During my first birthing experience I learned an invaluable lesson. The takeaway was Elaine, you are not entirely in control of your body, no matter how many Lamaze classes you took; Mother Nature had the ultimate power over it. Of course I knew this in my head. We all do. We all know we are eventually going to die. But for the most part that knowledge that Mother Nature is our ultimate boss is a cerebral knowledge. The knowledge I gained about Mother Nature’s power over me was a lived-in-the-body, all cells aware knowledge. It permeated my bones. It was not filed-away brain info. After giving birth to my wonderful son, ten plus pounds left me, but not being able to fit into my pre-maternity clothes surprised me no end. Pre-maternity I wore size ten jeans. After Aaron’s birth I moved up to a comfortable size 16. I felt bushwhacked. Totally caught off-guard. What was going on? Call me naive if you want, I confess that before being pregnant, I remember casting judgmental glances at so many mothers and thinking, gals, why don’t you do something with your bodies. You look so matronly. So puffed out. Now I was part of that club. All very humbling.
Okay, so much for the negative side. I learned fat cells are there to preserve humankind, and once there, they stay, blown up or shrunken. They are there for good. Several weeks after the birth I experienced an “aha” moment. I began to feel that I was admitted to an exclusive club, a club filled with people who are connected to the awesomeness of their bodies’ ability to create another human being through all the discomfort and pain. It humbled me and also cautioned me to take very good care of my body. I also noted that most men do not come into an awareness of their vulnerability to Mother Nature until middle age when they begin to see signs of their thinning hair, and increased paunch. We women are lucky. We are given secret info, a heads up on whether spirit or bodies are ultimately in control here on earth. Men don’t get that information early on by and large. I began to wonder is that why they get so depressed and forlorn in middle age when it finally hits them that they can’t “jump the hurdles” like they used to at cocktail parties, and are filled with a longing and a sadness so etched in my memory from reading that short story of John Cheever called O Youth and Beauty.