featured image

Maria Gallagher offers encouragement to women waiting to give birth in these difficult times.

I remember the instant I found out I was a mother. I had been volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center, assisting women who were facing challenging circumstances. I had been praying that I would conceive a child, but for months, the prayer seemed to go unanswered. That day, I summoned up the courage to ask my supervisor for a pregnancy test. She gently took me aside and, after examining the test results, confirmed what I had felt in my heart: I was finally pregnant!

 I began to love my baby at the moment of confirmation of her conception. While I have always been averse to water, I guzzled it down, believing it was best for baby. I carefully monitored my daily diet to make sure I was consuming sufficient calories for myself and my little beloved one. Never an athlete, I began a pregnancy-friendly exercise routine to aid in my delivery.

I read the pregnancy book recommended by my mother-in-law and the breastfeeding guide published by La Leche League. I devoted myself to my new cause: the cause of being the best mother I could be.

Recently, my daughter celebrated another birthday. I am enchanted and amazed at the incredible person she has become. But I knew she was a one-of-a-kind individual long ago, when I first learned of her presence in my womb. I could not deny her humanity any more than I could deny my own. She was precious from the start, loved from the beginning, and treasured throughout the trimesters. While she was a cherished part of my heart, she was separate from me all along, with her own distinctive DNA. That DNA made her a blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty, born of a dark-haired, brown-eyed mama. She did not gain legitimacy at her birth — it was another, albeit highly important, stage in her already legitimate life.

At her birth, she literally elbowed her way into the world — a sign of her inherent tenacity. She ended up nursing like the champion she is. Her eyes were always searching, searching — just like they do today. As a baby, she loved to wiggle to music in a way that made her appear to dance — a hint of the ballerina she would become. So much of the girl I would love was present right at the start. She became bigger, yes, but her identity was largely forged before she would ever set foot in a classroom — in fact, before she would take a single step. 

To the pregnant woman in these tumultuous times, I offer you this wisdom, born of years of mothering: Circumstances can change in a baby’s heartbeat. The struggles you face today could be long gone a year from now. But one fact remains: that baby within you bears a beauty and dignity which cannot be erased. Yours is an awesome responsibility but also a bountiful blessing. You will never regret bringing that blessing into the world.

So happy birthday to all the summer babies, and congratulations to all you awe-inspiring mothers! You truly make the world a brighter, more loving place.     

That baby within you bears a beauty and dignity which cannot be erased. #catholicmom

Copyright 2020 Maria V. Gallagher
Image: Christian Bowen (2019), Unsplash