I had a weird moment today. I found out someone is pregnant and I was suddenly washed over with the huge awareness of the journey she’s begun and what lies ahead for her.
I barely know her and as far as I know there’s nothing unusual or worrying about her being pregnant. So it wasn’t her, it was me.
She sat there looking all vulnerable with her rounded belly and I wanted to say something but I fumbled for words and looked odd and uncomfortable. I wasn’t imagining that because she was looking at me oddly.
I did first manage to wish her a heart-felt congratulations but then I came over all awkward, because a floodgate of knowledge about the journey opened in my mind and I was flooded.
Because you see, for example I know that – however she’s feeling about this pregnancy – it’s already stirring deep things for her – things that would be completely inappropriate for us to discuss in a casual encounter in an office. She may not even be aware of what has been stirred, maybe she’s just aware that she’s feeling a lot of feelings. I don’t know this for sure but it’s my assumption because she’s PREGNANT after all. I also know that she and her partner are probably experiencing some shifts between them and that her life ahead… wow, her life is about to crack open, empty itself out and rearrange itself.
So what do I say?
Sometimes too much knowledge makes things very complicated don’t you find?
What would I say if I could really speak honestly without concern for social decorum? Well I’d say something like;
“Wow, pregnant?! You’ve just climbed on a rollercoaster! How ARE you? How are you really? Are you scared? Isn’t it freaky how your body is changing? What’s it doing to your world view?
Whew this parenting thing! Get ready for a ride like no other. If you can let go of the need to be in control you’ll find it much easier.
Just know that right now you are being STIRRED UP. It’s like a big wooden spoon has gone right to the center of you and is mixing things up. All the stuff you’ve carefully packed away inside yourself – the hurts from your childhood, the insecurities, the prejudices and judgements – are all getting shifted off their usual perches now. It’s like the pregnancy stretches everything out of shape.
Things you think are true now are going to be dis-proven and ways you thought the world should be are about to upend. Over the coming years the displaced things will occasionally bump you or trip you up and you’ll need to decide if you want to keep them or not and where to store them now.
Becoming a parent is an amazing, AMAZING opportunity to get to know yourself deeply. The pregnancy, the birth, the new-born and later your growing child will for the REST OF YOUR LIFE show you the parts of yourself you are most proud of and the parts of yourself of which you are most ashamed. You have absolutely no control over that. Your control only comes in where you get to decide what you want to do with that information about yourself.
If you want to really benefit from the nice parts of parenting you have to also show up for the not-nice parts. You don’t know about those yet, but you will. People don’t talk about this much but being a parent is helluva scary and often uncomfortable. It’s also so deeply thrilling at times there are just no words for it and if you are lucky, and you allow it, you won’t believe just how much love can fit into you.
I’m standing here now looking at the ‘before picture’ of you. I don’t know how your ‘after-picture’ will look – but I know it will be different to now. You’re about to realise stuff about yourself you never dreamed. Whew.
You don’t even know yet the stretching you are about to undergo, what challenges await you on all levels – physical, emotional and spiritual…”
Can’t really say all that to a newly pregnant person.
No. And I wouldn’t want to, which kind of makes sence now, why nobody tells you how hard it is. Or perhaps people do but we just chose not to listen? How often do parents for warn their children about life’s challenges and try to protect them from it? All the time but do children listen, generally most of the time, no, although it depends on the circumstances. Why? I would imagine because its their life’s journey to experience. Then again could it be that our elders do not warn us to not deprive us of our growth?
Would it really matter if some one did tell you about all the scary stuff about having children when you’re having an overwhelming yearning and desire to have them? When the burning desire to have child erupts people will exhaust all avenues to have one. Would the knowing of how hard it is to raise a child hamper the process? Well perhaps if it would depend on where you centre lies. I guess if one was to only use logic and reason it would make sence to not have them if they so much trouble. That may work for some and I have no problem with it at all but those who may be considering it may have been nudged from a place other than a thought process. If your centre goes beyond the cognitive then you going to be guided by a force that will not be tamed, until you hold in your arms a little person born of you or as a gift from another, who will take you on a journey of self discovery of inner angst, joy and worldly pleasure.
