The Braxton-Hicks have arrived, those awkward guests who make my guts tense up and immobilise me temporarily at annoyingly constructive moments – carrying in the shopping, walking up a steep hill, picking up wooden bricks/broken glass/bodily excretions from the floor.
I’ve seven weeks to go, according to the calendar. All organs are now on yellow alert. Baby is putting in new lunch orders at Restaurant Chez Cavemum. Bones are sliding imperceptibly in their hormone-softened ligaments. My thoughts, when left to their own devices, start turning to that mind-nuking experience when this as yet unseen person will abandon the peace of that internal paradise for the warfare of sibling relationships, the discomfort of clothing and routines, and learning to make worm pie.
The word ‘contraction’ extremely misleading. First time around, though I was expecting to feel terrible tightenings in my belly, like leg cramps or muscle spasms, all I remember is the sensation of being pulled gradually and inexorably apart as some primordial, volcanic force passed through me. There were contractions there, a tremendous muscle working like a weight-lifter to get that baby out, but they didn’t make much of a fuss. They obeyed a fundamental law of physics: to open one way, something must contract.
This law, when you look at it the right way up, works in every sphere of life. To let in light you have to draw back the curtains. To cut a path through the jungle you have to trample on some greenery. To make space for new life certain things get folded away and put into storage, perhaps never to be dug out again, but never to be missed. Above all, it’s good to remember that those contractions have a very short lifespan.
This is why contraction is never a bad thing. The dark clouds roll overhead to allow the warm sun a brilliant entrance; the times it seems the world has withdrawn and there is nothing but brutality left is when we’re most vulnerable to the tenderness brutality leaves in its wake. While we’re being thrown about like krill on choppy waves, beneath our dancing toes the depths invite us to rest and watch the surf.

2 thoughts on “Contraction

  1. Your writing tells me a lot, specially now, when I’m starting to feel a few of those [contractions :)]. I’m 29 weeks pregnant now and this girl is always kicking me! Eva is so happy! She’s loving the idea of having a young baby sister (she says she’ll help me changing diapers and so)!
    I’ll start following your work more regularly!
    Love from Marta, Mário and Eva!

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