Pregnancy is a very useful mortification of the clinging vestiges of my former quasi-feminist flesh. You know the one: the self who still likes to think of herself as an Independent Woman, against all evidence to the contrary. The self who inclined her ear too sharply to that seductive gender theory stuff in grad school seminars, who squirmed at the thought of taking her husband’s name. The self that grew up thinking Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, and who didn’t even like asking her husband to open a jar for her. (In short, the Old Adam of myself who continually forgets the futility—the utter foolishness—of these gestures toward God-like self-determination.)
Kinda hard to maintain these silly illusions throughout the various indignities and limitations of pregnancy, to say nothing of my increasing emotional and economic dependence upon my husband as my marketability decreases in inverse proportion to the number of children and the years I spend almost exclusively with them. (Not like I was ever seriously marketable in the first place, but still.)
Here’s the amazing thing: when I get to griping about anything from the fact that I’ll never have “a job where I can use my brain” to the fact that it’s pretty darn hard to tie my own shoes nowadays, my husband, who has been my hero for quite some time now, simply says, “This gives me a chance to do my job.” He hands his entire paycheck to me and trusts me completely with it. He peels the boys off me when he comes home and takes them out of my sight for awhile so I can recover some sanity (or blog about my lack of sanity). He talks with me like I'm a person who still has a brain. He even ties my shoes for me.
Wow. All along, he’s been waiting for me to get over myself so that he can get on with his calling to lay down his life for me. You know, that whole “this is my body, given for you” thing modeled by the Heavenly Bridegroom? Yeah. That’s the one. That’s incredibly powerful stuff. The importance of marriage in God’s eyes, and the horror of its brokenness in this world, is becoming clearer to me all the time.
And of course, marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood give me the chance to fulfill my end of the deal, too, when I can stop the navel-gazing long enough to remember what it’s all about. Truly, the very literal giving of a woman’s body for the life of others is sacrificial, even sacramental.
Love incarnate. Christ for church; husband for wife; wife for husband; parents for children. Christians for the world.