I saw this photo and it touched me deeply. The phrase that sprang into my mind was, "It's what's on the inside that counts." I giggled to myself, but these words have never rang more true to me as they do with pregnancy. This may be repetitive to you if you've been following my blog, but I've had a hard time with everyone commenting on appearance. Mine, and pregnant women in general. It's like it's the only thing anyone can, wants, or knows how to talk about. They compare you to others, or their former pregnant selves, they hijack your stories to talk of their own experience, and they offer unwelcome advice.
It's hard enough to trust your own body, which is now doing something it's never done before, and get comfortable in skin you've never lived in before. With all the information out there, books to read, the focus narrowed to our outward appearance of what our growing bellies look like, all that's sacred about pregnancy is easily lost in the shuffle.
I've had quite an internal struggle with the concept of trust. The further I get and can look back on my pregnancy, I see (knock on wood) it's been fairly smooth sailing. The problem is, I've spent the majority of my pregnancy afraid of what my body will or will not do. It's been a time of great stress for me. It's been eye opening to see that for most of my life I haven't trusted my own body. I've been waiting for it to fail me in some way, and for no reason. It hasn't done so yet.
Why aren't we helping to empower pregnant women instead? Why aren't we simply listening to whatever they choose to share about their experience, or expressing genuine happiness for them and leaving it at that? Why do we instead offer unsolicited advice? Or tell them they look bigger than her, or smaller than her? How is this helpful in any way? Why aren't we connecting deeper as not only women and mothers, but as fathers and humans?
This is the time to reshape the frame we hang any and all ideas of what womanhood and human life mean.
I am reminded once again that life and birth are part of the same whole. Until you experience it (especially that earth-shattering first), there is no way you can fully relate. With both there is transformation. There is the deepest permanence. An end, and a beginning. A metamorphosis that can only come with life, and with death.
It's a rearranging of identity, and purpose, and intention of how we will now choose to live.
It can be fun to document through imagery a growing belly. For my sake mostly, but also for my family and friends. But that's just the external. Belly size, maternity clothes, and weight gain are the last on the list of what's interesting about pregnancy, not to mention what matters.
It's my journey of pregnancy, yes. But even more, it's his journey. It's his journey into life.
I'm merely a vessel.
I prefer to concentrate on the depth of what this experience is as the two of us race toward the finish line. Our combined energy is palpable. I prefer to think about how I will explain the world to him when he is here. I'd rather wonder how sensitive, dreamy, and wise my little pieces may or may not be, and how no matter what he is I will never label it. I will never tell him he should be one thing, or should not be another, or should have any other interest or love than whatever he will innately bring into the world. I will teach him from day one that the universe is vast, the possibilities are endless, and the only right way is the right way for him. I'd rather focus on what it may feel like in six-ish weeks from now when my body, heart, and soul crack open in ways I can only begin to fathom. When I get to meet someone I somehow know, but have never seen.
This, this, all of this...
This is for him.
"There is no way out of the experience except through it, because it is not really your experience at all but the baby's. Your body is the child's instrument of birth."
xo Deena Marie