“I feel pregnant!” was my recent response to a simple inquiry into how I’m feeling. I am often asked how I’m feeling. This seems to be the most socially acceptable way to ask a pregnant woman how she is doing. In retrospect this response may have been misconstrued as cavalier or an attempt to broadcast my qualifications for Captain Obvious. It was not intended as such. Over the past eight months “pregnant” has transformed from a word into a concept who’s ironic and sublime depths I am still fathoming.
On one level there is the ridiculous. Pregnancy is a hostile take over of your body. The enemy has broken into your main frame and is having a heyday finding out what all the buttons do. Now they obviously were not trained very well on what they would experience once inside, since even though you know they’re aiming at your uterus they misfire again and again hitting areas like your nasal passages, ankles, back, skin, joints, feet, taste buds, emotions, mental capacity and hair follicles. At first, you have nothing to show for the enemy behind your lines and then one day you can’t see something that you’ve been able to see everyday before, your clothes are pinching, clinging and revealing in ways they never did before and now you begin to receive the questioning glances. You begin waking with the question of which button will be pushed today. Before you know it, you can feel it moving within you. Unbidden images of the sci-fi movie where an alien cuts its way out of its host’s belly come to mind, and you wonder how far from the truth it really is.
In utter juxtaposition, pregnancy is also a profoundly spiritual experience. You see every one of your flaws and failures clearly highlighting the fact that this next stage in life will be everything cataclysmic implies. This is humbling and terrifying. The analogy of God as the perfect, loving parent suddenly carries supernatural weight. Where you may have been tempted to say that you have figured out how to love your spouse, this infant breaks down all your presumption leaving you in a puddle on the floor. You pray that the child will walk in the way of the Lord, but you cannot in good conscience pray for a trial-free life. Any illusion of control begins to fall away when asked about your due date. This is the place where you grow in grace, when you see the end and inadequacy of yourself, but desire vehemently to reach beyond. The only beyond that truly exists is the infinite, and He has chosen to be immanent.