THE bathroom, an empty box and the phone.
The image of a woman alone, in a bathroom, with a pregnancy test box and a phone in her hand is not always the joy-filled experience that we imagine.
I’ve had to make a panicky purchase of a pregnancy test and then quickly sneak into the shopping centre bathroom, with the kids, to learn the truth.
I bought lollipops to keep the children quiet and abate their loud questioning about what I was doing.
I know I’m not the only one who’s done this.
The kids sucked their lollipops faithfully while I was trying with all my power to stay calm as I scrambled to open the little white box and face my future.
I would argue that this is the pointiest experience of being a woman. It could deliver her to elation or grief, or both.
I believe it to be one of the most vulnerable moments a woman can have.
It reminds me of when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and he asks his father, “Let this cup pass from me, but your will not mine be done” (Matt 26:39). And the sweat drops like blood in his effort to be united in his father’s will.
In my reflection, this experience of Christ’s suffering mirrors the woman’s experience of discovering whether she is pregnant or not.
In scripture it is also a great time of temptation for Jesus.
The serpent of lies is close and teasing Jesus to take the easy way out.
No woman is immune of the doubts and fears that surround the early experience of knowing they are pregnant.
A woman’s whole sense of “a hope and a future” (Jer29:11), can slip from her view.
She is vulnerable and this can make her available to temptation.
A woman can arrive at the pregnancy test moment from many pathways.
It could have been years of negative pregnancy tests, even expensive fertility care and a daring hope each month.
This is her moment to prove if she, a woman, is now a mother to be.
The bathroom is the stage on which the woman’s heart might be broken again and she is potentially delivered to the tumultuous journey of trying again or a seed of hope is planted.
Then on the other hand, an unexpected arrival of a little person already growing.
A woman’s heart and mind could be in any frame when she takes the test.
I am a mother of five, I have had more negative pregnancy tests than positive.
No family has come about easily, lots of pregnancy test boxes, phone calls and emotions.
I know many women who have fallen pregnant in the face of adversity and carried their pregnancy to birth.
These women are my heroes.
When I was fifteen years old my mother spoke words into my womanhood that changed my life.
She was taking a nap late one afternoon and she called me into her room before I went out with some school friends.
She said, “Carrie, if you ever get pregnant, no matter what, you will have the baby and I will help you.”
I was affected by the strength of her tone.
I didn’t hang around for more questioning or fuss, I just said, “yes mum,” and I went about my evening.
The power of this advice has stayed with me, that in the event of pregnancy, the choice was made.
Without my mum’s words I didn’t have a planned and informed response ready.
My mother’s advice are like Christ’s words in the garden of Gethsemane.
It could be said like this…“I am pregnant and I know this means I am laying down my life, I do not know what my future holds at the moment, I am open to the sacrifice this could draw from me, this changes the plans I had for my life, but your will not mine be done.”
We need to inform the minds of young men and women that when they are in the bathroom or on the end of the phone or with an empty pregnancy test box, that there is already an answer to this question.
Give hope through your words to the young women in your life, give them an informed response for their emotions, their hearts for when they are on the edge of their seats watching the lines be drawn.
By Carrie McCormack
Carrie is a Brisbane Catholic mother of five. She leads a mission called Mother Effect which seeks to grow positive mother culture.