Thursday, May 19, 2016
Well, here I am in the third trimester. Baby girl is only about 75 days from joining our family. This has been a very exciting time for me. I wish I had taken more time to write about it. I want to memorialize some of what I am feeling. I find that people tend not to speak too deeply about the feelings raised by their pregnancies. I think part of this is because pregnancy -- a unique, transformative and introspective time -- is immediately replaced by new parenthood which is so intense and absorbing, it just completely overshadows what came before it. It may also have to do with the fact that a lot of women experience some turmoil in pregnancy and once baby arrives they are reluctant to acknowledge or share those feelings.
For me, this has been a deeply spiritual time which is a bit surprising. I would not ordinarily describe myself as a deeply spiritual person. But as the pregnancy progresses, and I feel this person becoming alive inside me, I have felt closer to the liminal edges of life, the thin surfaces that separate life from death, the sacred from the profane. The process of creation, of growth, has been really inspiring to me and has really opened my mind and heart to the what seems like more essential truths coming from some place other than my conscious mind.
Does that sound crazy? To give you some examples, I've been having extremely vivid, hyperreal dreams, which are not uncommon in pregnancy. But I seem to have also drifted into some instances of lucid dreaming, that is, having full fledged dreams while I am awake. They feel more like visions because they come to me unbidden. And though I know they are dreams, they are not really happening, I can also feel myself in my physical body -- the pillow against my face, the sheets around my body -- so I know that I am awake.
In one of these dreams, I was giving the eulogy at my mother's funeral. In real life, my mother is still alive. We have always had a difficult relationship but she has been very supportive in this pregnancy. In my dream, I stand before a crowd and fully acknowledge my role in the difficulties we have had in our relationship and express regret that it couldn't be different. I am crying at the podium, and simultaneously in real life, I could feel the tears dripping down my face.
Very powerful! I think this dream says a lot about my impending motherhood and the demons I feel I must exercise to take on this new challenge. One of them is finding some sort of way to deal civilly with my mother because that is my child's grandmother. As much as I have fought with my mother, I was always extraordinarily close to my grandmother and that role is sacred to me. So, what can I do to make sure my daughter can enjoy that bond? How must I change myself to facilitate what is best for her? And all of this came out of my unconscious mind!
A male friend asked me if I feel "diminished" by pregnancy. I had been complaining how tired I felt, how she was "siphoning" off my energy. And yet I was horrified by his question. Diminished? I feel empowered, emboldened, like I have the strength, the heart, the mind, the vivacity and the spirit of ten women. Sure I'm tired. . . but diminished? More like heightened.
He also asked me if I felt like a "vessel." Men are so funny. I've heard that "vessel" language all my life but not until I experienced it for myself could I see how inapt it seems. "A vessel? No, I feel more like portal."
A portal. A space between dimensions. A bridge.
A vessel can be emptied out. I don't think birthing my child will empty me. It will complete her transition from pre-life to life and the portal will be closed. But having opened it once, I'll be imbued with the knowledge that I can open it again and usher more souls across if I choose. Carry more people across in my little ferry to the living side of the River Styx.
Are these descriptions too lofty? Maybe once I am rooted in the viscera and mundanity of actual motherhood, these fleeting thoughts will seem too naive to acknowledge. That is why I am writing them down. I don't want to forget.