He has six kids of his own. His office boasts of medical degrees and smells sterile and clean. He is friendly and self-assured. My surgeon nods and knowingly, with full authority and almost-full understanding says: "Pregnancy wrecks your body...what it does to make a baby is incredible...."
I wanted to cry, leap, yell, run, hug....a doctor with knowledge and surgical hernia experience and six kids of his very own just spoke my language; my mother-tongue.
He just flooded my soul with validation. With the harsh reality that to bear children is to do God-work...to lay down your life for another...to sacrifice and tell your pretty unstretched, unpushed, unscarred, unpulled, unteared body that it has a new meaning, a new job description: give thyself away.
Give. The mother body gives. Gives muscle. Gives milk. Gives hugs. Gives (up) time. Gives discipline. Gives laughter. Gives (up) sleep. Gives. Gives (up) dreams.
This year of third pregnancy and third body stretching and third birth and now surgery....I'm over it. Over. It.
I remember the wrestle. The grapple. The premonition in the shower that Fall day this time a year ago. I was in my second trimester and I was getting clean and I had a moment where I sensed: "...this third baby, he's going to wreck your body..." The same words. Wreck. And I cried and I was already in it and I love how much I can do physically...all the tennis, spikeball, planks, yoga, kicking, sweating, sprinting....and this one, this baby, was going to challenge all of that.
Challenge my shape, my mobility, my independence, everything. Challenge and wreck. Our bodies are amazing things...
And so are babies.
I counted the cost in the shower and though I didn't know my hernia from my second pregnancy would be tested and would worsen and need surgery ....I didn't know my abs would pull and widen....didn't know what was going to be "wrecked"...my pride along with my belly...I didn't know what...but I counted it and said: "Lord, this baby is worth it. He's gotta be. Here we go."
And so I recover. I rest and I heal and LAY here. I am post surgery and I am dependent and it's sad and hard and I feel wrecked.
I watch my husband exercise and move and be free and I am jealous and sad and discouraged.
Wrecked and reaching. Reaching for grace. Reaching for joy. Reaching for that baby to hold and enjoy.
That baby...I let him give me gurgles. Give coos. Give tugs on my face. Give smiles in between gulps. Give peace. Give joy. Give silly noises. Give life to me...to the world.
There's this fierce giving and wrecking from the third...but an equal and opposite fierce love for him too.
There is grace in the giving.
There is struggle in the giving.
There is God in the giving.