The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning these days is to press my hand against my belly and ask the little one whether she’s awake, too.
Usually she noticeably moves then, and I smile because how could you not? There is another human growing inside of me! It’s still a mind-blowing concept to me that she’s actually in there. My body holds two now, I am less alone than I have ever been.
But in truth pregnancy has been isolating as well.
I had assumed the opposite, I was so sure this would bring me closer to everyone around me, but maybe I was naïve. Other than my mother and grandparents not a single relative of mine has congratulated us or even acknowledged that there is a baby coming. The same is true for some of my more distant friends. No calls, no emails, no texts, not even a Facebook like. So many people who matter to me have been notable in their absence of saying anything. And their silence sounds deafening.
Even with the people who are close, (and there are still those luckily!), it has been more complicated than I thought. Jo has never been pregnant nor does she want to be, so I am left with trying to describe to her what it feels like, but I’m not always sure I do it justice.
It’s like everyone is on one side of a mountain top, looking at a normal, average sort of sunset. The kind that’s nice enough, but there are hundreds of them. Only I suddenly find myself on the other side of the mountain, and it’s storming there, strong winds are nearly blowing me over, dark heavy clouds, the ground rumbles, and the sky, oh it’s brilliant orange and violet beyond anything I’ve ever seen, it’s overwhelming and terrifying and gorgeous!
But when I walk back to the other side and I try to explain to the others watching the normal sunset what just happened to me, some of them say ‘well it was your choice to go out there, what did you expect?’ Others nod when I tell them about it, but their eyes glaze over after a few sentences. Even with the ones who try to listen, I can’t fully explain what it was like. I desperately want to but I can’t seem to find the right words to make them feel it, too.
The only other times I have felt like this was when I have travelled through some far-away culture for months, come back and the whole world feels a bit off here. Everyone is talking about jobs and money, while my head is still full of volcanoes and ancient monuments and the Amazon river. It’s like that, it’s culture shock in reverse, only I didn’t go anywhere, now the adventure is happening inside my body and mind. Everything is changing at breakneck speed and I’m playing catch-up, I’m trying to find meaning and reality in it all and it’s overshadowing and underlying and surrounding anything else.
Someone asks me whether I will be at an event in November, and I say ‘well, I’m giving birth around then so…’
They ask about the month after then, and I am completely unsure what to say. It’s like in the notebook of my life there is a full stop there, and after that only blank pages. I will grow bigger and bigger, until… In my head I grow cartoonishly huge and then pop like a balloon. Pieces of me float through the sky while a red-faced baby cries and. Full stop.
I don’t know what comes after.
I don’t know who comes after. I am unsure about who will be left to hold this baby along with Jo and I, and I have no idea who I myself will be when it’s all said and done.
It’s a step in the dark doing this, a three-two-one hold your breath and jump!
We have time to figure it out, I know. So I tell the baby good morning, so I smile at feeling her kicks, so I write this. One way or another, I will tumble into motherhood. Mountains and all. :)