I really enjoyed this article discussing the experience of being open to new life, written by a 30-ish woman who is the mother of 6 children. It's interesting, and many of her points really resonated with me. The day after reading the article, the gospel reading at mass was the Annunciation. Thinking about the openness of Mary, who was young, nervous, and vulnerable, to bringing new life into the world (and to what ends!) only got me thinking even further about what saying "yes" to the Annunciations within our own life truly means and requires.
Zosia was a very planned pregnancy. Ben and I started meticulously trying to get pregnant, and when we found out that we were expecting, it was joyful but also very expected. This pregnancy, on the other hand was not at all "planned." We were in the middle of our move between my parents house and our house when I realized that my period was late-- very late-- and, in total fear and trepidation, walked down to the pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test. When the test was positive (which, in my heart, I knew it would be), I laughed out loud, but was totally terrified inside. Zosia was still breastfeeding, and really seemed like a little baby to me (this was right after she turned one). She was still waking up at night to have a feeding, wasn't walking, or talking. I couldn't imagine having another little baby in the house. So, even though my circumstances are obviously more accomodating of pregnancy (I'm married, have a home, am a stay at home mom, have a loving and supporting husband and family), I get how Mary must have felt, just in the littlest way.
Within a week of finding out about the pregnancy, Zosia was a different baby. She weaned herself, started walking, sleeping through the night, and became much more independant (I'm wondering if this is God being showy). Now, several months later, we're totally overjoyed and excited about this baby girl, and can't wait for her to join our family. Somehow, my uncertainty and fear was turned into joy. I'm sure as this baby enters the outside world and becomes her own person and adult, that joy will only grow. So, while I make absolutely no promises of having six children (and might even be willing to make promises to the contrary), I can understand Mary Alice's decision to be open to as many new lives as possible. I think it's amazing that she's doing it. I hope that in my own life, I can be open to the Annunciations that God puts in my path, whether that's a new friendship, a new commitment, or in the most extreme case, a new baby.