Pregnancy is like a giant exercise in embracing distortion.
It starts with your thoughts and routines. The baby pops up constantly and everything gets a little distorted. You’ll think of something and say with a gasp, “Next time I’ll have a baby!”
Then it’s your body.
Your proportions start to look a little distorted. Your waistline expands, even if you’re the only one who notices it at first. Strange things happen. Your nose gets wider or your shoe size changes. Your ring feels too tight. Your belly button looks ridiculous.
Then it’s your marriage. You find yourself bringing up the pregnancy and the baby all the time, already changing the way you think and talk and relate. You give him a hug and there’s all this space between you now, space you can’t fill because that big belly stops you when it touches his stomach.
Finally, the baby comes… and now your whole life is distorted.
You can’t look at anything anymore without seeing safety hazards or thinking I can’t wait or she’ll love this! You are bigger—the biggest!—and yet you sometimes feel so very small. All these things you thought you knew, suddenly they’re a little distorted. You see how very much there still is to learn, how unprepared and out of control you are in this crazy game called life.
Your hair stops falling out and your body starts heading back to the body you used to have…but in some ways it stays a little distorted. There are scars running up and down your belly now, or none of your shoes fit, or all of your tops stay a little snug.
The things you used to think were so important? They don’t seem so important anymore.
Last night I lowered my aching body into a warm bath and watched in wonder as my fourth baby in five years distorted my belly, again and again. My stretch marks shifted as my belly grew bigger on one side or the other, as kicks and flips and rolls moved everything enough that even my belly button moved.
I thought about how much I hated that the first time. Gosh, I hated it! It was such a strange feeling I just couldn’t get used to. It scared me a little.
Now that I know I’m at the end, that this is the last time I’ll get to see this, everything feels a little sweeter and fascinates me a little more. I’m amazed at the miracle of it all.