In my prenatal care sessions we stand together in a circle and hold hands. We repeat what the midwives and the social workers say: I love my body, I love my baby. But that wasn’t what I told myself weeks ago on the way to triage after a day without a discernible kick or roll from baby. The word I used instead of love was trust.
Trust is what I tell myself I need if I’m going to be a mother. I’m really good at putting my faith in other people, but I wouldn’t say I feel like I’m the most reliable person. My heart and head are often in the business of betraying me and everybody else. My nerves are constantly crying wolf.
This baby is taking after mama, intentionally or not. The fetal monitor had hardly hit my stomach before the hum-thump of his or her little heart brought a smile to my lips and tears to my eyes. After 20 minutes without a single contraction, the nurse said she had what she needed, but she left the monitor on so I could keep listening. I was grateful for that.
When the midwife brought baby up on the ultrasound, she wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t felt much in the way of movement. Baby sat cross-legged like a little Buddha in my pelvis, head snug under my ribs. At least one of us was totally zen.
The whole experience made me think of a quote my aunt shared with me at my baby shower: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to let your heart go walking outside your body.” I’m learning to be okay with that. I’m trying to trust this little person to take better care of my heart than I have.