club motherhood

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The complexity and mystery of pregnancy intrigues me. Baffles me.

I can’t understand it at all. Maybe it’s because I have never experienced it. Maybe it’s because it is wholly incomprehensible by any human brain.

It’s a Tuesday night and three of the four women in my living room are at various stages of pregnancy. I look at their blossoming bellies and try to imagine what it would be like. What it would be like to have a life growing inside me. What it would be like to confront the strange set of side effects. To feel movement and know that something in me was part of creating this life.

These are less questions of longing and more just sheer curiosity. And utter shock that it is possible.

The state that these woman in seems sweet and endearing. But the one that is to come terrifies me.

Birth by all accounts seems messy and painful and scary. And even as I say that I know that I don’t even know the fullness of that experience. As my friends who have experienced it describe the details, I am horrified.

“I felt like I was dying,” one of my friends says. “I literally thought ‘This is death.’ This was it.”

That sounds horrific. And yet women have been doing this for thousands of years in much worse conditions. I wonder what it feels like to be there. In some ways I never want to know. In others, I wish for it – someday, when the proper pieces are in place.

Somehow, because I don’t know, I feel strangely disconnected from my friends. I feel like I’m outside of a club they have all joined called “motherhood.” I am standing outside the room with my face pressed against the glass of the notion, eyes wide.

I am simultaneously envious and relieved.

I love my childless life for the moment. But maybe there is part of me that wants assurance I won’t always be.

If time was measured by the growth of my friends’ bellies and the births that follow, time in my world has stood still.

And that is the most disconcerting part.