In two days, I will have my second child.
Today, I am so huge, I feel like Marlon Brando, in the Bloated Years.
Our family was looking at pictures this morning, and my husband exclaimed, “Wow! Look at Mummy! She was SKINNY!”
I was up reading last night, around 3 a.m., Ha Jin’s The Crazed, about a student who ends up at Tianamen Square and witnesses people getting shot in the face – and when that was done, I started on Douglas Coupland’s Hello, Nostradamus, which turned out to be first-person stories of an invented Columbine-esque shooting. Nothing like teens and guns to help a pregnant woman get to sleep at 4 a.m., right?
The thought of my children suffering either from state-based oppression or from culturally induced aggression – the thought of my children suffering – the thought of ME suffering – the thought of dying – the thought, which I heard expressed in a poem sometime last fall that ‘in giving birth a mother is also giving death to her child’ – and then how fast time seems to be racing –
Well, I began to feel overwhelmed.
I still, at moments, feel quite small, quite young, quite raw, as it were.
Why am I here? Why am I here and giving birth to more beings who will someday wonder, too, Why am I here? I have never been one to agree that life is JUST suffering. But suffering sure does do its best to outweigh the wonder sometimes.
If I could truly inhabit Brando for a few minutes, perhaps I would have something pithy to say in response.
As it is, all I know is that all of us have these moments where we seem huge and indestructible to others and to ourselves, we’re inflated to the size of a balloon turkey in a Macy’s parade, but inside it feels like we are as small and defenseless to the slings and arrows of existence as the baby nesting inside me right now.
In two days, I start to deflate. A new life enters the mixed-up mix of suffering and joy that is this world. I will not have any answers for my children anymore than I have them for myself.
But we can watch Brando movies together, at least.