I thought that might get a couple of clicks over here... ;) ;)
I'm not pregnant. Well, not in the traditional sense of the word.
But in many ways, I do feel pregnant.
I was thinking about this yesterday. My mind wandered to all of the times I heard women complaining about being pregnant, and all of the times my fellow-infertile friends shared their similar accounts, and how each complaint used to cut like a knife. Used to. I remembered one particularly hurtful comment I read on a Facebook status years ago... it wasn't even a close friend, just an acquaintance from high school, who wrote (while pregnant with child #3): "Does any woman actually enjoy being pregnant??!" That comment haunted me for weeks... it hurt so badly, because all I could think was how I wanted to scream at her, and every complaining pregnant woman, that YES, I would enjoy being pregnant, and YES, there are women who would gladly trade places with her, and YES, no amount of suffering in pregnancy could remove the fact that I would be pregnant.
And as I recalled this memory, I realized I was now looking at the situation from a very different set of eyes: the eyes of a woman currently pregnant, in a different way.
I began to feel compassion for this woman, and her growing responsibilities of a growing family. I thought of all of the other women experiencing very much the same thing in their lives - the absolute necessity for selflessness, as her body is no longer just her own. The requirements of self-sacrificing as she aches, queases (I just invented a verb), tires, stretches, oozes, carries, and thickens (euphemism) for somebody else, is quite an undertaking. Sure, some women have it easier than others, and some have it much rougher. But one thing that remains constant is that her motherhood begins at conception. She is a mother, whether she wants to be or not, the moment that bond of total dependence fuses inside of her.
And what a very awesome bond that is. But it requires strength. It requires stamina. It requires a heart willing to put herself and her own needs after the needs of the new life growing inside.
As I continued thinking about this woman, and all women who have experienced pregnancy and had a complaint or two, I realized that my childless/infertility complaints are no different. What we should all be doing is recognizing the necessity for seflessness and the requirements for self-sacrificing in our lives. This is a little easier to do in pregnancy, because there really is no way around it- but for everyone else, and namely (as this is an infertility blog, after all) for those of us who have thus far been unable to achieve pregnancy - it will be much more difficult to recognize. But not impossible.
In changing my perspective on this woman's comment, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of myself, and my own experience of being pregnant. In every interaction, communication, reference, and exchange we have with others, we can be reminded that we are all pregnant. Our desires, our lamentations, our struggles do not supersede those of our neighbor. Rather, their needs should come first. And the best part? A mother (who becomes a mother in pregnancy) leads by example. We childless/infertile women can show a pregnant mother of 5 how to truly be pregnant - how to be a mother. We can be mothers to them.
Spiritual motherhood is not a new idea. But yesterday,... well, yesterday was the first time I actually felt like I could be a pregnant spiritual mother.