In the corner of my closet, a storage bin sits overflowing with maternity clothes in all sizes and styles. For the past six years, the ladies in my family have passed the bin from one sister to another like a torch of fertility and love. Our hearts rejoice for our expecting sister, but for me, underneath the surface runs a little stream of envy. I am elated at the news and excited to hand over the hideous clothes, but I always feel a little tug, a little prick. “I wish it were me. I wish I were the one getting a baby, a newborn with blushing pink skin to kiss and a little baby neck to nuzzle.” The wishing and the envying forced me to add a stipulation to ease the pain with the bin hand over, “You can borrow them, but I may need them back.”
Luckily right now, I don’t feel the envy. I am the envy. So, today on my frustrating search through the bin for something, for anything at all that would accommodate my bulging baby bump, I had this thought, “What if this time, is this very last time, I will need this bin? What if I never need parachute blouses and elastic waist bands with hideous panels again? Will I be okay if I never see the second line on a pregnancy test magically appear in pink just one more time? What if this is truly the last time my abdomen will stretch and expand to house and nourish a little one? Will my uterus ever be content without feeling the miracle of tiny kicks and flutters? Will it?”
I just want to know if a mother’s womb ever stops longing to be filled, full of flesh and bone, and life?
Is a mother still a mother without a child?
Does a mama bird still soar as high and hunt as fearlessly when her nest is empty?
Does she sing songs strung on notes of sorrow and grief after?
I don’t know if I will ever see a mother-to-be and not think of how I felt when I carried my children. Every emotion, every fear, every moment of bliss, I will now and forever remember, and each of my children, regardless of how far they travel in this life and into the next, will always carry a piece of my heart with them.
So, I am sure most of you are probably wondering if I will give the traveling maternity pants up without a fight. The answer is yes, but with one stipulation. They can borrow them, but I may need them back!