These last few months have held the most achingly beautiful moments of my life, bubbling over with joy and newness. They have also been hard.
I was never one of those women who knew she wanted children, who felt that sure and steady beckoning to motherhood. No, I thought, mine is a life too heavy with ambition and big, hairy flaws, chock-full of dreams and Things to Figure Out. As it turns out, it still is – but here I am anyway, showing up for a journey that has already been fragrant with surprise.
If I could sift out a measure of courage, I would tell you that beneath my honest contentment is a thin layer of loneliness.
I would tell you this is not what I imagined.
I would tell you that every day brings a new worry about how we will shepherd a tiny soul with grace and kindness in this mad, mad world.
I would tell you about friendship, about the people one street over and across the world who remind me how precious it is to be cared for, how simple and lovely.
I would tell you that for all of those cherished tethers, the ties that are strung with vulnerability and meaning, this is still a solitary journey. It is just us two.
I would tell you that when I look in the mirror at the sweet and weighty rounding of my belly, I have never loved myself more.
I would tell you about the curious, unbidden wellspring of connection I feel to life itself - to my mother and grandmothers and the women before them; to towering trees and the ocean’s roar and the night-soaked moon; to the thrum of my own heartbeat.
I would tell you that I’m already mourning the loss of my solitude.
I would tell you about the gentle, easy devotion of a man who loves this wee speck of stardust with a mightiness that leaves me breathless. I would tell you about the tenderness of soft hugs and nightly belly rubs and the warmest hope-sparked eyes. Surely, I think, such fierce father-love bears a sacredness all its own.
I would tell you that I ate three slices of chocolate cake in one day.
I would tell you how the sight of a final, lonesome leaf clinging to a winter-ready branch makes me weep. (Not to worry; this is precisely the kind of thing that makes me weep on an average day.)
I would tell you that for all my mantras and meditations, sometimes I am still scared.
I hold my grief and gratitude in the same hand. For every tender shoot of awe at the kicks and flutters and tiny hiccups, there is a cracked seed of sadness rooted next to it.
But then I remember that this - this is our deep, primordial task as human beings: to grapple clumsily with the soft edges of uncertainty, not to emerge victorious or whole, but to be a little more gracious with our own doubt and wondering.
I have always prized listening as a high calling. In these final days of watchful waiting, it feels like a hallowed duty to listen with a fervency I never have before: to listen to birdsong and silence and my own emboldening voice…and soon enough, to baby cries.