December 20, Advent 4B (Luke 1:26–38)
We are still asking Mary's question: How will this be?
How will this be? I never planned to be postpartum in a pandemic. It was late January when I finally felt the waves of contractions pulsing through my abdomen. We had expected our daughter much sooner—due on Epiphany, my family was certain she would come by Christmas. But as the early days of 2020 stretched on, I watched my due date come and blandly go, before fading from my memory behind a scaffold of growing anxiety.
My baby would not budge. We joked then that the protruding kicks and stretches were actually her taking measurements and putting up curtains. We joke now that perhaps she sensed the year to come in ways we did not.
When she finally arrived I found myself immersed in a liminal space between newborn snuggles and newfound sadness, getting acquainted with this precious human who once called my body home, a place I no longer recognized. I measured her every exhale with awe and wonder while internally fighting the plunging sense of foreboding that the dance in her lungs might suddenly cease. Dusks gave way to dawns as I held tightly, fiercely to the miracle before me, as anxiety quietly gripped my dreams for my daughter, suffocating the inches of my peace. I did not know I would tremble at the world I brought her into, a world I wished to be her oyster, but in a country where her very embodiment, her Blackness, would be despised.