On my 90th birthday, I find myself grateful that history doesn’t always repeat itself.
My name is Sarah, and I’ve endured jokes for the last 65 years because I married a man named Abraham. They range from wondering if he’s ever tried to pass me off as his sister, to telling me to be sure I keep an eye on him whenever the maid is here. I’ve been comparing myself to the Biblical Sarah for so long, and now that I’m 90 I find myself very glad that I’m not her.
The last thing I’d need would be to find myself pregnant.
I love Abe, and our love life couldn’t have been better, but these days it’s usually quite awhile between close encounters. So even if my hormones hadn’t departed for parts unknown years ago, I’d say it would be a surprise to both of us if Abraham suddenly got frisky. I know that God can do anything, and I remember enough Bible to know what happened to the biblical Sarah when she doubted God, so I’m not ruling it out completely.
But I can see it now. For one thing, they’d all think Granny had lost it.
First, they’d think it was Alzheimer’s. Second, they’d be sure my morning sickness was some sort of stomach flu, or even a serious stomach disorder. They’d ship me off to some gerontologist who’s half my age, and he’d look down at me through his glasses and solemnly order some Pepcid. Sorry, Dr. Doogie Houser. That wouldn’t do it.
Poor Abraham wouldn’t believe it, either. Though he’d probably be willing and able to cooperate, he’d never believe that my womb could have a rebirth. I don’t think he’ll ever forget the mood swings and hormone surges of my menopause. He can positively confirm that I’m out of the Baby Business.
Once the doctor confirmed the miracle, it would be interesting to see the look on the faces of the people at the Medicare office. I’m sure I’d be visited by someone in their Fraud Department, or be getting a call referring me to Psychiatry.
As my stomach grew, the children and grandchildren would helpfully recommend articles about weight loss in the elderly, and I’d see less gravy and stuffing at the Thanksgiving dinner. They’d look at me sadly and tactfully send me sugarless candy, coupons for cottage cheese, and cutouts about the local senior exercise program. If I even insisted that I was expecting a child, they’d just laugh and think I was craving a visit from the grandkids.
When I was pregnant, there were no Lamaze classes or water birthing suites. I didn’t even have my children in a hospital. As a healthy farm girl, I gave birth to all five of them in my bedroom, with a midwife and my doting Abe. Today, once my insurance company accepted my condition, I’d be encouraged to sign up for Lamaze, and to make an appointment to book a Birthing Suite. Lamaze would be an interesting experience for me: they say you lie on the floor, with a pillow against your back, while your husband squats in back of you and coaches you in breathing. If Abe and I tried those exercises, we’d both end up on the orthopedic floor with hip fractures.
I don’t know if I’d be able to deal with labor at my age. Pain is not my best friend. Most days it already seems like I’ve got a corner market on painkillers because of my arthritis. But I guess if the Good Lord gave me a baby, He’d also give me a way to withstand the labor pains.
If there’s one thing I remember about having a baby, it’s how each precious child seemed to me as soon as I saw them. Each of those five times, I fell instantly in love with the beautiful gift from God that came from the hours of pain that preceded their birth.
The first few weeks are always tiring, and I wouldn’t really enjoy that much. On the other hand, at our age, we don’t sleep well most nights, so I guess we’d be up anyway. As for changing diapers, if you look in our linen closet, you’ll see a product called Depends. ‘Nuff said.
Babies. Sigh…. they sure are wonderful. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, after all.
But if Abe thinks I’d name the baby Isaac, he can forget it.
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