The Untold Stories of My Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy (Part I)

I didn’t write a single thing for public consumption, while I was pregnant.  I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone, but for me, pregnancy was a radical dissolution, analogous to the caterpillar that spins a cocoon, and then proceeds to turn to pure mush, before emerging as the mythical phoenix of the insect kingdom, we fondly call the butterfly.  Maybe it was because all my energy was siphoning straight to my womb, to create a Tiny Goddess, from scratch… But by the grace of God, I didn’t have a single drop of extra energy to generate pretense.  All I could do was show up to each moment, naked, open, and awake.  This was revolutionary for the Artist formerly known as “Me”, because in my other life, I was so animated and colorful and full of expression.  Now that I think back, I recall that I misplaced my joy for about the first seven months of making Serena.  But I don’t think I was distraught about it… I found it fascinating.  And the blazing certainty of the rightness and sheer blessing of this pregnancy eclipsed any petty misgivings about my barren emotional life.

Retrospect is a wondrous angle to observe this life thing from.  As I stand here, seven weeks into dear Serenie’s existence outside her watery world of conception, I am filled with a steady stream of mellow joy beyond any I have ever known.  Actually, having done enough drugs in my generously sprawling heyday (but please don’t tell my mom!) to make an informed comparison, I honestly favor the delicate, understated, hard-earned highs of this magical mystery tour we mostly refer to as “everyday life”.  Hey!… that would make a great campaign: “Everyday life– a high for the discerning palate”.  I’d like to see commercials like THAT on TV, in place of all the pharmaceutical propaganda that has come to rule the airwaves in our contemporary slice of (sur)reality.  Not that I watch TV.

Haha, I’m laughing at my untamed jungle mind.  It takes me decades to say what I originally meant to say, sometimes, because my mind seems to move in spirals and squiggles, rather than tidy lines.  Maybe I need a ruler to help keep me straight.  Just kidding.  We’ll leave that to Hemingway, and his legions of hyper-disciplined would-bes.

Now where was I going with all of this?  Oh yeah… Shall I just deliver the punchline without dancing anymore jigs around it?  (not that I’ve ever danced a jig in my life!)  Really the maha thought that compelled my fingertips to sing to you this morning, was that lately I find myself drenched in deep waters of nostalgia for those barren, joyless, and sometimes plain devastating days of pregnancy.

I hardly smiled… And yet, from over here, it seems so glamorous and worth salivating over.  (My goodness, I am having so much fun writing this… fondling the inner contours of retrospective memory… it feels indulgent like organic chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream… If it is even a meager crumb as delicious for you to read, I’d call it a Big Win!)  For many days during my second trimester, I was crucified and shattered by lethal grief.  I was sure that Ed had abandoned us, which was truly shocking, because beneath all of the hardship, drama and circumstantial hurdles, I believed in our love.  And here I was, at my most vulnerable, goddessy and delectable, and he was GONE.  (The peanut gallery of experts who live in my computer are informing me that “goddessy” is not a word.  They must be time-warping in the days of dinosaurs and Flintstones…)  But my aim on the page this morning is NOT to make a case against the dearly beloved father of my miraculous daughter.  To his defense, I will say that he was probably feeling ripped down the middle, being enmeshed in his deeply established family constellation, and waking to the refined rings of implication of now having a child with a woman outside that secure system.  Yes, you could argue that he should have considered all that before he planted this karmically weighty seed… Yes, he SHOULD HAVE.  But what if, at the end of the day, we are but Destiny’s Bitches???  And anyway, like Jesus said, “Let he who is free from sin cast the first rotten tomato.”  Umm yeah.  That’s what I thought.

Spiraling back to the center again, I will make a Hemingway-simple assertion:  I know what it is to die while still alive.  And honestly, I’m glad for that.  Because throughout the entire gruesome melee, I never once misplaced my indestructible faith.  Some days I laid in bed, broken in a bazillion pieces, crying from my guts… and I still felt God holding my hand.  And I knew that those excruciating moments were somehow essential.

And Jehova BLESS this wacky, psychedelic dimension of light and shadow that we fondly call hOMe… Because the sucking, satin-black crevices of my world cut breath-giving, artistic contrasts in the masterful, dancing light sculpture of my existence.  At around three months pregnant, I invested in a blinding neon two-piece athletic swim suit, which I sported at “the local pool” (actually, a couple, over the course of my pregnancy) mostly three times a week as I glided graceful, leisurely laps through buoyant and merciful, aquatic heaven.  Swimming is ecstasy for me.  And from this vantage point, parked on the couch with Tiny Goddess now snoozing on my lap, I find it fiercely poetic to see in my mind’s eye, the slow motion, flip book of my belly’s weekly expansion, as I donned that satisfyingly bright, immodest costume.  When I first put it on, I looked like I’d just been drinking too much beer… And then, little by little, Serena’s blessed presence within me became obvious.  By the end, I was nearly naked, and hauling a watermelon through the water.  I remember hot summer afternoons at the Drake pool in San Anselmo, I’d jump into the water with such a heavy heart, it is a wonder I didn’t drown.

Gosh, I can see why people write memoirs… Turning inward, and wandering the evocative and haunted halls of intangible life lived and dissolved, trying to once again dress and caress the empty space of “was”… It is a form of lonely and luxurious intimacy.  An act of love making with our very pure and infinite nebulous something-ness.  I feel like I could quit my day job, and devote my life to wandering fondly backwards (*great book title!)… Grin.  But then, I guess, I’d run out of things to reflect upon!  So I’ll just do a heavy-handed dabble, and then get on with the rugged business of living.  Maybe three thousand tomorrows from now, I will look back on this little shard of the mythic journey I am on, with the hushed rumble of the wood stove purring deeply beneath the overt tinkle-plunk of alphabet on parade.  Typing my life into waxing-immortal existence with balled, seven week old Serena breathing in a peaceful rhythm upon my lap.  The forest gently dawning beyond the walls and windows of my modern life in covert captivity.

Let me tell you of my decadent walks down the almost endless shoreline of Stinson Beach… They were mostly stained with desperation and even some renegade tears.  I walked to save my own life.  I walked, and walked, stalking the elusive wholeness of my heart.  My flip-flops stayed in the car, and I let the great Mother Ocean lick my feet, ankles and calves clean.  Ooooh, that first rush of tingle up my spine, as cold, frothy water pounced on my beseeching feet!  Breathing deep, taking step upon step, because that was all there was to do.  “Pray with your feet,” my wise friend and lover, Dan, who no longer inhabits this plane, used to say.  These words still taunt my linear mind, who can’t quite seem to wrangle their meaning… and yet I know, those inversely glorious jaunts on Stinson Beach were absolutely wordless prayers tracked in wet sand, and immediately devoured by a hungry, undulating Mother.

I almost touched something resembling joy, as I watched the dogs sprint, whirl and splash along the water’s edge.  Languid tongues flouncing, carefree, from their wide-smiling mouths.  In fact, upon reflection, I am certain that Dog Heaven is an endless beach.  There are happy dogs, and then there are ECSTATIC dogs.  With rare exception, beach dogs are of the ecstatic classification.  Watching these furry angels of all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, diverse dispositions and proclivities, perfectly merged in the infinity of their delight, I felt enough light seep in through the sprawling crack in my heart, to lift me to a tolerable state.  A sky inside, aspiring to dawn… though the sun is still busy kissing China goodbye…

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