For the last 35 weeks I have been experiencing all sorts of new and wonderful and bizarre and terrifying realities. Whether it is extreme nausea and throwing up in the most unusual places (like outside every car I rode in from October to December), feeling the baby do a somersault for the first time (it seriously feels like your stomach turns inside out), watching traumatizing birth movies (Alastair has been frequently saying “I can never unsee that”), or truly being amazed by blurry grey pictures of baby on an ultrasound screen, I cannot deny that every day I am deeply aware there is something miraculous happening.
Do you know how many things can go wrong in conception, pregnancy, birth and life?
I have become inundated with these realities. Every book I read, every app update, and in every prenatal class they tell you all the risks and warning signs and possible complications and all the terrible things that can happen to either your baby or you. While I understand these are said to be helpful and usually preventative, I can often get overwhelmed and worried, stuck double checking everything I have done and continue to do.
The first trimester I was so worried about miscarriages. They happen in about 20% of first time pregnancies so I watched what I ate (when I could actually eat), tried to sleep more, changed the way I exercised, monitored my body temperature, etc. It was definitely a full time job, at least in my head. There were so many things that could hurt the little baby I just started believing it is simply a miracle that any human being made it past the first stages of development as a fetus.
And that is how it continued.
The more dangers and risks and “do not do that’s” that accumulated I was amazed anyone survived living in a womb. Seriously there must be some mathematical way to prove that babies surviving pregnancy risks and worries is a statistical anomaly. And not only surviving, but more often than not coming out generally healthy and whole!
So this has been a weird season of recognizing miracles in what I think many people accept as a norm. I mean look at humanity, the sheer size of the world’s population, and it can be easy to take babies being formed in the womb for granted. I cannot imagine moving on from this process and not thinking that everyone of us is a miracle. I cannot move on from this and not see God in every action of conceiving, growing and birthing new life. It is miraculous, against all odds, statistically outrageous, supernatural, that there are so many people in this world and across all time!
The words of the Psalmist ring in my ears, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13).
It seems like every day and every moment in pregnancy something could go wrong. Each second genes and cells and nerves and organs are developing. And they are being developed inside me — a woman who often exhausts herself, eats unhealthily, trips on cracks in the sidewalk because she’s too busy using Pintrest, forgets what baby needs, and the list goes on. And all this development, happening in spite of my imperfections, is also happening in a world where there is pollution, radiation, violence, accidents, and downright evil. It is seriously mind boggling that any of us make it through in one piece.
And as you know, these dangers, risks, and snares do not stop once we have been born. Daily there are a million little things that could unravel at any second resulting in calamity or tragedy. I cannot help but see there is some supernatural element in our world that suspends us, maintains order, and allows us to go about our day not constantly looking over our shoulder. There is some goodness that shapes our day to day lives that we do not deserve. There is some grace that sustains us.
And I dare to say we all take it for granted. We somehow forget that the every cell in our bodies, every atom in all of matter, is held together and fixed in some way that is unexplainable. We come to expect that life should get off unhitched, daily blind to the chaos that could happen if the machines around us, our DNA or atoms in the universe started to go haywire. We miss the fact that something, or someone, is keeping up the status quo.
Since I have been pregnant I have been left asking myself, “How can we not see God at work in these things? How can we not see that every one of us is a miracle and each day a gift? How can we so easily disregard his great mercy and grace to set this world up for us with natural order and protection from chaos?”
All this to say, please do not take your life, others around you, or your every breath for granted. There is something, or I should say Someone, who “has the whole world in his hands.” Such a simple, child-like thought with incredibly deep theological truth.