It has been over a year since I wrote on this blog. My thoughts have turned to it occasionally, but not enough to overcome writer’s block, I guess! Then when I have ideas, it tends to be late at night. As a grad student (I graduated in May) and now as a wife (we got married in December, 2011), I tend to be more busy at night. Here’s my first foray back to my blog.
But there is another joy that came as a result of our marriage. An essential part of marriage is procreation, which the Catholics describe as “co-creation,” husband and wife cooperating with God to bring forth something from nearly nothing, an eternal soul in a sacred body, valuable for all eternity. And it strikes me that in describing this mystery one could almost use the same language as Adam used for his wife. Inside me is bone of our bones, flesh of our flesh. A unique combination of my husband’s DNA, unique out of the 200-500 million other sperm that entered me, was joined to a unique combination of my DNA, released in a single egg. That was just the beginning of the wonder of fetal development, the scientific term for what David the psalmist beautifully describes as “[God] knitted me together in me mother’s womb.”
The next collection of my thoughts will tie the poetry of Psalm 139 to the things I am thinking about with this 38 week old baby inside me. We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, but so I don’t have to call the baby “it” I’ll say “he.” In two to three weeks we’ll meet this little person and we’ll know!
Meditations on who is in there and what is next
As I write, I can feel the baby pushing his or her foot out my side. I can feel deep in my abdomen his head, and I imagine it covered with dark hair — it is weird to think of a little hairy ball sitting there inside me! But since both papa and I have lots of dark hair and I know I was born with hair, I’m pretty sure baby will have some too. Little ear, eyes, nose, everything there. Smooth, small little genitals, which will seem to have been made only to pee and poop, but still expressing nascent masculinity or femininity. Tiny organs fit to grow, change, and last seventy years or more. Buds of teeth not yet apparent. In a little girl’s ovaries the very eggs that could become children of her own one day. “You formed my inward parts.”
He is inside me, intimate and close, and yet I am separated from him by the water and caul and my flesh and skin. I don’t know this person yet, really, haven’t even met him! I can feel him move and hiccup, but I don’t truly know what else the baby does. I know he drinks water, sucks his thumb, sees light dimly through my skin, and listens to voices, sounds, and music. But I don’t know when he does these things. It is a secret from me, the very one who carries him. I can’t see him apart from ultrasound technology, but moment-by-moment God does. “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance.”
His brain is already working, feeling, learning. Hormones are already acting. How mysterious it is to wonder what an unborn child can know and think. But God knows even the brainwaves, the wordless thoughts of an unborn child. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! … you discern my thoughts from afar. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
I can imagine or hope about my child’s future, but He already knows all the days of this child. I can bear, deliver, raise and teach this child, but he or she will have his own free will and become his own person. In small ways throughout childhood and big ways through young adulthood I will experience the joy and sometimes grief of my child growing into an identity apart from me. One who seems now to be “bone of my bone” will become very much his own. I don’t know what blessings or perhaps tragedies will befall this dear one. But God knows and foreordains the days of my child’s life, and though it doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to him, it is still a comfort to know the Good Shepherd is in control. “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
This little one inside me is already no angel. He will seem to be one for several months, but somewhere in the first year, before he can even talk, he will cry, or hit, or demand in some way and I will know “this little one has a sin nature after all!” As he grows older he will experience the grief of his own sin, whether or not he acknowledges it. I can pray and hope that he will believe in the Lord Jesus, but I can’t know that he will. What a comfort it is that his Creator will pursue him all the days of his life. “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
May it be that this child will early know the comfort of seeking the Lord, and baring his heart to the Lord, even as the Lord already sees it. May I as a mother and Avinash as a father seek the Lord as we embark on the new adventure of parenthood. Lord may it be that we will know the joy of calling our child “brother” or “sister” and worshiping God in eternity. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”