Advent Day Thirteen: Traveling Pregnant

When I was five months pregnant with Elvis, I thought it would be a really fun idea to travel by plane with Lydia, who was ten months old, by myself, to meet Brandon and his baseball team in Florida over spring break.  As I maneuvered down the center aisle of the jet with Lydia on one hip and her car seat on the other, a diaper bag slung around my shoulder, and my significantly larger belly than my first pregnancy leading the way… this idea, maybe it was not so good, I thought.

A few years later, Elvis, Lydia, Brandon’s grandma Garnet, and I traveled by Grand Marquis (“the Mercury,” as they called it) from Ohio to Florida to meet Brandon after Christmas.  Brandon was working a bowl game in Florida, and we concocted a plan to get Grandma south for the winter, visit Brandon’s brother and sister-in-law, and also only drive one vehicle, buying one-way tickets home. I carried in all five of Grandma’s suitcases and our travel bags into the hotel room, and while Grandma did her geriatric exercises (“This is just what I have to do, Bran!”) and worried about where her eye drops were, the kids begged to go to the pool (closed for cleaning) and chased each other around the queen beds.  Meanwhile, Henry squirmed in my womb.

Life does not stop for pregnancies.

I love challenges like these: You don’t think I can handle this?  Watch me.  Watch me load my car with three of the loudest children ever birthed by a woman and drive to… anywhere!  The grocery store, the department store, a restaurant, the zoo, the movies, you name the challenge, I will jump on board.  At the end of the day, I will sink into the couch cushions, satisfyingly exhausted, and celebrate my triumph over a typical day of motherhood with a glass of merlot. Or Maker’s Mark, if I’m feeling especially accomplished.

The reasons people have to stretch themselves this way aren’t always rewarded by a personal geriatrics demonstration or the full-on open-faced snoring grandmother in the passenger seat. They don’t always result in meeting up with loved ones and settling into a week of relaxing in the sunshine, laughing about makeup cases and eye drops.

Joseph and Mary find themselves near the end of Mary’s pregnancy, summoned to return to Bethlehem for a census.  I’m sure that they didn’t want to go.  It becomes evident in the next few passages that they didn’t have family to stay with in town.  Echoing Jesus’ call to “render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” Joseph and Mary heed the edict to return to Bethlehem, obeying the government even though it is complicating their lives (there’s also the fun tidbit about fulfilling prophecies regarding the location of the Messiah’s birth, but that’s another day).

Life does not stop for pregnancies.

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” – Luke 2:1-5

Advent Activity: Popcorn and pajama movie night
It’s Friday, again, which means it’s movie night, again!  We recorded Home Alone, and I think that’s on the schedule for tonight.  Given their reaction to any kind of bloopers and Looney Tunes, I think they’ll love Home Alone.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

One thought on “Advent Day Thirteen: Traveling Pregnant

  1. Love this one. You're so right. Life does not stop for anything. There is something empowering about sporting a baby belly with other littles in tow. People watch. We are capable women doing a great work by bringing babies into this world! Mary was no different. I just love her.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: