six months: what my baby tells me

I have not heard my baby’s heartbeat, I have not had any ultrasounds, nor have I received any prenatal care whatsoever. This is not completely by choice, but a consequence of moving across the country and changing jobs and insurance companies. I no longer need an expert to confirm my pregnancy because I feel my baby move within me all the time, sometimes rhythmic, like a pulse, especially mid-morning and at night, but those just might be the times when I am paying most attention. Though many of my peers rely on a doctor to find out what is happening inside of them, the only information I have from my baby are the clear, insistent kicks, but it is a message of being fully alive and fully present, and it is enough.

Contrary to my usual tell-all tendencies, I didn’t post a pregnancy announcement until my fifth month, and I have felt no desire to share constant updates about what I am craving, what size fruit my baby is, and how my body is increasing in size. Perhaps it is an inclination to keep sacred the limited knowledge I have, or perhaps it is simply the most intimate public experience I have ever had: the presence of this vulnerable, mystifying being I have yet to see, and in the meantime, on display for all to see; this transformative season of womanhood, ubiquitously shared by countless before me, yet so exclusively my own. It is one of the most simultaneously natural and magical transitions I have undergone, and I feel as if I am coming of age all over again, an adolescent with my whole world about to explode into the unknown.

Ten years ago, I was a high school senior, obsessed with purpose and fearful of missing opportunities, excited for adventure and every possibility. It is almost overwhelming to think about how much happens in a decade. I wonder about myself in ten years, if I have a career I am proud of, if I have finally learned another language, if I have gained the courage to call myself a writer. There are still remnants of the 17-year-old in me that sits on the edge of decision unable to choose, that convinces myself it is too late. I wonder what is next, if I am on track with creating the life I want to lead, whether I am taking the wisest steps, but as I feel the sudden jab within me, I am reminded of the wisdom my body holds: that if I am paying attention, fully alive and fully present, it is enough.

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