At some point I will cease being surprised by the sight of my body in the mirror, right? I have never been this big. My curves have never been so … pronounced. All those years of being slight and petite have prepared me little for my current form. Ladies and Gentlemen on the Metro bus: I am Christine, Now In Greater Volume! Standing room only? Pshaw. Side seats? You’re alright with brushing elbows, right? Rubbing shoulders? Good.
I am becoming a mother. Oh My God, I am becoming a mother. There is a developing human inside of me. It is like reading about Yellowstone and then seeing it in person. No, it is like reading about Yellowstone, seeing pictures in Google Image Search, hearing your relatives’ drunk friend go on about the beauty of Yellowstone at a fourth of July party, and then going there yourself. Those were not just pretty pictures! This is not something that happens to other people! It is possible! It is real! It is here, happening to you.
I am not ready for this. Everyone tells me that I am in good company. They’ll say that my companions include the entirety of the parent population. “If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never become a parent.” No one is ready. No one can be prepared, they’ll say, and most kids turn out OK.
At the same time, these stories about universal unpreparedness are kind of like hearing that the dragon you are about to battle with was slayed only by folks who lacked prior training and came armed with dull cutlery. You too, spoon in hand, will succeed, they’ll say, pointing at the fire-breathing lizard staring you down.
…Really? Gosh I hope you are right. I mean, all those other folks look like they know what they are doing. I look like I am ready for soup.
In this phase, my child exists as an abstraction and a compulsion towards to-do lists. Sure, I can feel my womb expanding as I watch my wardrobe shrink. Each article of clothing has been finding its way into the green sterilite container for my pre-pregnancy clothes. There was the sonogram. There is hearing my child’s heartbeat. But really, my husband and I have been making plans, lists, and contingency strategies for all the possible outcomes we can think of. This is uncharted territory for us, so our impulse is to draw maps.
Our plans have no hope of accuracy. We charted the world before we visited it. Right? We know this. Sort of. It is not as though we’re ready to completely acknowledge that to be true. The kid is not born yet, after all.
If there was any point of life to become comfortable with uncertainty, to let go of expectation, it is now. What will be, will be.
I tell that to myself and then realize that OMG there is a human growing inside of me!
More on this, in future posts.