There’s something about being pregnant that causes even hardened or usually uncommunicative New Yorkers to notice, break ranks and open up. Old ladies smile and refuse to take my seat when I offer even when they have a cane, 30 something unattached males give up their seats with no intention of flirting, empty nesters in their 60’s gush about their own grown kids, construction workers say ‘god bless you, mommy’ without a hint of sexual harassment, teens ask to feel my belly with genuine fascination, trepidatious women in their late 20’s and early 30’s considering a bump of their own ask me what it feels like and sometimes curious never married men in their 50’s will ask too and marvel at my answers. I’ve noticed that people will engage people whose children are already here also but it’s different when people really contemplate a pregnant woman, especially when she has no other children in tow and all signs point to this being her first foray into parenthood. The miraculous truth of how we all get to planet earth can be downright arresting and mystifying. I can see the wonder and the questions, the reminiscing and the longing to experience this for themselves (sometimes overt and sometimes cautious), as people look at my belly and then at me.
I treasure this time. It's an incredibly romantic experience for my husband and myself, turning a relatively new sticky love into super glue strength love. My parents delight in my pregnant state and hearing about their not even here yet grandson. Friends and family show their support in surprising and heart warming, above and beyond ways. And even NYC is showing me a softer side of itself.
And on top of all that, I get to feel a new little life, a thousand times small but growing, wriggling and feeling and pushing against my insides. He’s absorbing everything from me, my breathing, my food, thoughts, my voice, my experiences and my feelings. And in return, his little heart beats, his cells multiply, he kicks and rolls and blinks, he tugs on the umbilical cord but it may as well be my heart strings because I’m falling in love, even as he manhandles my internal organs and even when it hurts. It’s a new sensation, feeling physical pain as a result of someone else but absolutely no animosity. To get to know someone by the slightest rhythms, fits and starts and then to feel those get stronger, harder and more pronounced with slow but consistent, definitive progress. I'm so grateful.
Photo credit: Lindsay Brayda