Not that K. was unhappy with herself or her pregnancy or not a beautiful pregnant woman or not living up to my expectations of how she’d be as a beautiful pregnant woman, but at some point in the last month a line was crossed whereby the baby came into herself as a person and so too K. came into herself as a pregnant woman.
And for the first time in this pregnancy I felt the slight twinge of jealousy.
No aspect of the pregnancy—especially, say, the bodymorph, the alcoholic beverage abstinence, and the looming labor and delivery—has made me lament the fact that I was born on this side of the sexual line. Not even close. And to be honest, Kelly has not been ecstatic about some of the above-mentioned aspects either; she hasn’t complained, but every so often she’d adopt this pose:
But something has shifted, and Kelly has attained (or perhaps just fully accepted) that fey, quiet wisdom and timeless, glowing contentedness of the archetypal young mother. And for the first time I’ve felt a curious sense of a chromosomal lack: her’s is a joy I will never experience, will never know.
I’ve undoubtedly made it clear by now that I’m wary of the Cult of Motherhood and take a skeptical stance towards the spiritual side of pregnancy, but it occurs to me that I may be so quick to dismiss the draping of the divine over animal reproduction exactly because I am jealous of this joy, this connection I will never know but from a distance; a connection that does seem special in that perfectly mysterious, eternal way that some attribute to a divine force.
Still, I don’t see any need to muddle the waters with mysticism—part of what cued K.’s current state was the simple nature of the wee one’s physical and emotional development. K. will grab my hand and press it to her bare belly to feel the girl lashing against the confines of the womb, and it is amazing, wonderful, different than I ever thought—the kicking so spasmodic, the uterine wall so hard—but still, not something of which I’m envious. But Kelly will tell me of the girl’s rhythms and moods—gently kicking in the morning, floating in sleep in the afternoon; thrashing about in the evening; of how the girl got the hiccups, and then kept hiccupping, and then started writhing in agitation at the fact that she still had the hiccups; so it’s not just the physical action, but the development of a personality, a little person; and perhaps that’s where the tinge of envy arose—that Kelly knows, in a deep, fused manner, this little person so much more than I do.
And it’s a beautiful thing.