Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Babe is Kickin!

You would think that since this is my third pregnancy, I wouldn't get giddy when the baby kicks. It's not like this is first kick either. I've felt Baby M groovin' around since I was barely three months along. From tiny little carbon-bubble flutters to the more definitive bumps, elbows, and whooshes (are they surfing or what?) each new stage of movement has been expected and yet wondrous.

I suppose it is what the kicks represent in my mind. Not just life. Specific life. My child's life. See, God has a persistent habit of disregarding my schedule for childbearing. After two children, I should know this. I should celebrate the freedom of being tucked into His plan as snugly as the baby is nestled in my womb. Instead, I freaked out. I wasn't ready. I wasn't skinny enough. I was still nursing. We had kindergarten tuition ahead of us. And to be honest, I wasn't completely sure I wanted another child. My two little ponies sometimes stretch me beyond the comfortable, pretty, tame parts of my sanctification. Add a third one and who could say I wouldn't be pulled apart? How can you unconditionally, passionately, and completely love so many little hearts without losing yours?

The baby felt more like a force than a child, something elemental and transformative and sudden. A hurricane. A tornado. A flash flood. A planet ascending over the horizon of my body, changing the shape of my skin, of my soul. I realized, after weeks of pregnancy, that I was thinking of the life inside me in terms of cause and effect. My mind was continually clicking through the ways the baby would stretch the fabric of our family as I tried to plan in advance how I'd keep us from tearing.
One almost-spring morning, the shortcoming in this thought pattern become glaringly obvious.

I am carrying a child. Not an event. Not a cause. Not a force of nature. A baby. A life that God trusted to my hands and to my heart, which meant that He knew I could care for it with love and care, mistakes and grace. I wrote an apology to Baby M right then and there. I accepted-- no, I embraced-- mothering them before I even heard their heartbeat.

Since that time, as my belly has grown and the tiny kicks, pokes, and flutters have strengthened, each one is an affirmation. Each one is a secret-- a conversation, if you will, that only me and my baby can hear. No one else feels this life. My pregnant friends will share their own private wonders with their babies but this kick, this elbow, this tap is from my baby. God is weaving them together for my family, for my arms, and ultimately for His glory.

With each kick I am reminded how I am so humbled by something so tiny, so comforted by something unseen, so in debt to grace for placing this unique human life in our home so that we may be stewards and shepherds for such a brief yet vital time in their eternal journey. Perhaps it is that knowledge that makes the kicks all the sweeter. I am but a vessel, not simply to bear a child for nine months but to bear Heaven's love and wisdom during their time in our home. All too soon they will be given back to God, to do with what He chooses for their joy and His kingdom. To have them so close, such a part of me, for these few months more is a blessing and a gift.

Keep kicking, baby. Whatever you're trying to say me, I'm listening.


Charity Activist said...

Karen, that's truly awesome. I sort of understand. My second one wasn't planned either and I was a little shocked to find he was there. Like you say, I wasn't skinny enough yet. But now that he's here, I wouldn't trade him for a size 4 body. Great post.

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful testimony of the mission with which you have been endowed. Do you know (or desire to know) baby's gender? Or do you like surprises? Thanks for the lovely post. It's refreshing to see pregnancy portrayed so lovingly.

karen_m said...

Of the three children we will have when this one is born only River was planned....more or less. God made me wait an entire year past when I thought I was ready for another baby and I can only say now I am so glad He did! That has given me confidence that I will look back after this baby comes and praise Him for His wisdom.

No, we aren't going to figure out the baby's gender. Josh is steadfastly old school on that.