The most distinct difference of this pregnancy has been my two daughters bearing witness to every single thing. For better or worse. Five and six year olds are curious people, man. My kids aren’t afraid to ask me anything and everything (may this never change!!) about the why/what/WTF of pregnancy. Although, I do look forward to the day they wake up possessing some tact, because the public discussions are getting a little intense for me.
For example, here are some questions I’ve been asked during this pregnancy:
(* indicates that the question was asked in public at full volume.)
- Mom, I thought you said you weren’t going to have anymore babies. What happened?
- Mom, are those really your nipples?
- Mom, you’re so slow. Can you speed up and start running? (As they jump on bikes and leave me in their dust.)
- Mom, is it okay to show that much of your boobs to people? (As I put on my bikini top.)
- Mom, why do mom’s vaginas look so weird?
- *Mom, are you going to walk to the hospital to have the baby?
- *Mom, will Dad be in hospital room when you have the baby? (Answer: yes.) Will you let him see your vagina? (Answer: also yes.) Cue: shock, awe and embarrassment. (Aside: never mind that I walk around the house stark naked in front of the whole fam every damn day.)
- *Mom, are you wearing underwear right now? Oh good, I just wanted to make sure. (While having dinner in a restaurant.)
- *Mom, will the baby suck on your actual boob? Like your nipple? Or where?
- And finally, my favorite: (looking my naked pregnant body up and down) Daaaaad!! Come here! You’ve got to see this!!!
Quite honestly, the highlight of this pregnancy has been seeing it through the eyes of my young girls. While their running commentary and public questions make me laugh, the impact of their witness is felt much deeper than that. Their curiosity and intrigue calibrate my own perspective and experience.
They are clearly struck by the mystery of growing a new life. And right they should be. We all should be. It’s 100% pure, divine magic!
As I listen to their conversations and answer their questions, I too find myself in a place of shock and awe… followed immediately by humility. This baby-growing process is nothing but a straight up miracle – one that I get to be the host of. And that reminder brings fresh perspective to the discomfort, inconveniences and “bummers” of pregnancy. Describing pregnancy to my kids in all it’s reality and glory leaves me feeling nothing short of a fierce, loving, miraculous Goddess.
As a mom of girls, I am very aware of how my life paints for them a picture of what it means to be a woman. Sure, it’s just one person’s expression of womanhood, but it is the one that they see most intimately. Which is something I don’t take lightly. The words I use about myself and my fellow females shape their lens of womanhood and inform the expectations they have for themselves. And now, this spectrum of female essence includes pregnancy – an aspect of womanhood that they were both too young to recall in their earlier years. I am over the moon by the chance to show them what it looks like to grow a life and expand humanity.
They experience the whole deal – we became regulars at Panera together after all. The notice the sweating, fatigue, exhaustion and the growing belly. They hear me complain and watch me struggle to do normal tasks that non-pregnant Natalie would tackle in a jiffy. But, they also bear witness to the excitement, movement, anticipation and mystery of the process. They see their little brother move under my skin, respond to their voices with kicks and punches. They talk to my belly and sort through his blankets imagining which he’ll love best. They try on baby carriers, play in his crib, rock in the glider and tell me all the ways that they’re going to take care of him. They’re preparing for this life right along with Isaac and I.
I look at their eager hands on my moving belly and tear up. Their witness of this miracle will leave a forever mark on their fierce, tender, loving hearts. This fortunate, miraculous, destined-to-be “accident” has already blessed every single one of us in this family in huge ways. I cannot wait to tell my son how much his beautiful beginning shaped our family.