mom. In tears, I whispered to Andy, “There’s nothing in a wedding that honors the relationship between a mother and her daughter…” And in my heart of hearts, I secretly prayed the growing baby inside me was a boy. Just so I could know the joy and anguish of letting him go on his wedding day.
Side note: Mom, I wish I had done something special to recognize your role in my life at our wedding. I know you helped me plan, and went dress shopping and all that preparatory stuff. But if I could do it all over again, I would do something more. Give you a rose or have a special dance or…something. I hope these words can act as very belated thank you for raising me to be the woman I am. In you, I had the best possible example.
I always thought that, much like my own Mother, I’d raise a gaggle of girls. My house would be pink, and purple and sparkly from top to bottom, filled with the high-pitched giggles and screams that are the soundtrack of my childhood.
But this life will be different. This life will be full of surprises. Full of new pains and joys, of new sufferings and new graces. Full of girls and boys.
Full of amazing.