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Expand. Contract. Repeat
June 14, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
I know to wait for it now, but it took a good 2 ½ years to get used to it. I watch in awe as my daughter grows, grasps, and delights in her own new abilities. Just when I think I can breathe out for a minute. When I think I can let her enjoy her newest development on her own for a blissful moment to myself, she runs back to me, clinging, a little afraid of doing it by herself.
Expand, contract, repeat.
Our skin does it in the bathtub. It’s why our fingers get funny if we stay in there too long. It’s what our lungs do when we breathe. Our whole bodies expand in pregnancy, then comes the contractions.
I loved being pregnant. Yes, you read that correctly. It was great. My whole body restructured itself. It informed me of its constant progress by making me throw up, for 36 remarkable weeks. Yes, you read that correctly too. And somehow, I expanded. All of me. It wasn’t just my waistline or bust line or feet. It was my worldview too.
Suddenly because I was hatching a person, everything happening in the entire world became something that might affect or engage this little being inside. I wanted to know all of it so I could teach this baby all of it. Or be prepared for everything so I could protect her from everything. That’s how much of the world I thought I needed to grasp, just to be ready for her. What do I really know about America’s relationship with China? What if I don’t remember why the sky is blue? What time is bedtime?
The whole world became poignantly relevant.
It’s a gift that it takes 36 weeks to be pregnant. That’s how long it takes to begin to grasp the immensity of change babies make in our worlds. Just about the time we start to think we’re ready, the contractions come.
Once we actually deliver, our giant worlds become the size of our houses. Sometimes one room. That’s how far we are able or comfortable to venture when we have our first new baby. We’re exhausted and a mess. And we think we can protect our children from everything by staying in. We think we can do that on almost no sleep and a completely guerilla approach to nourishment. Our worlds contract. We think nothing matters but sleep and food. In that order.
The whole world becomes poignantly irrelevant.
Amazingly, because we are built to expand and contract, just as our own bodies gradually begin the process of shrinking; returning to some version of their pre-pregnancy design; just about the time our new babies discover their own feet - we discover ours. We let our worlds expand again. We find a way to venture out and take our tiny new people with us and begin the cycle again.
Expand, contract, repeat.
Speaking of venturing out, look forward to my upcoming entries on local parks and other places for adventures with kids! In the meantime, where do you like to venture?
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