Dear expectant mommy,
Yesterday my three-year-old climbed up on my lap, and without hestiation or shyness, he made himself at home. He curled up, tailbone digging into one of my thighs, heels in the other, and lay his head on my chest. Then, he looked up with annoyance, “Mama, I don’t like your hair.” He brushed the my hair from my shoulders, making sure it was all behind me. “There, I like it in the back.”
I consented, and wrapped his blanket around him as he got settled. But no, he didn’t want to lay his head on my shoulder as I suggested. “Mama, I want your pillows,” and he boldly fluffed up my breasts, and finally, he found the perfect spot for his head.
And this is no longer strange to me, though I remember long ago when my body was my own. They used to be my “pillows,” and only mine. I used to have “personal space,” and privacy, too.
“My life is yours, and my body is yours,’ I said, and he said, and we became husband and wife. And love filled our home and life filled my womb, and nothing would ever be the same.
I remember those first thrilling kicks. And I remember how those feet pushed down and up and out, and toes seemed to curl up under my ribcage, and I could do nothing to escape the uncomfortable jabs. It’s odd, the way even a begged-for pregnancy felt a bit like an invasion. Each twinge of pain a reminder: your body is not your own.
Have you realized this yet? And have you found yourself to be good at sharing? Are you bursting with life, and overcome with cheerful giving?
Let me tell you a secret: I think sharing my body is terribly, incredibly difficult. I wanted it to be easy. Because I welcomed motherhood and loved my baby, I thought it woudl be easy. But I found myself to be much more selfish than I had ever realized. If the baby’s spontaneous sommersaulting was shocking, much more shocking was the rebellion in my heart. Yes, I want to be a mother. No, I do not want to sacrifice my entire body, my space, my sleep, my life to this end.
5 a.m. and another cry, and I grit my teeth, whispering “You’ve got to be kidding me,” and I glare at my sleeping husband. My nights are not my own. My body is not my own. My heart is much too small for this job.
Motherhood will teach you this over and over again: You must give yourself. It’s hard. You can’t do it. Your heart is too small.
Try not to be shocked, someday, when you find yourself throwing a fit like a baby, with a baby. You will not always give of yourself cheerfully.
But Jesus has given himself to you, and that makes all the difference.
Your body is not your own, and your heart is to small for this job. However, the same God who made your body, who made that little baby, has your heart in His hands. He will use your hands to bless your child, despite you, despite your unwilling heart. And as your child grows, He will cause your heart to stretch even more than your belly has stretched.
He will finish the good work in you which He has begun.
You are not your own.