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I was a really, really big pregnant lady. What I mean is, I was enormous. When I was barely six months pregnant with our first son, I was asked, "Are you carrying twins? Are you due any day?" Back-to-back questions from shocked strangers. What is it about being a pregnant lady that makes you fair game to anyone? And you could tell I was pregnant from every angle. I wasn't a demure pregnant lady who-from behind-looks like every other woman. No, you could tell I was pregnant from a mile away. By how I looked. By how I waddled.
Anyway, what I want you to understand is that during my pregnancy, my body grew, stretched, became ... quite large.
Even my feet grew. In my eighth month while out shoe shopping with my own mother, I hurriedly escaped from the store after she asked the salesman, "Do you carry big shoes? Really, really big shoes?"
Yes, my body changed. But even as my stomach grew beyond comprehensible proportions, there was another kind of stretching going on-a deeper, slower, more substantial enlargement. My heart was getting bigger, as well.
My heart began to grow with the first flutter of joy at the prospect of becoming a mother. It increased when I felt the first butterfly movements inside my body that the book I was reading said was my unborn child. It grew when I felt my first substantial kick, and it continued to grow as my husband and I watched our baby do aerobics inside my belly.
Becoming a mother is an amazing thing. Just ask a woman to tell you her birth story or her adoption story, and she will gladly do so with the same zeal as a soldier recounting a victorious battle. When I held my son for the first time, when he nursed at my breast, when I traced his cowlick with my fingers, I felt a stirring in the depths of my soul. It shocked me. I hadn't been this moved since I first surrendered and invited Jesus to come and take his rightful place in my heart as my King. I loved my husband passionately ... but this! This was altogether different. This fierce, abandoned, protective, devoted love was wholly new and profound. I had become a mother. Everything in the world changed.
Now, not only had my body grown, but my heart had expanded to the point that it no longer fit inside me. It now took the form of an eight-pound mystery that was intensely vulnerable and demanding and hard to figure out. Those first few weeks were tenuous, scary.
What am I saying? It's still tenuous and scary. My heart is out and about, walking around in three young men in a world that is beautiful and fallen, wonderful and dangerous.
Motherhood is a hard thing. As time passes, our babies are born and leave the safety of our wombs; they crawl and walk and then run away from us. In fact, a good mother is working toward the day when her son or daughter will healthily and happily live completely independent of her.
The joy of being a mother is so very closely linked with the sorrow of being a mother. It is holy ground.
Excerpted from You Are Captivating by Stasi Eldredge Copyright © 2007 by Stasi Eldredge. Excerpted by permission.
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