Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On joy, fear, and bacon

One common theme of my pregnancy has been the fear of talking too much about the joy of being pregnant. You see, I've been through the sadness of infertility, and I wouldn't have even read this very blog six months ago. I wouldn't have read it because 1)I wouldn't want to hear about someone's pregnancy, 2)I would've interpreted my own complaints as ungratefulness, and 3)I wouldn't want to know the details of happiness I was missing. There is a voice in my head that still warns me not to say too much about how great it is to be pregnant and how amazing it is that it happened for us when we least expected. But the truth is, this side of things must be expressed in order to pay respect to the joy I feel right now, joy that I may never have the opportunity to feel again and therefore must acknowledge right now.

I guess the advantage of having a new blog is I don't have much of an audience, and so it's not as if I've had a substantial audience who has been following my blog because of a certain theme (like infertility) that I suddenly switched to another (like pregnancy) that may sadden many readers. I myself have sympathetically and compassionately read blogs written by women going through so many struggles to get pregnant, and yet when they did I could not read any more. And these are women whose struggles went on for much longer than my own, with more complications. The thought that you may never be able to have a baby can really mess with your head and damage your heart. I wish, like these women, I had had the strength or accessible insight to blog through my experience with infertility, but I did not. All I wanted to do was get through each day, and many times I did not want to name my sadness or fears, nor did I want to try to make sense of it all. In those days, I did not know many people like me, but SP was my partner in suffering. It was a different kind of suffering from my own, but his sympathy and love were enormous and healing, and they got me through ...so much so that I found myself regularly wanting to give back to him, which may have been the most healing thing of all.

The joy that I feel from my relationship with SP is close in my heart to the joy I feel from being pregnant, and yet they are two very different things. I was so surprised in early pregnancy to realize that my fantasy of pregnancy bringing us so intimately close was not my reality. There were so many isolating things: the terrible sickness, the rapid changes in my body, crazy emotional (hormonal) outbursts, the raw fear that this thing in my body was so fragile and could fall apart without warning, shock that my body had gone from a flawed machine to a nurturing vessel and the resulting mistrust of it,... these experiences and feelings were not something the two of us could share, and I was frustrated to be "alone" in it. As I became a little less desperately ill and he got used to me in my new state, we began to share the experience more. When the babies started kicking a couple months ago, SP really felt a part of the experience much more than before.

But still, being pregnant, for me, is sort of like a sweet, unspoken secret, a mystery that I innately understand but would never be able to describe or solve. It is between me and the lives inside of me. And yet I don't talk to the babies a lot, nor do I put headphones on my belly to pipe classical music into the womb. I haven't written letters to them or started baby books in which I describe what they did in my belly or in which I glue their ultrasound pictures. For me, this experience is something sweeter than what those things can offer or mean. These babies are living in me, and I feel them in there. It is simply wild and thrilling. It needs no further explanation.

Of course the words "wild" and "thrilling" can also be closely related to the words "scary" and "risky." It's very scary for me to be unabashedly joyful about things that carry risk with them. Right now the risk is somewhat limited because I make choices that directly affect the babies. Yet, on the other hand I ultimately have little control over when they're born or the state of their health in the process of being born. It's like I want to reassure them that I can protect them no matter what, but I can't completely and honesty do that. So some doubt lives in me, putting a damper on the happiness I feel. I guess this will continue for as long as I am a mother.

But let's think of it in terms of bacon. I've seen my own mother make bacon. The more she cooks it, the more fat liquefies into grease in the pan. She takes the crisp bacon out and puts it on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up excess grease. And instead of throwing away the grease in the pan, she pours it into a little container, which she puts in the refrigerator so that she can use it for other purposes at some other time. What can I learn from this? Maybe I can acknowledge and even use the fear when it's needed, at some other time. But for now I'm going to try to separate the fear from the joy and appreciate the flavor and aroma and depth of the joy on its own. I'm going to try hard to do that today. Because this joy is so big that it demands attention. And because bacon is good.


Blogger Jen said...

You ok? We're not bored with the posting... just the Not Posting! :)

9:51 AM  

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