Author’s note: Since writing “Take Me to the Pigs: Finding Hope in Dark Times” last November, I got engaged to the very same boyfriend and joyfully married him in a TLM wedding on July 27. God is good!
My little baby,
Your father and I’d been married less than six weeks when we discovered that you were here. What an indescribable moment that was and will always be: looking down at the test and seeing the positive result. “Oh, God!” I whispered — not at all in vain — and covered my face. It was first thing in the morning, before he left the apartment for work, so I had time enough to tell him. We’d been praying to be blessed with children whenever Our Lord desired, but all our prayers and heartfelt openness didn’t stop your father from needing to sit me down on the couch because I was shaking from top to bottom — ecstatic, overawed, and terrified all at once.
Through the working of His omnipotence and boundless love, God made us parents by giving us you. There will only ever, in the history of time, be one you. And you have already changed everything, little one, in the best of ways.
I’m twenty-three years young, and I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother since I was ten. That’s a long time to want something that I was incapable of understanding (not that I knew it at the time). I was quite able to appreciate and intensely admire the beauty of motherhood and subsequently want it for myself…without understanding any of it.
Once I got married, I realized I didn’t understand marriage. Once I became a mother, I realized I didn’t understand motherhood. The things I have prayed for the most, read about the most, written about the most, pondered and prepared for the most…I understand the least. It is tremendously humbling to run toward a mystery, be given it…and it still remain a mystery, and me still remain myself. My flawed, normal, not immensely impressive self who spends too much time on the internet and not nearly enough time in prayer; who snacks more than fasts (outside the paradigm shift of pregnancy, that is). And so on.
Being pregnant with you these first two months has already been an uphill climb for me. Previously, I’ve enjoyed being a high-energy, cheerful person who relished cooking and housework, who would eat practically every food and not be at all bothered by most smells. Now I’ve become a woman of fatigue, nausea, high smell sensitivity, food aversions, and the inability to stay on top of housework as I once did, as well as someone who sobs at every emotional movie, not to mention other trifles.
Being made a mother demanded that I let go of pretty much everything I assumed I would have in daily life as a newlywed bride — such as the ability to keep things going all the time and cook for your father every night — and instead embrace what I’d been called to. I also had to let go of my expectation that, emotionally, I would always be excited in every way to be pregnant. This is not to say that my joy for your precious life and love for you is not constant and will always remain, no matter what happens. Rather…it means that sometimes, I’ve physically felt miserable, I’ve cried, I’ve been anxious that something was wrong, I’ve prayed, “God, please help me unload the dishwasher today,” and I’ve struggled to adjust to this gift that I’ve prayed for practically my whole life. I didn’t expect any of this. But I needed all of this. And you are so very worth it, and would be worth far more painful suffering than the moderate inconveniences I’ve been asked to endure for a time. Through your beautiful little existence, I’m slowly being stripped of myself, and dying to myself is something I’ll have to fight for my whole life if I hope to see the face of God in the next. Our Lord knew that I needed you.
I truly believe that the gift of your life has also helped me understand my marriage to your father more. We have loved each other so much for so long. Entering marriage was the most amazing journey and process of transformation — but your presence has changed us all over again. You are our child, a precious gift entrusted to our care. We can barely understand it.
But along with your daily growth, our unity and virtue toward one another has been asked to grow as well. My humility in our marriage has had to expand, a millimeter at a time, when your father switches the laundry or cleans the toilet because, well, it’s needed it for four days and I haven’t gotten to it (a real ego blow). His patience and selflessness in our marriage have grown even more as he’s listened to me opine about what foods I can’t even think about eating and how I’m so tired of being tired, and then moves on to cook dinner (or get me Chick-fil-A). Despite the challenges, the special joy of having you with us permeates our marriage and has rejuvenated it, although our marriage might have seemed too brand-spanking new even to be rejuvenated. Not so. We have never been happier; I think of you so often throughout the day, and your father tells you that he loves you before leaving for work and going to sleep.
The moment we saw you on the ultrasound and heard your heartbeat for the first time was divine, beyond anything I had experienced before. In the outlying shadows, with our faces illuminated by the glow of the projection, we held hands and watched and listened to you. There you were, completely alive by the power of God working in our marriage. We were so thankful. No matter what happens or how long you’ll be entrusted to us, we will always be so thankful for you, little one.
We’ve prayed fervently that God will preserve and protect you so you can be baptized and live a holy life for His glory and become a saint — but we have peace only in His will and accept whatever He wants. If God wills, we can’t wait to cuddle you in your arms and watch your life unfold in our family. Are you a girl or boy? I’m dying to know but have no idea. What will we name you? Who will your patron saints be? What will your temperament be like? Will you look more like me or your father? What gifts will you bring into our home and community?
If God permits, we can’t wait to homeschool you, give you brothers and sisters, and teach you how to pray. Once you start talking, I hope I can teach you the “Ave Maris Stella” (in English…I’ll let you teach me the Latin) as our default bedtime prayer and pray those beautiful words with you every night. I can’t wait to watch you discover the Holy Mass, for you to ask questions about everything and to come to love God. If you’re a boy, I can’t wait to help you learn the server’s responses as I helped your uncle learn them when he was younger (although he’ll probably want to teach you, too, so I may have to take the backseat). If you’re a girl, I can’t wait to help you find a little veil. And no matter if you’re a girl or boy, I can’t wait to teach you to sing, to help you learn a little Latin, and for you to sit on your father’s lap in the evening while he reads to you about things that are good and true and beautiful.
I can’t wait to see you grow into adulthood and set forth boldly on the path God calls you to with humility and strength. I promise I will do everything in my power to help you toward holiness, to forgive you your failings and be patient with you while admitting my own faults, and I pray that my sinfulness and weakness will never hurt you or hinder you — but that you will have the grace to forgive me when they do.
If Our Lord brings you safely into this world, little one, it will not be your home. There is so much sadness and ugliness and confusion here — but He has seen fit to create you for an end so high and noble that I can’t begin to understand it. He loves you infinitely, more than I ever could. You are His gift to this world and to our family, and I pray that you will help save many souls, including mine.
I love you dearly,
Mary Jimenez is a freelance writer from the Deep South, and is deeply passionate for traditional Catholic living and for sanctifying the domestic Church. She blogs at marydonellan.wordpress.com.