lunes, 3 de julio de 2017

The Mystery of Pregnancy

The Mistery of Pregnancy


And the results came positive: the doctor advised me that I was pregnant. Yieih!! I ran back home to tell my husband who was thrilled with the news... I was too: I was so happy and scared to be a first time mum and that in 9 months I would have a little baby with us.

Babies are the biggest blessing God can give to a couple, that is why we call our babies: little angels in earth. However, when you think of babies and pregnancy, if you had not shared that period with someone who went through it before you, you would be hit, and hit hard with a few surprises. 


Yes, I have to be honest: I wasn't prepared for the morning sickness. I never had any close relatives pregnant before so my knowledge of pregnancy was very vague. You read about being sick, you watch a few movies where the actress runs to the bathroom feeling very sick and then a couple of hours later (in the movie of course) the actress is no longer pregnant, she looks vibrant and happy with a baby in her arms. So I knew that you get a bit sick in the morning with a bit of nausea and you vomit for a couple of weeks and done... easy, right? TRY AGAIN!!  Because, Oh! MY GOD. It's called MORNING sickness but it is actually a whole day 24/7 sickness... I can be happy and energetic one minute and out of the blue I would be feeling heartburn, nausea, vomit, be adverse of some foods, etc, etc. I wanted to have a baby but I really didn't expected to feel this bad!!! 

When, surrounded by a group of women, you make a comment about how bad you are feeling, apparently they have the need to share all types of horror stories about being sick for the whole 9 months, or that some had it so bad that stayed weeks in hospitals... but apparently those stories should have made me feel better about myself because most likely my sickness would go away after 3 months... awesome friends, right?

I was lucky to have the full support of my wonderful husband who helped me on an unimaginable way to go through it... but the anxiety of the unknown and the winter weather which I truly believe aggravated my all-day sickness was still present... The beauties of pregnancy... 

But, as everything in life, this passed... I started to show a little bit of a belly (how cute!... time to buy maternity clothes!). I started to have a renew boost of energy with December approaching. I was excited with Christmas! Yes! My first Christmas with my husband in our new home and pregnant... I just couldn't wait...!

Christmas... beautiful season (can you hear the Christmas Carols now?). I started my Maternity Leave and with that I had time for myself and to prepare everything for the coming of this new member of our small and new family, so I started to think about Christmas more deeply... I meditated through my pregnancy in the Virgin Mary's pregnancy... Yes, mums of the world, you who are Christians and believe in Jesus and therefore in the Virgin's pregnancy, think about her pregnancy for a moment: a very young girl (it's believed she was around 16 years old as per tradition of the time) engaged with Joseph had an angel coming to her to tell her she was going to get pregnant... Can you imagine it? 

She got pregnant and then Joseph abandoned her. She was left by herself, she wasn't going to get married because Joseph thought she was unfaithful and she also knew she would be judge by her community as soon as the news came out. She might have tried to explain to Joseph (who for what we know she must or should have being in love with) that she didn't betray him and knowing he didn't believe her must have made her feel a deep pain. We don't know how many days of suffering Mary and Joseph went through before the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to explained to him the whole situation... 


"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'

(...)

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.Matthew 1:18-24


Remember the all-day sickness I was talking about? Can you imagine Mary going through it and the emotional stress that all this caused on her? And we don't even know her parents reaction either so we don't know really how lonely Mary should have felt in this period of time.

I truly admire more Our Lady after my own pregnancy. I feel more connected with her journey and suffering as a mother.

I also admire all the modern mothers and pregnant women who for whatever reason are doing this journey by themselves too. Wow! An applause for you!! You are strong!

....

Now... 9 months went through... 

At the end of my pregnancy my energy levels were below zero... although the weather was above 40°... this pregnancy got worse but thank God my baby was alright. I had to drink heaps of cold water but then the cold of the water made my little baby kick in my belly and that motivated me... I smiled through my tears, my sweat, my swollen feet and my weakness. At this stage my husband stopped worry about my crying... he knew it was hormonal, but he still supported me.

Now, lets imagine Mary again: we know that the angel appeared to Joseph and explained everything to him, they got married and Mary had her husband's support during the pregnancy. Then, at the end of the pregnancy this happens:

"In those days a Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (...) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born." Luke 2:1-6

Imagine HER on a mule, heavily pregnant, going on a forced trip and then SHE STARTED HER CONTRACTIONS!! Oh my God how scary! She was in an unknown place and she started to go into labor. And poor Joseph who kept knocking on doors asking for a bed for his wife. How stressful. But he didn't gave up and at the end someone offer him a really dirty and disgusting stable surrounding by animals for her to give birth.

"(...) and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." Luke 2:7

How scary for Mary! Do you know the infections she and Jesus could've get if the place wasn't completely clean? But I'm pretty sure that God was with them all the way looking after their health and for what we know her labor was for a few hours. But I also think about the complications she could have gone through that all pregnant women go through now days, but I'm pretty sure (or hope) that her delivery was as normal as it could  be...

Because...

I think about MY labor and delivery. I won't go into details, lets just say I was induced due to medical reasons, had deliver a beautiful and healthy baby girl and then had to go to theater for an emergency surgery which at the end went well, thanks to God. I was in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) recovering from surgery when the midwife brought my baby to me... and I hold her and looked at her.

It's been 3 months since that moment... my energy is above zero (way above now thank God) and I hold my baby in my arms, I smiled to her and then she now smiles back. Lets take a mental picture of that moment... lets keep this in our hearts as parents.

...


We know that after Jesus was born, the King Herod heard that a "king" was born and he got scared for his own luck so he wanted to end this new person's life (and therefore future kingdom) before he or she grows old and destroys Herod's kingdom. Herod was looking after himself and selfishly he order that all babies under 2 years old must be killed. 

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

(...)

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod." Matthew 2:1-4, 7-15

We don't know how old Jesus was when Herod tried to kill him, it could have been even in the first 6 weeks since birth where all mums must rest to have a full recovery... but this didn't happen with Our Lady: she had to get on a mule with a newborn and escape the place she was at... So scary, so tiring, so stressful... but by then Mary and Joseph were already on the Mission of keeping the Son of God safe... that is what mums and dads do.

While Jesus was growing the Bible mentions a few activities and circumstances that happened in Jesus childhood mentioning that Mary "kept it in her heart" some things Jesus said or did.

"And Mary kept all these things in her heart" Luke 2:19

I understand so much more now this phrase. It is so deep, so beautiful and so heart lifting...

...


I don't know what the future prepares for our daughter but the Virgin Mary did know what would happen with her son... and still she took on the mission, she stood by his side quietly until the end when she sees this baby not so baby anymore innocently killed by the worst dead possible: the cross... I can cry more now watching the movie The Passion of the Christ because I can feel deeply the silent and brave pain and love of Mary. Oh how strong Our Lady was... how strong!!

And to think she has adopted all of us makes me feel loved and cared. The Mother of God is my Mother too... I can trust her the way my newborn daughter trusts me: trusting her love just because of her soft touch. I don't know anything that happens in heaven like my daughter doesn't know what is happening around her. All my daughter know is that if she calls me crying or smiling: I'll be there for her. And all I also know is that, when I cry out to Our Lady praying the Rosary or talking to her, she will also be there...

That is LOVE too.

God bless you.


Liza Abouharb
June 2017

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