For the last five years, I have been either pregnant, nursing, or postpartum. It seemed like a significant moment when I took my last postpartum vitamin. It also felt strange that there was no celebration, no marker that happens after you have carried and nursed a baby. There is no fanfare or ritual that marks the end of that time where your body is the home and nourisher of another human life. It happens quietly.
It does seem fitting that this marker came during Advent, a time of waiting and watching because so much of motherhood is just that waiting and watching. There’s another part of Advent this year that I maybe haven’t had space for in the past. It’s very much a part of motherhood and nursing new life. Listening. Listening in the hallway to see if there is still crying or rustling or if your child has finally settled down for the night. Listening to see if there is anything else they need or if you are “off duty” for a bit. Listening and hoping that they are resting.
This Advent, I find myself listening to the silence. The silence that may have been filled with caroling or family gatherings. Silence where grief becomes tears shed for ones that we have lost and traditions that won’t be. I find myself wondering about this life we are leading where we are trying to keep each other safe. I wonder about the way we are carrying for the doctors and nurses who are carrying for the very sick. I wonder whether there will be celebration or fanfare when this stage of caring for life or whether it will be marked quietly.
Listening for the promise of prophets: “The Messiah is coming!”