11 weeks: Childbearing and suffering

When we went to our doctor for the first time, he gave us a medication to control and reduce nausea. And it works like magic. Cint rarely feels sick while during the medication. When we saw him again for the second time, he stopped the pills and the sickness started to kick in. Now the nausea nags like an unwelcome and unwanted guest who refuses to go home even when we have told him to. It dramatically reduces her appetite, and it is a wonder, really, to witness her not wanting to eat, as some of you could testify how she always finishes everything that’s put on the table.

(I’ve developed a theory to explain ‘craving’ based on this experience, which I will write in a separate post. It goes like this in a nutshell: ‘craving’ is defined negatively, it is not about wanting the most desirable food but the least non-desirable/most tolerable food.)

Nausea is not the only unwanted guest at our house (btw, it’s not only a ‘morning’ sickness, it’s more appropriate to call it 7-11 sickness). Now Cint also must endure heartburn and joint pains as her body continually changes to prepare the way of the coming of the little lord. Pregnancy, I guess, is one of those instances where suffering literally brings forth life. The mother suffers, in order to give life to her child.

And death is the ultimate form of suffering. Again, childbearing is one of those rare instances where death can bring forth life. Not many of you might have known this, but I lost my mom when she gave birth to my little sister twenty years ago. I was still eight years old at that time. I and my sister were staying at our grandmother’s house while waiting for our parents to return from the hospital with our new little sister. But, one morning, I woke up listening to cries from my grandmother and my aunts. Not knowing anything, the next place we went to was not the hospital, but to a funeral home. The memory of that morning is still vivid on my mind. I still remembered how I asked one of my uncles where my mom was, and he answered that she was sleeping now. But then I read the sign on the funeral home and there I learnt that my mom has passed away and she was not going to be with us anymore. I still don’t know the detailed story of her death (I only knew that it was due to excessive bleeding), as my father never told us about it. I guess he is still scarred from it, and I can completely understand if he doesn’t want to talk about it ever. My little sister’s life, then, comes through my mother’s death. Childbearing is inextricably linked with pain and suffering, it is not only a sign of life but could also be a sign of death, it is, indeed, a sign of the whole creation which is groaning in labor pains while waiting for its redemption from futility (Rm 8.19-23).


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