It never ceases to amaze me how women — mothers — tell their birth stories. The mamas of the toddler gymnastics class are virtual strangers to me. I don’t know any of their names, yet I’ve heard their stories, stories about one of the most intimate and private events of their lives, and they’ve heard mine.
This time, as my pregnancy has progressed and I’ve watched my daughter and son together, I didn’t expect to feel these feelings again. I know beyond all possible doubt that what we have gained is more than what we lost, if indeed we lost anything at all.
I’ve always felt like a bad feminist for being afraid of bugs and other assorted pests — I can drive a car, I can vote, I can go to college, I really should be able to deal with all things Insecta and Arachnid. Even Rodentia, if needed.
I understand things when I dance. I spend so much time living in my head, but there’s a kinetic understanding in movement I don’t have otherwise, particularly around subjects related to my faith. Asked to explain concepts like worship, or salvation, and I stumble — bogged down in words, in the layers of gray matter in my head. But when I dance, I feel like I understand. I can’t explain worship, but I can worship when I dance.
I’d rather my children be who God created them to be, encompassing not only their unique gifts and talents and personhoods, but where and when they were born, and yes, who their parents are. And when this mother’s back is against the wall, I know my Renaissance philosophers better than I know my Dr. Spock, or T. Berry Brazelton, or even Dr. Sears.
Fall brings a sudden cluster of milestones: my daughter weans, my son turns one. The colder weather hits my family hard. I am sick, then the children are sick, then my husband is sick. I am sick again. I have pneumonia, on Thanksgiving. We celebrate with our very own Charlie Brown spread: buttered toast, popcorn, jellybeans.