Fathom Mag
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Published on:
February 11, 2020
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2 min.
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The Two Week Wait

I chewed my nails down painfully low this week. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I never do. It’s a response to anxiety, even excitement, and I don’t know I’ve done it until I look down at my hands and see nails that even a good manicurist couldn’t fix. 

This time it happened during the infamous “two week wait.” That period of time between a woman’s ovulation and their predicted menstrual cycle, when they might be pregnant but it is too early to test. So you wait. And wait. And Google “early pregnancy symptoms” until you have convinced yourself that…

I’ve read the books. The ones that hold motherhood up as the truest expression of femininity, the most beautiful contribution a woman can make.
Rachel Joy Welcher

I think I am more tired than usual, and yes, my breasts do feel extra tender today.

I really wanted a hotdog for dinner tonight. A pregnancy craving? Wow, my little guy already has taste preferences, I wonder what we will name him…

Wait, stop it. You are not pregnant. You’re just hungry like you always are.

But I peed three times in the last hour! Frequent urination is a sign of early pregnancy!

Goodness gracious, stop getting your hopes up. Stop reading articles. Stop thinking about it. 

But I feel different this time.

Unless I am just convincing myself that I feel different...

Stop it. You are not pregnant.

But...what if I am? 

And so it goes, along with my nails and an entire box of pregnancy tests. Not my best week, I’ll tell ya. It’s funny how mood swings are almost exciting when you think they might be a sign of budding life. Then you start your period, and the cramping, the hunger, and the irritation feel like they are mocking you. I find myself crying inexplicably. Not sad tears, just the occasional hot, rogue tear, like a text message that reads: “fine.”

I’m fine. But I wonder sometimes if I am missing out on the most extraordinary part about being a woman. If someone stated that as a fact, I would write an angry Twitter thread about how a woman’s value does not come from her ability to procreate, but from the image of God inside her. Because that is what is true. Still, I have heard the sermons. I’ve read the books. The ones that hold motherhood up as the truest expression of femininity, the most beautiful contribution a woman can make. And most days, I can resist that narrative. But when you are ready to see two pink lines, and you only see one...a lot of thoughts bubble up, not all of them theologically sound. I try to fight them down.

Today, I write this sketch with an empty womb. And I am content with that. It is the potential of never bringing forth life, of accepting permanent emptiness in one area of my body, that leads me down a path of untruths about my worth. About the value of my contributions. My ability to fully understand and worship God. These are the thoughts that I must fight. Maybe you do, too. Because motherhood is beautiful. But so are you. 

Listen to this sketch

 

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine. She earned her Master of Letters in Bible and the Contemporary World from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and has written for The Gospel Coalition, Mere Orthodoxy, RELEVANT, and The Englewood Review of Books. Her book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality, is coming out from InterVarsity Press in 2020. Rachel lives in Glenwood, Iowa, with her husband, Evan, and their dog, Frank. You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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