Pregnancy is a journey filled with wonder. The wonder of the child growing inside of me. The wonder of my body that is somehow able to nourish and protect that child. The wonder of watching those around me react to the child inside of me. I never cease to be amazed by the amount of joy that I bring to others just by being pregnant. My husband, my parents, family and friends are overjoyed at the thought that inside me is a little child that will bring such light to their lives.
Even more amazing is the joy I see in the eyes of strangers as they eye my ever-expanding belly. Today, as my husband and I were leaving church, the priest saw us as we were walking down the steps toward him and immediately his face broke into a large smile. As soon as we reached him, he said a blessing for our child. This is a priest we have never met before, having only started attending this church three weeks ago, and yet he was delighted by the fact that we would soon be blessed with a baby.
That was certainly not a solitary incident. Everywhere I look, in the aisles of the grocery store or walking around the block, I am met by the smiles of strangers. People are eager to hear about my little one and I get all the usual questions: Boy or girl? When am I due? Is this my first? I expect these questions from women, especially the grandmotherly type, and I am always a little thrown off when men, especially young men, are just as interested about my pregnancy. Although I’ve been warned that I’ll receive unsolicited advice and some negative comments, I have yet to experience any of these from strangers.
When my husband and I first decided to start trying to get pregnant (and even before that), many friends and family members warned us that we should wait to have children. Some of them painted children as a burden, stressing that we should wait until we’ve spent our youth having fun before we embarked upon parenting. And these scare tactics, well, they scared us. But we decided that we wanted to have children anyway, that the joy we would receive from raising a family would outweigh the difficulties that would come with it.
When strangers look at me and I see joy in their eyes simply because they glimpse the beauty of the little life growing inside me, I am encouraged. These are people who recognize the value of children, the great gift that they are to the world, so much so that simply seeing an expectant mother has the ability to bring a smile to their face and joy to their hearts. These people are not few and far between nor do they belong to a specific demographic - they are young and old, men and women, parents and the childless - all celebrating the upcoming arrival of a new little person to our world.