Last night I sat with a powerful woman drinking coffee in an anonymous strip mall. It could have been anywhere in America but it was halfway between where she and I were. A place to meet. And I we sat and talked she told me stories and I remembered some of mine.
I remembered being pregnant with Max. I remembered how tired I was, how much work it was just to be. How the simple act of walking from one place to the other would require me to rest, put my feet up, retreat. I remembered how on one hand I was doing nothing to actually grow this child and yet how I was doing everything to grow him. How this very creative act left me with no energy for anything else and yet…how it felt so strangely not me.
I remembered the not knowing, the fear, the waiting. I remembered the feeling that the end would never come or that rather I had no idea what the end would actually be like. How would I be as a mother? What would this child be like? What would it be like to cradle, nurse, nurture this child? How would it impact me as a woman? How would it impact my marriage? The answers to these questions were imminent but nevertheless hidden, unknowable, unfathomable.
I was changing before my very eyes, but at the same time I couldn’t see how. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once.
I was changing before everyone else’s eyes and friends and strangers couldn’t help but comment on the changes. The shape of my belly, the look in my eyes, the thickness of my hair. They all saw the changes but we all acknowledged these changes to be temporary. I had no idea what would come next. How life would be forever changed by this journey I was on.
I remembered the day that I sat in the airport and thought my water had broken. I called the midwife from my cell phone trying to keep calm. I was only 5 and 1/2 months along. She was calm and cool even as she told me the news. It could have been my water…But it could also equally have been a simple, small, harmless infection. I asked her what I should do–Should I get to the emergency room? Rush somewhere to save my baby? She said, “No”. There was no use in rushing. If my water had broken there would have been no saving. There was nothing to do but get on the plane and go home and sleep, hope that labor would not come. In the morning they would check me. A good outcome was all in the hands of faith–out of my control.
Pregnancy–this metaphor has sat heavy on my mind as I think here I am, pregnant again. Not with a child, but with a new life. I am in the words of my dear friend drinking her latte, “pregnant with myself”, pregnant with this next phase of my journey. I am pregnant with a life I cannot see, I cannot touch though I feel it stir inside me now and again. I wonder about it but now its out of my hands, mostly. I try to picture what it will look like, what it will feel like to hold this life in my hands and I know that there is no way I can imagine it, no matter how hard I try. I might as well just rest with my feet up for the process of getting to here has exhausted me so. I am doing nothing and yet I am tired. I am so tired. I have no energy left for anything else. Not for writing or playing my guitar or even gardening today. I am just so tired from the act of creating myself anew.
I think tonight about how so many generations of women spent their whole lives in the cycle of pregnancy, birth and the celebration of new life. I realize that now I am not that different, that none of us are. And while birth control or choices about family size have changed the physical realities of pregnancy, if we are honest we are in a constant cycle if only metaphorically–pregnant with possibilities and dreams, birthing of one’s self, creativity, and celebrating a new life, new growth, new beginning. Of becoming new again.