Monday, April 9, 2007

A Heavier Sigh (Wk 19: PREGNANCY)

September 6, 2005

Seven days ago, I complained about it being one of those weeks... Little did I know.

Having lost cable due to Hurricane Katrina, it wasn't until Tuesday evening that I saw the destruction of Biloxi and so many small towns along the Gulf coast. It wasn't until then that I saw New Orleans hadn't been spared after all. It wasn't until this weekend that I began hearing the personal stories of "refugees" now in my own town.

Like most Americans, I feel intense grief and disbelief to see such suffering on our soil. Not since 9/11 have I been so aware of our fragility-- and so glued to the cable news networks.

One one hand, it makes me forget about being pregnant. I've not watched my silhouette so closely this week. I've not stared at the nursery mural nor gone through the baby clothes.

On the other hand, it makes me think about the world in which I'll raise children. Growing up in a white, middle class, two-parent family during the Reagan era, I was secure enough to take my security for granted. The only tragedy I remember was the Challenger, and it didn't make me feel unsafe.

But now, now I have seen skyscrapers fall by enemy hands in New York City. I have seen an entire US city, New Orleans, almost completely destroyed. I have seen thousands of innocent Americans die, all in the span of five years. What's next?

Will my child feel secure enough to take her security for granted?


In the midst of this dark week came a long awaited moment. Wednesday night, I lay on the couch watching hurricane coverage on TV. One network showed babies airlifted from New Orleans to the place where I will have my own baby. As I watched those babies being cared for in their new nursery, with tags on their bassinets that said "I weathered the storm," I felt deep sadness imagining what this must be like for their mothers.

Just then, I felt my first unambiguous fetal movement. First a small flutter, then another, then a couple of small bumps. It continued on and off for about five minutes, long enough to erase any doubt. Since then, I have felt it every night (as long as I am lying flat) and some mornings.

Describing the experience to a friend, she said, "Perhaps your little one recognized your stress and sadness and was giving you a tug of 'I'm still here and I will be joining you soon. The world will continue, even if it is changed forever.' "

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