As my 42-year-old, 30-week-pregnant wife and I were both changing and getting ready for bed, I looked at her and told her that I found her pregnant belly to be radiantly beautiful.
Looking down at her bare stomach, she smiled and said she felt like she’d finally moved into the “glowing belly” phase of this pregnancy. I smiled back and realized just how fortunate we were to be in the home stretch of the birth of our final child.
Then I felt a pang of sorrow. Sorrow for one of our married female friends who, while younger than my wife, has been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for… well, forever it seems. She and her husband are now looking into different fertility treatments. They will try multiple treatment options which, if proven to be unsuccessful, will be the deciding factor for them choosing to pursue adoption instead.
According to the CDC there are 6.7 million women ages 15-44 with an impaired ability to have children and 1.5 million married women ages 15-44 that are infertile. Not only that, but statistics indicate that estimates from embryo biopsy reveal that at least 90% of a woman’s eggs are genetically abnormal when a woman is over 40.
Those statistics alone remind me of the fact that healthy pregnancies and births really are miracles. With so many things that COULD go wrong, it is truly a wonder that any of us were born. Let alone born healthy. And yet, incidents of miscarriage or defect remain in the minority.
Because of this, I am a firm believer that there is no real mystery in pregnancy. Women were created to successfully navigate this miraculous process. It was by design. Something that I, as a man, will never experience and therefore can never fully understand. That is why my admiration is deep and grand.
And this is also why every time I look at my wife, I see a hero.