It’s Friday, February 24, 2017. I’m 15 weeks pregnant. My head is stuffed with mucus, my stomach is turning, I’ve barely pooped in three months, and a second person I’ve yet to meet is living inside me.
In five-ish more months, my amniotic sac will rupture and I’ll leak amniotic fluid out my vagina onto the floor. That will be only the beginning of all the gross things that will come out of me as I pee myself and poop on the delivery table while nurses scurry to clean up after me so I don’t drop a baby into my own filth. Eventually I will deliver a baby through my vagina, and shortly after, a bloody placenta. And the bloody tissues of my enormous uterine linings will drain from my body for weeks, while I take home my baby and start getting to know this separate person who grew inside me. I’ll change its diapers and my own sanitary pads. I’ll feed it the new secretions from my newly enormous nipples.
These are the things on my mind on February 24th as I lie on the couch, fending off a migraine, hoping to fall asleep while a rerun of Supernatural plays on the tv.
It’s one of my favorite episodes. The brothers Sam and Dean are trying to prevent a war between angels and demons that will bring about the end of the world – but they’re nearly out of time as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are already here. They confront the horseman Pestilence, who’s been posing as a doctor in a nursing home whilst gleefully passing out deadly plagues to the elderly. With human vomit splattered across his face, he opines:
“Disease gets a bad rap, don’t you think? For being filthy, chaotic. But really, that just describes people who are sick… So, you’ve got to wonder why God pours all his love into something so messy.”
Lines like that are why I’ve watched 11 whole seasons of this teen drama over the past two years. Behind all the demon-battling and monster-slaying, the question of why humanity matters is really the central question of the show. Why does God favor filthy, wrong-headed humans over the perfection of angels? Why does God choose something so messy?
Yet God does, or at least we believe God does. Regardless, we believe there’s something special about humanity. Something worth believing in even as we let each other down over and over again. Even as we suffer and grieve and deteriorate. As we clean up our own and other people’s vomit. Something in us still insists, this life is sacred.
I have a hard time making sense of it, but I think I’m getting better. It’s not, I think, that you can’t have good without bad, joy without pain, beauty without ugliness. But I think I can vaguely see how the pain and wrongdoing in life makes the good in life matter. I can kind of see how the grossness and odors and bodily fluids give love its meaning.
So, as I’m starting out on the most beautiful – and the most painful, and the absolute grossest – phase of my life so far, I’ll be trying to celebrate all parts in equal measure.
The beauty, and the boogers.