It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to write as of late. I’m in my 33rd week of this twin pregnancy and with my ginormous belly measuring 45 weeks, even reaching the keyboard has become quite the feat. I’ve also acquired strange looking hobbit feet and cannot for the life of me figure out how Bilbo Baggins was so stealthy on his when mine are making me feel about as graceful as this guy:
Really. I’m this guy minus the beard and with a belly big enough that I can’t even see my own crazy-big feet. And yet, I love this time in my life. It’s filled with anticipation and immense joy. Motherhood has united my heart to Christ’s in a way like no other. I enter the final weeks of pregnancy understanding that great suffering lies ahead. Beautiful life-giving suffering where I catch a glimpse of Christ tenderly kissing His cross, and I too eagerly welcome the pain of contractions, even hoping they’ll intensify, knowing that each one brings my little ones closer to that moment when I finally get to hold them.
Two pregnancies ago, I had a wonderfully fast delivery. Any pain I had experienced was gone from my memory as soon as my son, Joachim, was placed in my arms. But then new waves of pain arose and the midwives realised I was losing too much blood. The IV needle had not been secured properly and I was not getting the Pitocin I needed to help my uterus contract and close off the open wound left from the placenta. An OB was brought in to assist my midwives. He told them that he needed to inspect the inside of my uterus to see if there were any additional tears that would need mending. I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for the reopening of that which was still tender, swollen, sore and bruised from having just delivered my son. A flash of Christ being stripped at the foot of the cross, His blood dried to his robe and as the garment were ripped from His body, opening His wounds afresh.
I cried out in pain and my eyes turned upwards, searching for the One who could give me the strength I needed to endure this unfamiliar pain.
Oh Lord, I can’t do this. Please help me.
I focused on the ceiling tiles framed with scores of white T-bars and all I could see were crosses. Crosses that needed a corpus. In my agony, I was blessed with the understanding of the potential to truly unite my heart to Christ’s and offer up my suffering.
I let out another cry, and the OB looked surprised. “Didn’t she have an epidural?” My midwives shook their heads. His eyes filled with compassion. “I’m so sorry,” he said, “I didn’t realise. I can’t imagine how painful that was for you.” I looked over at the baby who had been sleeping so peacefully throughout the whole ordeal and I smiled, warmed with intense love. “He’s worth it.”
Everyone was silent. The midwives eyes were brimming with tears. And my heart was so full of gratitude to be so united to Christ. I had another flash, a scene from The Passion of the Christ where He meets His mother after having been relentlessly tortured. But as He speaks, an ocean of love pours out. “See Mother, I make all things new.”
How blessed are we mothers who have the potential to follow Our Lord and bring forth life through our suffering. It is one of the greatest gifts to the world. A journey into the joy of suffering, the profound gift of life-giving love through sacrifice.
I know the world may see me as this guy:
(granted they’ve got the feet just about right) especially after the confusion over Pope Francis’ comments about rabbits, but every time I’ve entered into this amazing state, I’ve done so fully aware of the gift at foot – I mean at hand.
Carissa Douglas is a homeschooling mother of eight children aged 11 years and under with twins on the way. She is a Catholic speaker as well as the author and illustrator of a Catholic children’s book series, Little Douglings. In her spare time… hahaha, what spare time?