Starting Point
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Issue Date:  April 1, 2005

Starting Point

By MIKE DALEY

As with our previous two children, it had been hard for me to take ownership of this pregnancy. Despite my wife’s daily list of physical ailments and her noticeably growing abdomen week by week, I was not connecting. I knew what was going on from a medical and biological point of view, but I still felt like an emotional outsider to some degree.

The ultrasound changed all that.

For the first time, I was able to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I was also able to see the shape of the head followed by the arms, legs and body. The shape of the kidneys, stomach and heart appeared. I could even count all five fingers and all five toes. In a word, “Amazing.”

Right before my eyes, Jeremiah’s words were being realized: “Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel” (18:6). Here, through the miracle of technology, God the Potter was making her handiwork visible. Day by day, moment by moment, God was forming, shaping and molding new life with her very hands. A priceless, yet incomplete, work of art was before me.

Another image, God the Seamstress, emerged as well. Maybe it’s my penchant for things grandmotherly, but I really like this one. The Psalmist writes: “Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb” (139:13). With loving care and vision, stitch by stitch, loop by loop, she was weaving life before me.

If there was ever any doubt as to God’s feminine side, pregnancy evidences them in full display. How we men need to take an ever greater role in the process.

Alas, we could not see if it was a boy or a girl. Modesty? Perhaps. Some things must remain a mystery until the appointed time. Big sister Cara, though, is still hoping for a baby sister.

Mike Daley, a writer and teacher at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, recently edited with Bill Madges Vatican II: Forty Personal Stories.

National Catholic Reporter, April 1, 2005

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