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Pregnancy and Old Age



Pregnancy and Old Age

By Mariam Shouman

As I waddle through my seventh month of my fourth pregnancy, it occurs to me that God has granted women a unique opportunity. We don’t have to get old to appreciate the blessings of good health and a body that works the way it should. God has given us a preview of old age in the form of pregnancy. Suddenly we wake up one morning and it’s as if we’ve been given different bodies… and it only gets worse as pregnancy progresses! The aching hips and back, the shortness of breath, the swollen feet, hemorrhoids , sometimes even high blood pressure … it just doesn’t seem right that all these ailments should befall a woman in the prime of her life!

But the good news is: it’s only temporary! And once you’ve been through it, you will never take your health for granted again. No miracle cure can compare to the marvel of giving birth. You stagger into the hospital in pain, sporting a belly of phenomenal proportions and a few (or a lot of) hours later, you’re back to being just you again. Yes, the belly hasn’t completely disappeared, but instead of being stretched tighter than a drum, at least now it’s soft and wobbly and susceptible to a bit of exercise – heck, you can even sleep on it! Suddenly the water you’ve been retaining since you got your positive pregnancy test results rushes out of your body. You can walk without waddling and can even see your feet! Astonishingly, you can breathe deeply again! You’ll be able to get out of a chair without even thinking about it! No one will even consider helping you up. In short, you will have your youth magically returned to you and even if you’re still feeling a little tender and fatigued immediately after the birth, you know that the worst is over. I’m already daydreaming of the day when I’ll be able to sleep on my back again.

But even as we leave pregnancy behind, we carry the lessons we’ve learned with us. To me, pregnancy built a wonderful empathy with my grandmother and the plight of the elderly in general, an understanding of what it means to be unable to do some simple physical task or to be unable to tolerate one more minute of physical discomfort. Yes, everyone, even the most self-absorbed youth, sympathizes with the aches and pains of age, but a woman who has been pregnant will always and forever be able to understand them because she’s already been there.

Now let’s compare our temporary and very wonderfully productive brush with old age with what men have to look forward to. Most men live their entire lives blissfully expecting their health to last forever until Bam… One day they get something and sometimes there’s no turning back. Their first brush with mortality is so much more depressing than ours. I mean, they actually have to get sick or old to understand what it means to be in less-than-perfect health. We get to go through a wonderful (albeit challenging) experience that ends in a new life coming into the world and at the same time gives us insight into what it means to be elderly or infirm. This experience teaches us that we can’t take our bodies or our health for granted, while also demonstrating to us just how much we can take. I don’t mean to be supercritical of men (it’s probably just the stage of pregnancy I’m in) but haven’t you ever noticed how upset they get when they have a slight fever or a bit of a cold? To them, this is the worst that they’ve ever seen and they can’t imagine that they can put up with anything more. But when we get a cold, we think, “Hey, this is nothing! I went through child birth and pregnancy!”

So for all you ladies out there, who are working their way through pregnancy, try to remember – God’s teaching you one heck of a lesson that will change your life and your perception forever.

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