Three times last week, different people asked me when the baby was due: What are you, five months along?
Three times I answered: More like eight. Not too much longer!
Three times the reply went: Really? It looks like you still have a long way to go!
I have been remarkably worry-free during this whole pregnancy, but it’s still hard not to hear that as: You’re doing it wrong! Can’t you at least look the part?
Sure, sure, we all know that parents don’t control their babies’ destinies. That’s what we say, as we suggest that pregnant women download classical music playlists to direct toward their wombs, tell them to eat Omega-3s but not to eat soft cheeses, to gain enough weight but not too much weight, to eschew caffeine, and to avoid driving whenever possible (lest their seatbelts cause internal injuries).
It’s out of your hands. Here’s a list of mistakes you may have already made!
So you find yourself, very reasonably, wondering things like: Is it possible that the baby actually has eighteen limbs? Because it feels like the baby has eighteen limbs.
“What’s the probability that I have a fast-growing tumor in the shape of an arm, kind of nearby the baby?” I ask my husband. “Because that could explain the extra-seeming limbs.”
“A tumor in the shape of an arm, that moves?” he says. “Approximately zero percent.”
I guess I’ll cross that off the list of things to wonder about.
There’s always faith involved, in having a baby. You never know what will happen, or how, or when.
But that’s true of life, too—every time you walk out the front door in the morning, every time you say good-bye to your spouse as they head off to work, every time you kiss your daughter on the head as she runs out to ride her bike—anything could happen. Most things don’t.
Is that hiccups, or is my stomach having a seizure?
(It’s hiccups, for sure.)
When we pray, we pray that the baby would be healthy and blessed. We pray for blessings upon the birth. We don’t ask for a talisman to ward off, well, anything.
And it’s funny, but—with our older kids, anyway—when the baby is born, I forget to feel relief that everything turned out okay, that the baby turned out to be a baby and not an octopus.
I don’t think about cheese or Mozart or what could have gone wrong.
In the beginning, at least, it’s simpler. In the beginning, with that baby in arms, it’s all joy. Only this: only joy.