I'm lying here on the bathroom floor, feeling the cool tile beneath my cheek, moaning just a bit, typing one-handed and sideways, and rethinking my life.
Motherhood, specifically pregnancy, is not for the faint of heart. There is no way of predicting, until you get here, whether you will be the lucky duck with no symptoms or if you're going to spend countless hours in the bathroom on your knees. (Quick question...does moaning "Oh...G*d..." between retches count as prayer? If so...score!) I'm the unlucky kind. I've fallen asleep many times with my face resting on the toilet seat, completely exhausted.
Earlier today, I was lying here and remembering my first pregnancy and my first encounter with morning sickness (and that name is a complete lie.) I was violently ill with #1 in ways I was unprepared to be. I quickly dropped 23 pounds from an already skinny frame, and would fall into bed near comatose to sleep for 30+ hours straight. It was near the end of the first trimester, when I finally got in to see the OB (who wouldn't see patients fewer than 12 weeks along). She looked at the clearly very ill 21 year old that I was and said, "Let's discuss termination."
I was stunned. I was a poor college student, but was in love with my baby's father with whom I was living. (We got married when I was 4 months along....we weren't religious at all yet....if you have to judge, please do it quietly.) "You are risking your health," she said to me in a matter of fact way. "You are a young woman with years ahead of you for having babies. Why this baby? Why now? Why not walk away from all of this until you are healthier and in a better place?" (For the record, I wasn't un-healthy except for the morning sickness......morning....Hah!)
I sat quietly and pondered her suggestion. Nobody even knew about the pregnancy except my fiance, and to tell the truth he wasn't exactly thrilled by the whole thing happening before the wedding. Neither was I, really, that's why I had been on the Pill.
I pondered her suggestion for a few days. I was more favorable to it the longer I spent on the bathroom floor. I just kept coming back to the sound of that heartbeat, loud and fast, I'd heard in the exam room. Whatever it was, it was alive and its living was what was causing my puking.
My sweetheart came home to find me in a half-delusional state. I raised my head and looked at him through blurred vision and said, "God help me, but if after all of this, the kid's a brat...I'll wring its neck myself." Then I passed out. (See? Loving mom right from the get-go.)
Here I am again today, lying on the cold tile of the bathroom floor, thinking I need to mop more often, that perhaps a shower might be nice, and that if this kid's a brat.....I'll.....love it anyway. (Don't get me wrong, this is definitely going to be used for Mom-guilt. "I threw up for 4 months straight when I was pregnant with you...and you can't even clean your room when I ask?")
I learned something during my first stay on the bathroom floor. Life is precious. Always. The trials and discomforts of motherhood may seem insurmountable or just plain not worth it, but then come the moments that make it worth every expense. Like the 4 year old who just brought me a cup of cold water because "I love you, Mommy."
I would love to be able to go back to 1996 and find that kindly doctor who tried so hard to counsel me in my "options". I'd say to her, "This is what parenthood is. It's willingly sacrificing myself for the love of my children. It's offering my comfort and well-being for their own. It's living through moments of great pain because my love for them eclipses it. I might be able to have other babies, but I don't know how I'd ever live without the life and happiness of this one."
...and somehow that seems like a fitting thing to be thinking as we approach the Triduum and celebrate the love of a parent who said the same thing about us.