by Peter Pellicaan
I’ve now watched my amazing wife carry and give birth to four children. Every time I have been amazed at the selflessness and sacrifice of saying yes to life. Whilst I as a father continue to go to work and stay within the relative routine of life, Leone’s life is completely interrupted at every level. Her body changes, her appetite increases, her general level of discomfort increases until by about 7 – 8 months into the pregnancy, just getting into a car or walking up a set of stairs is fraught with difficulty. In the last month there is the endless uncertainty of when baby is going to come. This waiting in itself creates a certain level of anxiety. When baby is finally ready to come, the intensity increases a hundred times over.
There’s the race to the hospital and then the birthing rollercoaster begins. This rollercoaster is completely unpredictable – it’s like trying to climb a really steep and rocky mountain blind folded. It gets harder and harder and you have no idea how close you are to the top! Every contraction is seemingly endless – 60 seconds feels like 60 minutes – even for the Fathers! Finally, after excruciating pain, blood, sweat and tears, a new life enters the world. A beautiful, innocent, precious life that immediately wants more of its mother. Whilst Leone is recovering from a horrendously painful ordeal, she is immediately continuing to give of herself as she nurses this new life that is completely dependent on her for survival.
Over the coming days Leone will not be free to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time as she continues to give up herself, her comfort, her sleep, her life so that our new baby can have life. Motherhood is an incredible gift - a Eucharistic gift. Just as Christ on the night he was betrayed broke bread and said ‘this is my body broken for you’ and ‘this is my blood, given for you’ so a mother who gives birth to a child says with her entire self – this is my body given for you, this is my blood given for you. Just as Christ gave up his life so that we could have life, so a mother gives up her life so that her child can have life. And this is the wonder of our Holy Mother. Before Christ could say those words of consecration, Mary would first give hers – her ‘yes’ at the annunciation was her declaring to God – this is my body given for you. ‘Be it done to me according to thy word.’ Let us thank God our Holy Mother who said yes to Christ, and for all mothers who give their lives in saying yes to life!