I suddenly feel as if birth is right around the corner, only a few months away, and I want to prepare myself. The sensation of an event such as birth approaching as the logical end to pregnancy is a profound reckoning. As I write this a baby boy nudges my abdomen reminding me that he is alive and well, strong, vigorous and preparing to change my life. How does one prepare for something unpreparable for?
reckoning |ˈrekəni ng | noun: the action or process of calculating or estimating something
There is much to be done, and little to fret about. The inner world is where I have been dwelling, and yet at the same time navigating the path towards that which I need. The first step is recognizing the needs and desires. Some days it feels as if the baby is commanding the ship and I curiously follow his strong handed steer. I wake up thinking about cream or croissants and can spend the better part of an hour considering what kind of sandwich I’d like to consume.
I hardly ate meat before I became pregnant with this boy. Now when I walk along the river in the winter, I wonder how I would do in the wild. In the fall, I saw the green shoots pushing up through the ground and thought of the deer. If that was all there was to eat, I would graze that patch too. But my body said – no, I want you to hunt a wild pig and spit-roast it over a fire. I don’t even like pork. I generally steered clear of saturated fat and animal protein. Oh how this pregnancy is teaching me to stay fluid, to let go of every habit, to honor the body’s wisdom – both my own and the boy growing within.
It is heavenly to be home with Isaac. The baby kicks my insides while Isaac sings and talks through my body. How is it possible that a small person is growing inside me? From two single cells, we have created life. I think of his heart beating deep and regular, and realize that it too will feel love and pain, desire and loss. I think of his mind and how it will grasp the things of the world and learn the non-things too, how it will grapple with the concepts we have created to make sense of it all.
How can I possibly capture everything?
Some nights as I lay in my husband’s arms laughing, smiling, blissfully alive, I think of death. It brings tears to my eyes. I don’t want it to end. I believe the experience of pregnancy and the imminence of birth reminds me of the presence of death. As we create life, we also create death. I have mourned the transience of life since my teens. “Don’t go soon,” says Isaac. “I don’t want to go!” How is it possible that we die? Everyone we know will die. I’m still coming to terms with this fact of life. The question becomes then, how to live life well? How do I want to spend these days? Down to this very moment? Isaac holds me in his arms and I cry and we drift towards sleep. I can’t imagine life without this love, which simply keeps expanding.
Pregnancy also reminds me of my own childhood and how far away it feels, which naturally summons the thought that each day brings me deeper into my life, towards death. I never imagined that the joy of bringing forth life would instigate thoughts about my own mortality, but it seems completely natural. Birth and death are inextricably linked. I have the sense that we both come from and return to the same place.
I have lost all sense of ambition. There is nowhere to get to, and yet, I am more committed than ever to the greater things of life: love, laughter, family, community. I am the creator of my life, and together we will steer our ship, sturdy that it is.
(Other strange requests from baby boy: loud dance music right by my abdomen. The way I interpret this is that he has his fathers’ love of the arena in his blood and is preparing for many trips on tour. I wonder if he’ll recognize Lady Gaga’s music when he comes out of the womb…)