My body has been abducted.
Maybe it’s better to say my life has been abducted by a new life. I’ve spent a lot of time as an adult thinking about marriage and healthy families. I’ve spent probably a sliver of a fraction’s fraction (possible?) thinking about the actual part of becoming a family. However I’m reminded often that I need to be thinking about this, as I feel the swishing and knocking and twirling of what I fondly call the pterodactyl baby in my uterus. This creature controls what I eat, how much I can breathe, when I sleep (or not sleep), and truly, all the future plans and dreams I didn’t know I had until now.
In spiritual direction I’ve spent a lot of time with Fr. Josh discussing the complete surprise of disruption a baby that’s not even outside of my body has changed my life. Researchers say that “baby brain” isn’t real. I want to give the researchers a piece of my “baby brain”, but I’m not sure I could find it these days. I feel rather stunted intellectually and physically, as I adapt to a new kind of clumsiness in this body that I didn’t expect to feel so different. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Mary and seeking out Theotokos icons. My prayer life has changed…hours of contemplation has become an evasive thing of the past as I can barely remember to make my grocery list. I envy Mary, her ability to seem so resolute, taking on motherhood, THE motherhood of all mothers, as if she says she has accepted her calling. God’s desire on her life, to be born a female, was to birth and raise a child.
Seriously Mary, you just had a baby. How can you look so calm, fashionable, serene, and remember to wear lipstick at a time like this?
I’ve struggled with this greatly as I consider this shift in vocation, beyond more than work, as in a purpose and state of life. I love the work I do, being able to see clients early in the morning or later in the evening, having time to read, study, and learn. I enjoy the leisure of flexibility and naps and peeing without distraction. I like being able to get ready and leave the house in 10 minutes and can pop in and out stores quickly. I’m excited to see this new life, but I’m terrified and grieving a bit about the responsibility, and truly, the last bit of selfishness and control I am under the allusion of obtaining.
I’ve never really been keen on the standard rosary. Not because I disagree with the content, but there are so many beautiful prayers, already written or ready to be prayed from the heart that need to be said. It’s a “thing” in Catholic circles that gets to be a bit of a crutch I think, much like a devotional book one might read, that can become an idol or lead to Marian worship. I have come to appreciate it much more though now, especially as I see her as more of a contemporary, someone who like my mom, grandmothers, friends who are mothers have this shared understanding. Hail Mary, full of grace, pray for me.
In the Catholic Church, May is the Month of Mary. It’s fitting that of course Mother’s Day kicks things off. However the end of the month celebrates The Feast of the Visitation. While sitting with the Theotokos icon, Fr. Josh encouraged me to check out the Visitation icon. Since finding out we are pregnant, whenever I am afraid, overwhelmed, or terrified of becoming a mother, I have prayed that like Hannah, Abraham, and Mary, I give this child, my life, body of my body and blood of my blood, to God.
In the mystery of the Annunciation and the Visitation, Mary is the very model of the life we should lead. First of all, she welcomed Jesus in her existence; then, she shared what she had received. Every time we receive Holy Communion, Jesusthe Word becomes flesh in our life – gift of God who is at one and the same time beautiful, kind, unique. Thus, the first Eucharist was such: Mary’s offering of her Son in her, in whom he had set up the first altar. Mary, the only one who could affirm with absolute confidence, “this is my body”, from that first moment offered her own body, her strength, all her being, to form the Body of Christ. -Mother Teresa