By Christen Marian
Good morning dear readers. Despite the chaos that arises from post-daylight savings time in a family of four household, our cottage is getting back into its normal routine. I sit in the early morning with an ice-cold glass of water, scandalously not coffee, under a warm blanket with only my thoughts to keep me busy. My delightfully boisterous children are nestled soundly in their cribs. I cling to my Church Militant rosary as I prepare for today’s tasks.
We claim to know “the world” post-college and feel invisible. We claim to know the meaning of life when reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower or scaling the mountains of the Swiss Alps. I have known some who claim to know the meaning of love when traveling the world with a significant other sans the bonds of wedding rings. What if I claimed now, at the age of thirty, that all of those experiences, and others like them, fall short; that there is one single moment that rocks your world, when all previous norms become nonexistent?
I would say it is the moment when a woman receives that “positive,” that affirmation that she is carrying another life. Whether it be fearful or joy-filled, it is a moment of shock and awe. “Is there really a child in me?” “Is it a boy or girl?” “How can we afford this?” Thoughts and questions run through your brain as you prepare for the next nine months. Your entire world revolves around this growing peanut inside of you. You plan a babymoon to have time with your husband before you are focused on keeping this cute watermelon alive. You breathe a sigh of relief as you hear your child cry for the first time.
Then, a mother is forced to look at the world through an entirely different lens.
She sacrificed her body for another through pregnancy, and now she is sacrificing her life for her child every single day. What joy and grace are outpoured at this selfless sacrifice! If we only knew! Your once life of adventure which was directed outward, is now directed downward at this small child. With every child born, God is exclaiming, “Yes! Life on earth must continue.” How empowering as a woman to know that we are involved in this process. For better or worse, this is the day that your entire perspective on life changes. All of your past experiences fall short to this small but mighty miracle.
Reminiscing on the personal freedom a woman once had before children might cause a mother to feel confined and limited in her current life of motherhood, but the moment her smile is reciprocated by her baby, her vision is re-focused. Her emotions are wrapped around this small body, and the joys of motherhood are endless. Yes, challenges arise, but it is how those challenges are handled that define a person. This is a mark of Catholicism.
At the age of thirty, if you would ask me, “What is the greatest joy in life?” I would respond, “Look at a child.”