Grants Pass Daily Courier
April 2, 1986
Forgive mothers-to-be a couple idiosyncrasiesThe woman was well into the third trimester of pregnancy before she could bring herself to write about it. Pregnancy is so, well, common, and maybe no one cares that she's getting close to being fruitful and multiplying. Pregnant women often secretly believe they're the center of the universe, forgetting that birth is as routine as spring, as ordinary as tulips. In philosophical moments they identify with the earth and how it is the medium for unfathomable growth. Seeds draw nourishment from it, and every spring the miracles repeat, renewing the landscape and replenishing hope.
The baby grows in her, but she does nothing. She has a vague sense that making a baby is the most important thing she can do, yet it requires no effort, no creativity. The egg that produced this baby was formed within her while she was still in her own mother's womb. At conception its physical characteristics were determined, written indelibly in genes.
Pregnant women think about such things and feel important but humble They can be dull company if they often share their thoughts, or if all they can discuss is the activities of the unborn.
The pregnant woman does not wish to bore anyone with incessant accounts of her past several months, but hopes she can be permitted some reflections. She periodically tries to ignore the whole process, turning her mind to matters of greater interest to he companions, but sooner or later, a keen sense of caring emerges. It is difficult to ignore the fact that a highly visible part of her anatomy is gradually being overtaken by someone who already has a functioning brain, and who can hear her voice and music and maybe even the songs of the spring birds in the orchard.
If for a moment she forgets her condition, the becoming person will energetically stretch or flex or roll. She suppresses the urge to call attention to these gymnastics, instead resting her hand on her abdomen and trying to visualize the small but growing person exercising its muscles, cell by cell building toward birth.
She is overwhelmed by curiosity about this person with whom she shares her body, her food, her moods, her thoughts. Sometimes she addresses it as "she," and sometimes as "he," not having a strong preference either way. She sometimes believes she may be the only expectant mother over 35 who doesn't know the sex and confirmation of her unborn child. She wants to know the baby is all right, but she knows she couldn't "do anything about it," as her doctor put it, even if it isn't. So she waits, sometimes impatiently, as the baby prepares
itself for life on the outside.