“I’m going to take a pregnancy test!”
I shouted across the apartment to my husband as I anxiously walked into our bathroom to find out if I was having phantom pregnancy symptoms or if I was in fact carrying another life inside of me.
I was bracing myself for the seemingly endless three-minute wait and the uncertainty of a faint second line when within a minute, a very prominent second line appeared. I looked up in the mirror as if my reflection would respond to my disbelief, and then back at the stick.
A small smile came to my face, accompanied by an overwhelming sense of impending change.
I slowly opened the bathroom door.
I, very un-eloquently, told my husband, “So, um, I’m pregnant.”
“What?! Wait, what?!”
It’s funny how joy can mix so smoothly with disbelief. We had both prepared ourselves for the trials of infertility because my husband had been diagnosed with and beaten, testicular cancer before we had even met. So, one and a half months into our marriage, we were both overjoyed and completely shocked by this blessing.
As a result, I was unprepared for the complete identity shift that happens the moment you find out you are a mother. It’s often said that with the birth of a child is the birth of a mother, but I disagree with that.
I think with the conception of every child, is the birth of a mother, for you are no longer the same and deep inside that truth takes root. Over the course of one minute, life goes from your own dreams and plans to a great unknown.
It is incredible, yet daunting. I was looking forward to what was to come and at the same time letting go of the life I knew. In a very real way, more so than on my wedding day, I realized my life was no longer, and would never again be, my own. Every decision was colored by a new sense of responsibility.
I always knew that my vocation would sanctify me, but it’s hard to understand exactly how that happens before, well, it happens.
In finding out I was pregnant, I was faced with my own selfishness and my own false sense of control and power, but it was all colored with such sweetness. Something I’ve found to be consistently true when growing in the spiritual life.
Motherhood, before the baby even arrives, is a journey that follows the path of self-renunciation, a kind of death, the death of my independence and the life I once had, but this does not leave a sense of sadness, rather it points to new life. For with the conception of a child is the birth of a mother…and endless opportunities to be sanctified.