“Being pregnant is not for sissies,” a phrase my husband Chad has heard me say more than once over the last six months. As our baby girl continues to grow, and I with her, I find myself wanting to grumble and complain. Complaining seems a lot easier than being filled with gratitude for the healthy baby growing within me.
Instead of complaining I remind myself every day that growth, albeit painful, is a gift from God. Every ache, every pain, every tear, every jab, every stretch mark, every trip to the bathroom, every night spent tossing and turning trying to find the perfect sleeping position has been entrusted to me by a God that desires my participation in co-creating life.
Erin Robinson Hall introduced this holy idea during last month’s conference call hosted by Baptist Women in Ministry. As she discussed the privilege women enter into during the nine, but really ten, months of pregnancy, my eyes swelled with tears as I realized for the first time the opportunity set before me. Being pregnant is not just a means to an end; it’s a holy process that invites a messy and broken person, like myself, to participate in the creation of life.
Any woman who has endured the trying months of pregnancy, not to mention labor and delivery, knows that this privilege isn’t all roses. Each has her horror story and many willingly share these with starry-eyed first time mothers, bringing them back to the reality that pain will ultimately find you.
But if you listen long enough to the chorus of these brave and courageous women, the hearer will find each story concludes the same way: “but I would do it all over again, because [s]he is worth it.” Ultimately these stories remind me that I am not alone, that others have gone before me, and that it’s worth it.
So as I roll out of bed, literally, three times a night, I find myself thanking God. Participating in creating life requires growth and commitment and ultimately pain will accompany it. Some days are better than others, but on the really hard days I hear the chorus cheering me on, asking me to join them in remembering that although pain is inevitable, it’s worth it.
Although pregnancy has taught me this valuable lesson, each of our days are filled with “pregnant” opportunities to embark on the journey of co-creation. So as God invites you to participate in co-creating life here on earth, don’t forget that it’s not for sissies!
Heather Mustain serves as minister of missions at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. An advocate for global missions, Heather graduated from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University with a Master of Divinity and a Master of Social Work. This post originally appeared as an article in Wilshire Baptist Church’s newsletter.