Nothing embodies the unknown like a new baby.
From the moment of conception it’s the most remarkable miracle in all of humankind, and the scariest moment in the universe.
The change that comes with pregnancy is constant and inevitable. My stomach becomes sensitive, my head becomes fuzzy, my appetite and taste changes. My will hardens as my body grows bigger and dangerously close to narcoleptic, and my moods run a similar gamut.
I’m awash in love. I’m drowning in fear. I’m as calm as Mother Nature. I’m as exposed as a volcano.
This baby changes everything. Plans, dreams, ideas, shifted to fit this beautiful bundle brought by a stork. In my moments of fear I feel disoriented, angry. In my moments of lucidity I feel excited.
Imagine, another living consciousness in my house! My own miracle, produced, grown and nurtured by me.
The funny thing about change is, you can rarely control it.
We can “make changes” in our life, but even that comes with a healthy dose of letting go. My entire life, like all of ours, has been a constant reaction to change. As a child, those changes were confusing, often disheartening. My parents coupled like fire to fire, each inciting the other, each unpredictable and bold. You could survey the destruction only after. Life felt like it was teetering on the precipice of big change. The constant threat caused even the small changes that did come to hit me hard. The pine tree being cut down with no warning. Coming home to find my bedroom furniture on the curb and a new set of furniture in my room because “it was time.” These things shocked me more than any explosion in our house. They weighed on my diaphragm like a brick. Children weren’t consulted in my house, and I learned quickly that I couldn’t fight the unpredictable.
Change will come no matter what. It’s our reaction to it that matters.
So I fortified my defenses and brought change upon myself. I challenged it, sought it out, laughed in its face, hoping it didn’t hear the clip in my voice. I took this attitude with me as I moved across the ocean, with a one-way ticket and an over-stuffed suitcase. I didn’t know what to expect, but I trusted in the opportunity. When you accept change, you also recognize impermanence.
I couldn’t control all the outcomes of change, but I could actively work to reap the benefits of it.
Our fear of change comes from our helplessness, and yet after years of accepting change, what scares me most today is stagnation. We need change to move forward in our lives, but far too often we sit stagnant, unwilling to make the leap. A big life change is more planning than magic, says the New York Times. It rarely comes on its own, blowing open your life like a lightening bolt and bringing with it all the blessings of success. We have to work for it. Carl Richards from the New York Times says:
First, embrace the uncertainty of life. As much as we don’t like to admit it, life is uncertain. We never know exactly where it will take us. If you doubt me, go back 10 years and ask yourself where you thought you’d be now. I doubt it looks exactly like you planned. So start by being O.K. with the truth in the old saying, “People make plans, and God laughs.”
Some change feels streamlined: school, college, job, husband, house (not necessarily in that order). After that, most would add “baby.” I was never quite so sure.
There’s little that takes away your control like pregnancy and childbirth. Suddenly your body is no longer yours and yours alone. You can guide the process, but in the end your body begins to do what it wants and all you can do is witness your systems slowly being taken over by this growing thing you – miraculously – created. Like I said, disorienting.
One day you’re flitting through your 20s keenly aware of how delicious it is to be selfish and the next you’re crying because it’s all been taken away. Then, you read about how your body produces different breast milk for boys and girls, calculating exactly what nutrients and antibodies both you and your baby need and you realize you’re a goddamn superhero. Nothing is being taken away.
I don’t know where this new baby will take us, but despite the surging hormones and beyond the raging emotions, I know it will be good. Change is almost always good. It’s simply the loss of control that we fight against.
Though difficult, embracing change opens up the floodgates to a river of opportunities. After all, our biggest life moments usually bring our biggest life satisfactions.
It’s time we seek out change, and happily accept the uncertainty of life.
Big life moments? I’ve had a few:
When Plans Go Awry
Not all Things Go According to Plan, and That’s Ok
25 Things I’m Really Freaking Proud of
On Living Your Own Life
The Endless Possibilities of Summer