Friday, August 23, 2013
So we have at last decided to make our news public, and I can now write about the one thing that truly matters - that I am pregnant. Nothing in my life has ever been anywhere near as important as this. There is a small and dependent human growing inside me, and soon I will give birth to this human and then be (with Davey) 100% responsible for their continuing life.
There are arguably more important jobs in the world. By dedicating myself to raising one human, I am giving up time which could be spent helping many. By giving in to our genetic urge to create our own offspring, we have chosen to add an unnecessary extra human to the world instead of taking in a needy one who already exists. But having taken this path, I cannot help but take it profoundly seriously.
Perhaps technically it is selfish to make a new human for ourselves; but by being an intimate witness to the miracle of life itself, I feel deeply connected with the specific life which I have already helped to nurture for 7 1/2 months. Perhaps technically it is indulgent to spend our time giving an overly-nurtured life to a single human, rather than helping the masses; but I can't help but feel that doing so is still one of the most necessary jobs. I argue this: imagine a world in which every individual human were raised with maximum love, support and care - wouldn't that be a wonderful world?
I have always believed in doing our best for the world in which we are priviledged to live - to help others, to nurture the planet, to act with both knowledge and goodness. But just as passionately I have always believed that we must do so within our individual capacities and strengths. I am, for example, very passionate in my political beliefs; but I am not the person to fire-up a mass of people towards my viewpoint, or even engage in any level of genuine debate - these are simply not the ways in which I can personally help the cause. I can, however, be a good example in my personal actions, a willing foot-soldier in any worthwhile crusade, and a sweetly-smiling advocate for the beliefs I hold. I can support my husband in his career in which he does change minds. And I can raise a child (or a few) with my own style of leading-by-example and gentle advocacy for leading a positive life.
So here I am, about to undertake the job for which I have pined for much of my life. Ranty feminist values notwithstanding, I have always hoped to be a mother someday; I'm just one of those people who has always wanted children of my own. Yet I have also felt that whether or not I were ever to be in a position to have them was beyond my control. So one of the many overwhelming emotions which I have been experiencing is awe at my luck - luck that I have been granted the opportunity to be a mother, and luck that I have been granted this opportunity in the circumstances of my choosing. This awe manifests in extremes between almost unbearable joy that my dearest wish is coming true; and bouts of terror that I will not be as good at this job as I hope.
But mostly I find that pregnancy has brought with it a sense of optimism and self-assurance. I feel that I know myself better than ever; that I am the pragmatic part-hippy, ready to be both technically effective and warmly nurturing as a parent, ready to learn yet ready to be fearless in the face of opposition to my parenting ideals, ready to balance scientific knowledge and continual reading with intuition and flexibility.
Most importantly I realise that all of the emotions and revelations which I have experienced over the past months have been before I have even given birth. I am bracing myself for a lifetime of learning on a new plane of existence. Pregnancy has been a journey in itself; soon we are to take on the grand, unpredictable and ever-changing adventure of parenting. To answer the constant question "are you excited?", I present this post. Excited is far too small a word.