I used to envy my husband.
Maybe envy isn’t even a strong enough word. Let’s start over.
I used to nurse a precious little nugget of contempt for my husband. Because he…he will never have to be pregnant. He will never have to endure morning sickness or the feeling of a human’s head pressing firmly on his bladder from the inside. And don’t even get me started on labor and delivery and the lovely fourth trimester known as postpartum recovery from said labor and delivery. How terribly, horribly cruel it seemed to me.
And then something crazy happened. We bought this dilapidated fixer-upper and we started fixing it. And oh, it was so hard. And it lasted so long. And some days we were so tired that it seemed impossible to move forward, but we had to. We had no choice. There was simply no turning back. And those days…well, those days were not nearly as hard for me as they were for my husband. Because I felt like we were in labor. And I knew there was no way out but to have this baby, and having this baby was going to be hard and it was going to suck. But someday it would be over, that I knew.
My poor husband had no such frame of reference. He had never looked down that tunnel of sheer exhaustion and not been able to see a light shining for him at the end. He had never really gone past some mysterious point of no return and wondered if he’d ever get to be human again. So there he was, exhausted, overwhelmed, teetering at moments on the brink of hopelessness, and for the very first time I felt so, so, so sorry for him that he had never experienced the frustrations of pregnancy. Or endured the pains of labor. Or felt the all-consuming void followed by instantaneous euphoria of delivery. That light at the end of the tunnel that doesn’t appear until you’re basking in it.
I felt bad for him. And finally I was thankful. Thankful that I had experienced all of those things so that at least one of us could say “It’s going to be fine. This is going to work out. Just one thing after another. That’s all we can do. We’re doing great.”
Now, as we prepare for the impending arrival of baby number five, I realize that he sure did have to suffer through morning sickness- mine. He did every bit of cooking and cleaning and child care. He ran all the errands. He brought me just the right blanket at the right moment when I was immobile on the sofa. He catered to every ridiculous food or beverage request.
And in exchange for all that, he doesn’t get to feel the baby move or get to know her so intimately before she’s even born. No one asks him how he’s doing or feeling after Mass on Sunday and no one will ask him how he’s feeling after the baby arrives. He gets no bragging rights and no birth-story glory. Yet he’s going to be there for every excruciating moment, wishing there was something he could do. Trying to take on some of the pain himself. Wanting to share as fully as possible in this partnership with God.
I am in a partnership with God. Can we take a second to revel in that?
He picked me because He knows I’m the woman for the job. He chose me for this. Every woman who ever gets to carry a child in her womb has been chosen by God to partner with Him in the creation of a whole new life in this particular, incredible, exhausting way because she is the perfect one for the job.
I’m sorry…remind me again why I was envious of my husband?
Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their four (soon-to-be-five!) kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.