So coming back to your question. Its not that I can’t so much, as I would chose not to because knowing or unknowing she has clearly taken the plunge already but I would welcome her to parenthood and offer her ear should she need one.
Interestingly enough, a niece complained on our chat group about the many sleepless nights she’s had with her eight month old son, desparetly asking for advice from her aunts and grand aunts. Listening to her do so, struck me and I wondered what she would say, if I were to ask her if she would give up her son to sleep peacefully again? I didn’t ask her because I knew intinctively, what her answer would be. The lucky thing for her though, is that she has a support system and intuively knows that those sleepless nights has to come to an end sometime. For others it does get better and a little easier the older they get, the challenges just differs but the growth and self discovery continues.
We have a saying in our culture, “After every difficulty comes ease.” I think it should add with every difficulty is the benefit growth.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and thought-provoking comment.
I think I always thought I would tell someone the ‘truth’ but I guess as I’ve matured into seeing each person’s experience as a necessary experience, I’ve become more able to sit back and lovingly let someone walk their path and support them from the side. Like you say, a pregnant person has already made the leap. They are already walking the path. The best thing to do is to say, “It’s wonderful but sometimes very tough. I’m hear if you ever want to talk. And check out this great blog on using parenting for your own growth” 😀
It was just such an odd panic-stricken moment for me. Maybe I was picking up on some of her stuff too – I hadn’t actually considered that until right now. But obviously it hooked me regardless.
People have been posting such nice responses on Facebook. Check them out
Yesterday at 11:10am ·
Enjoy every moment. Remember the special times and take lots of photographs. Looking back at photos that was taken a month before, makes you realise that time flies and that every experience is precious.
Yesterday at 11:41am ·
Nice! Where were you when I needed you the other day?
Yesterday at 11:46am ·
Enjoy and remember to forgive yourself we get so caught up with what we are doing ‘wrong’ that we forget all the wonderful things we do xxx
Yesterday at 11:55am via mobile ·
I skim read your article – it’s beautiful & honest. like all the important questions, it has no answer other than what comes to you in the stillness of any given moment.
Yesterday at 12:59pm ·
As a childless person, I am now scared witless!! Only joking As that childless person, I’d like someone to be honest with me, so I am prepared: ‘This is going to be the scariest, hardest, most wonderful journey you will ever take. Your life will change completely, but most of the time it will be worth it’?
Yesterday at 1:20pm ·
maybe the thing to say to a pregnant person is ”I have a website about parenting, its got some scary topics and some comforting topics, but if you feel the need to read what other people experience, its there.” Because we can only complain that ‘no one told us what it would be like’ to a certain degree, nowadays the information is really accessible and our intelligence is the best filter. That way you’re just alerting her that there is a space to share and learn, rather than implying anything about her knowledge or needs.
Yesterday at 3:17pm ·
Loved the article. Personally, I prefer the truth – at least when you know what “could” happen, you only have to deal with the event, not the event and the unexpectedness of it. I would say – you’ve embarked on one of your biggest adventures – how you experience it depends on your mindset – choose to make the best of it and find a way to see the silver lining and learning hidden in all situations, find a way to laugh at yourself, at life… and forgive yourself when you can’t… I guess it’s so personal! I adored my pregnancy. And I adore even more the result of it – my fabulous daughter! Best wishes!
Yesterday at 6:30pm ·
Eilat Aviram – I love all these amazing responses. I will take your advice. Next time I see a pregnant woman I’ll tell her about the lot of you and send her your way. You seem to be much more eloquent than I was in that moment. Samantha my stillness was mostly uncomfortable . And Lee-Ann most of the time it really is worth it. Like Michele I also love my result a whole lot. Leila I’ll take your advice and send them to the info and trust their intelligence. And Oh Osnat you are so right about forgiving ourselves… I’m working on that daily. I really wish all this was written on the So You Think Parenting is About the Children? page so that the women in question could read it. Any way to transfer comments to my page?
11 minutes ago ·