I’m not sure when I learned that a woman is born with all of her eggs.  It might have been when I was in seventh grade, being tortured by my state-mandated health education class.  It could have been when I was in my early twenties, hanging out with friends at college, trading odd facts and little-known tidbits.  Or maybe it was when I was in my mid-thirties, when my friends and I started worrying about our aging eggs and whether or not we could have children.  

In my late thirties, after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, I began to marvel at the fact that my eggs were inside of me for my whole life and then produced a vibrant little girl.  I looked at my tiny baby Jessica, with her delicate hands and wobbly neck, and I realized that all the eggs she would ever have were already inside of her.  Then I realized that all of my daughter’s eggs were created while she was still in my womb.  My girl couldn’t sit up yet, but the seeds of my potential grandchildren were created before my daughter left my womb.

            I don’t mean to take full credit for creating Jessica’s eggs.  In truth, I can’t say if she created her own eggs while she was inside of me, if I created them inside of me, or if they were created by some greater force.  No one can explain the mystery of life.   But I’m pretty sure God trumps.  Additionally, if I take credit for creating the eggs that are inside of Jessica, my mother will take credit for creating the eggs that were inside of me when I was inside of her – in particular, she’ll take credit for creating the egg that became Jessica. (Can’t have that).

Then I realize that the egg that I grew out of was first created while my mother was still inside my grandmother’s womb.  I begin to wonder if, genetically speaking, I am more closely linked to my grandmother than my mother.  I wonder if that’s why my sisters and I are short like my grandmother. I start to wish I had gotten my grandmother’s incredible health.  (Up until she was seventy one, she bragged that she had been in the hospital only three times — once to give birth to George, once to give birth to Arnold and once to give birth to my mother!) 

            My daughter Jessica might decide to wait until she is forty to have children, and, in lieu of extenuating circumstances, those children will still come from the eggs which are inside of her today -- all that potential life, just waiting for the right moment (and hopefully the right guy).  I waited until I was thirty seven to have Jessica.  (which is a whole ‘nother argument with my husband, that I’m not going to get into right now, but the point is…)  My eggs lay dormant for thirty seven years and then produced a living, breathing being (who’s absolutely incredible, if I do say so myself).  Birth truly is miraculous.

Doctors tell us we do not create any new eggs after we are born, but on closer examination, I think we do.  We produce the eggs of the next generation.  We pass on our gift before we let our daughters leave our wombs. 

            Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the key role my husband, and men in general, play in this extraordinary process.  For we all know the egg is only half the story, and contains only half the genetic code.  Whereas the eggs of future generations can be decades old, the seeds from fathers are usually less than a few days old.  While the eggs from the mother were born in a different day and age, the father’s seeds are newly created, everyday, from our world today.  And so, when an egg is fertilized, the old and the new, the enduring and the transient join together and life transcends in a way that we can never fully comprehend. 

Today, I watch my daughter laugh, learn, play, and grow.  And I know that I did not create her life, but at the same time, I got to be a partner in the process.  Like so many others, I got to be the vessel.  I got to feel creation occurring within my body and I got to feel a new life coming into this world, through me.  It’s the closest I’ve ever felt to God’s presence.  Now, when I look at children, I catch myself marveling at life.  Children are incredible reminders of the mystery and power of God.