This post mentions my current rainbow pregnancy.
We do our weekly introductions. The room is full of women with pregnant bellies, so many new faces at prenatal yoga in the past few weeks. Women who say twenty weeks and twenty two weeks. Over and over: this is our first. Their voices full of satisfaction. We’re having a girl, they say, their faces lighting up. We’re having a boy. It’s our first, it’s our first. They glow with the delight and mystery of their first pregnancies.
This is our second, I say when it is my turn, and that’s all. I put my hand on my belly where the baby is moving. Seeking connection. Pleading with every cell in my body. Please live. Please live. You’d better live. A few of the women in the room know Joseph died, but their quiet knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to be there this night. I am consumed tonight with the need for this baby to live. I breathe it in with every asana. Every exhale a desperate prayer to the universe.
I want to push the fast forward button. Jump ahead ten weeks and have my baby in my arms, alive, breathing. Believing the world out here is a safer place than my womb. I want, I want, I need, I chant, eyes shut tight, all through sivasana.
I envy the innocence of these other women, their calm assurance. I envy their dreams of their future lives, and the strength with which they believe in them. The nurseries they have already started to decorate. The onesies and swaddles and blankets they are washing. The different brands of bottles they hold in each hand in the aisle of Babies-R-Us, debating the merits of design. I envy the way they will create registries and have themed baby showers and accept gifts for their unborn babies with ease and grace, all the while assuming everything will turn out as planned.
I don’t get close to these women at prenatal yoga. I stay on the periphery of conversations, my mat in the corner of the room.
I am so far from all of them. Looking down at the marble of the Earth from this planet I inhabit now. I see the beautiful blues and greens of that world. I remember living there, once.
A woman at prenatal pilates—one of those overly friendly cheerful types that I always, judgmentally, think must be very young—starts chatting me up at the end of class. How many weeks again? When’s your due date? Do we know what we’re having? Oh, it’s a surprise—you’re one of those. Do you have a sense?
I find myself physically take a step backwards, away from the force of her energy. I hope she doesn’t notice.
When I tell her I know what sex the baby is but we’re not telling, her eyes go wide. How are people shopping for you?! she wants to know.
They’re not, I say bluntly, getting my coat zipped up, turning slightly towards the door. She doesn’t know about Joseph, and I decide, without giving this woman a chance, that she couldn’t handle the news. Her face would crumple, her stricken voice would apologize too many times. I don’t feel like having that conversation today.
Three of my neighbors are pregnant with their first babies. They invite me to be part of a Facebook group with others of their friends, and for a long time I avoid it. I don’t read their posts. I am afraid they are all positive-thinking natural birth hippies. Then someone starts an introductions thread. I read them, and discover to my surprise that they are a diverse group of women. First babies, second, third. Single moms, married moms, lesbian moms. A few not sure they want to be pregnant. A miscarriage. Doubt, anxiety, questions.
Still, I avoid it when they plan an in-person gathering. I can’t imagine getting together with a bunch of pregnant women to talk about being pregnant. To compare notes, share birth stories and birth plans. What cements my decision is when one of them posts, “Can we make a music video of all of us doing something funny while pregnant? Or at least take a silly picture?”
Pregnancy, on my planet, is not funny. It is not silly. It does not suggest music video or goofy photo poses.
Every moment hangs by a spider-web thin thread.
We climb, hand over hand, wondering when it will break.
We inch one foot forward in time blindly, ready to feel the ground give way, ready to run head-first into that hard wall of devastation.
Today we are pregnant, we say.
On this planet, we reach out to one another for reassurance, offering what little comfort and light we know is possible to give. We stick together, bruised, raw, defensive, trying to shield our wounds from the salt in the world.
I watch the beautiful greens and browns of Earth’s familiar landscape, stirred with the bright white of clouds. I can imagine dwelling there again, someday. I yearn for it. But I’m not sure how to arrive.
How do you deal with other people's pregnancies? If you have had a rainbow pregnancy, what is your relationship to pregnancy after your loss?