By Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher, Clarion Herald
Have you had difficulty exercising patience? Try pregnancy. In these last few days, I’ve headed into weekly doctor’s appointments (and sometimes multiple times in a week), grown larger than I ever thought possible, and felt my weight shift and equilibrium falter.
With each dawning day, I ask myself: “Is today the day?”
Watching and waiting. That seems to be the game lately. Fielding text messages from friends and family, I’ve settled on the same message: “Still pregnant.” Patience is a virtue. But at what point do even the virtuous lose all patience?
In these last weeks – hopefully days – of pregnancy, I’ve been thinking a lot about the period of waiting. Nine months – or fewer for those of us with multiples – seems like a long time. In reality, it isn’t. It flies by. Between continuing to work and keeping up with normal, daily life and preparing for the new journey ahead, it often seems like these last months have been a blur.
In that way, pregnancy is also a lot like engagement. In the year between our proposal and marriage, I was finishing a master’s degree and planning a wedding. That year, too, seemed like a blur. Looking back, there are key moments that I remember vividly; others, I just assume happened because, at the end of the day, I’m happily married.
But in many other ways, pregnancy has reminded me of engagement. In both, we have been given a promise, and we wait for the fulfillment of that promise. With the engagement ring, I waited in the year that followed to receive the fullness of that promise on my wedding day.
With pregnancy, we are promised new life by God, an expansion of our family, a reminder of the vows that we took seven years ago with our openness to life. And we wait nine months to receive the fullness of this promise when we will hold our boys in our arms.
If we think about these life-changing moments in these terms – as periods of waiting – we perhaps realize a pattern. Our faith teaches us the importance of waiting: Lent teaches us to wait for the resurrection, while during Advent, we anticipate the birth of our savior.
And, really, if we continue thinking about it, all of our lives are like this. We are given, at baptism, the promise of eternal life with God. The duration of our lives on earth, then, becomes a period of waiting – waiting to receive that gift that has been promised us.
So, in those moments of restlessness, of thinking that my legs can’t possibly bear up the weight of these ever-growing babies, I return to these thoughts of waiting and the patience that we have been taught. And with each flounce, bounce and tumble, I’m reminded that soon I’ll get to encounter these precious lives, I’ll get to hold them, and I’ll get to teach them that they, too, will learn patience in waiting.
Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.