Friday, September 11, 2009

On How We Became Pregnant, In Three Parts



I.
In Twin Falls Idaho
there is a massive crater-like canyon that runs through town. Like the earth's flesh was cut open, leaving a deep scar of rocks and shadows. Looking into the canyon is like peering into the core of our planet. It intimidates me, it thrills me.

I stood on the threshold of that canyon, spiritless and humbled two years ago. Five years had not given me a pregnancy. Not even a hint or breath of a conception. Sometimes I wondered if a miscarriage would be a welcomed experience. A reassurance of possibility.

Instead, I gathered up all my hopes for motherhood and sent them over the cusp of the canyon, rolling past the dark volcanic rock, splashing into the cold Snake River and sinking down into the depths of the earth. To be buried forever by mud and sediment. They were too heavy to carry around, they obstructed my path to present happiness.

Heavenly Father, I will stop asking for fertility to make me happy. And I will be happy. Right now.

Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant.

II.
In London, England there is a tunneled walkway which takes a traveler on foot from bridge to bridge along the Thames. I followed Chup as he led me towards the Millennium Bridge on a quiet evening. Dampness and darkness pushed us to hurry. We were having dinner over the river, and rain was across the sky.

We reached a concrete stairway which led straight into the rocky Thames. Chup descended and let the waves lap up his feet. I stood away from him, looking up river. My mind floated away with the water, across the ocean, over the rocky mountains to where my baby was sleeping in his crib. He was now a part of me, and being a part from him made me feel less whole.

We desired a dozen more, (two dozen more!) but my fertility record didn't substantiate anything. And I didn't want to spend my motherhood in a month-to-month anticipation cycle. It had already started, months after giving birth. And the next one? When? How? When? When? When!

The wind blew and I almost lost Chup with the tugboats to the Thames.

Heavenly Father, I can be happy with one baby. There would be cousins and neighborhood kids for communal siblings. He wouldn't be lonely, he'd be just fine. One baby. I could be happy with one baby. This prayer I sailed into the wind while taking my husband's hand for stability.

Two months later I found out I was pregnant.

III.
To create life--this act of man and wife--is sanctified by God as the greatest of man's ability. To some He gives it freely, to others he tempers with humility and patience. To struggle with procreation is how God chooses to keep my pride in check. I fail, I fail and fail until it becomes more logical to give up. Somehow in giving up, He gives to me.

And that is how we became pregnant.