In this heartfelt piece, Jerika Ejercito-Aguilar fondly looks back on her last pregnancy—moments before the birth of her daughter.
The original plan was always three kids—three boys to be very specific. But we got a bonus one on our first round when we had our twin boys, Daniel and Michael. Since then, our family has grown to include one more.
And at some point, in the next few weeks, the fifth baby in my belly will leave her cozy home and join us in ours.
On Being a “Boy Mom”
Within our first year of marriage, we had our magic number—our three boys. I knew then that I was still longing for another child. As God would have it, 8 months after giving birth to our twins, we found out that I was pregnant with our fourth son, Moses.
Honestly, I never thought that I was destined to have a girl. I always felt I was built to be a “boy mom”. But after having my four healthy boys, there was a little thought that occupied my mind. “I wonder what it’s like to have a girl?”
One year and three months later, my husband and I found out that we are having our fifth child—a girl.
My Family, Finally Complete
So considering all factors, my family is finally complete. And this means only a few weeks (or less) of growing life inside my body. This is the very chapter of my life when my connection with a person who is part of me, but not—independent of movement and thought and still connected, literally and figuratively, to my body and soul—is ending for good.
No more baby or babies in my belly. Just me, my “normal” body again—a bit stretched, a bit softer, slightly wobblier, but more purposeful and definitely much wiser.
I know I am done being pregnant. I know it. I feel it and I am sure about it. I am tired, I am in pain in places that I never knew existed. I miss pushing my body to the limit, either working out or for a crazy night out or in. Not to mention sushi and oysters! I am so done.
But I am also very aware that there will never be life inside me ever again—that this is the last time I get the chance to grow a human being. When I felt this little lady kick for the first time, I thought, “Oh yes, that’s what it feels like.”
In just one and a half years, I had forgotten. I know I will forget again. Being pregnant isn’t something you can capture in a picture or on paper. The growing belly, yes. But those infinite and extremely small moments, no. It is and can only be a phase. This too shall pass, with all of its implications.
My Pregnancy: A Holistic Journey
In a life spent fighting loneliness, pregnancy is a time of certainty and security. You are never alone.
Yes, eventually, they will come out, they will grow up, they will leave. But for these 8 to 9 months, you are more than whole. You are singular and multiple. There is so much awe and so much wonder as your body just does it—without intention or instruction. This is the opposite of willing yourself to put one foot in front of another. While you eat, sleep, and work, you never forget—your body grows people. It is simply a miracle.
Reflections on My Last Pregnancy
For me, right now, the chapter is coming to a close. The joy and heartbreak of the last pregnancy aren’t mutually exclusive, of course. It’s very possible to feel a myriad of emotions: sad that the experience is complete, happy to have your body back, and excited to meet these little people whom you’ve been cooking so judiciously.
It is especially poignant compared to other times in our lives when we’re asked to hold two seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time. I want these babies out of my body and into the world. But I will never have the experience of creating and nurturing human being(s!) inside my body again. And soon, I will go back to normal.
The more I think about it, pregnancy is like a trial for parenthood. I’ve always lamented that being a mother is a constant push and pull—an unending series of holding onto two conflicting ideas and truth. I want to be so close to them that our bodies melt into one. But I too crave space—a lot of space! At the same time, I feel guilty when I do something outside of being a mom and miss a second of their childhood.
Overall, pregnancy and parenthood just throw everything at us all at once. There’s the joy and pain of a heart more full than we ever thought possible and a heart that’s broken by change, separation, distance.
On Caring for My Daughter
In these last weeks, I must be present. I must feel each movement and sear it into my brain—even though I know it’s a lost cause. I will feed my daughter and nurture her and sustain her to the best of my ability. I will close my eyes and sense her spirit and imagine her face. I will set aside the pain and the stretch marks and the anxiety… and hold her tighter than I will ever be able to again.
I won’t be pregnant anymore and it will both be joyful and devastating. I will begin the long slow march back to a regular body. It will be hard and it will be rewarding.
But every day, I will look at my children and know in my heart that many things that seem contradictory and yet still be wholly, equally true. That miracles don’t only occur on the inside. That I will never be pregnant again, but they will always be part of me. And that for these little people, every moment of delight and despair has been and always will be worth it.
Wife to Miquel Aguilar, mother to 4 boys: Isaiah, Daniel, Michael and Moses. Believer of Jesus Christ. Her enthusiasm with skin care lead to a local brand called Bloom & Topiary. And her love for God lead her to be a part of a ministry called At The Well.
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