These entries are from my blog. The first was written shortly after realising I was (unexpectedly) pregnant. The second right at the end of the pregnancy, that heavy and huge phase. The third a few weeks after birth.
The photographs were taken by Colleen Sevitz, and are used with permission. I was 34 weeks pregnant at the time.
BabyFire is a boy and is my first, and only, child. I am 28 years old and live in South Africa.
Flesh and Bone
Since the beginning, it has been this way. We are entwined. And not separate at all, but I will send you these thoughts as if we were, my body. Separate. Not bonded, spirit and flesh.
If we, as I may or may not believe, choose our physical parents on this earth then perchance we also choose our physical bodies. To teach and learn. Lessons of abstract learnt through the physicality of flesh.
If this is so, or if I shall speculate for now that this is so, then I choose you, my body, to teach me these things.
The perfect parts of you, to teach me the power of the feminine beauty and the less than perfect to keep my feet where they belong on the earth, to weld me to practicality too. The shapeliness of form to enjoy the miracle of uninhibited sexual pleasure and display, and the flawed to remind me of still being spirit too.
How I have abused this body… Run razor blades over it. Ingested pills and powders. Drowned my stomach with good wines and with less honourable spirits. Let others touch and caress and view this body. For my pleasure. For theirs. On memorable occasion for monetary gain. Or simply because I was there and they were there, and we could.
Yet on my flipped (double- sided) side, how I have experienced pleasure in this body. Alone. With one, with two, more. In public, in private, in night and in day. Danced and loved and stroked and cherished. Worshipped and degraded in equal measure, oft at the same time, reveling in the contrast.
This skin which has known all these pleasures and sins, now it tells a new story. I watch it swell and stretch. I look at these scars of mine, the self inflicted and the careless – these stories woven up and down my body for anybody to see, my tattooed canvas, my life’s voice and phases captured and silenced, crushed up and painted upon the surfaces – and anticipate the new stories being written upon it minute by minute. The biological scars of loosening and stretching tissue and sagging muscle and a life born through it.
I trace my fingers over my swollen belly, my heavy breasts – pale as milk with their roadmap of blue veins. Over hips gently pivoting outwards and settling in for their coming labour. Back curving and hollowing to counteract this new weight. To support. Thighs suddenly chunky and womanly, no longer the hint of boyishness of before.
I am beautiful. With my stories plain to see, to anybody who cares to look, written upon my face and body.
I am in love with my pregnant body. It is fascinating to watch yourself change and evolve so gradually. How I will feel afterwards once BabyFire sheds the cocoon I don’t know, but I cannot bring myself to be even a tiny bit stressed about that just yet.
I am savouring each one of these days on my path up to the final day. Savouring the movements and the jiggling and the extra weight, even the little aches and restless nights.
It is so very fleeting, this state. The very nature of it is temporary and it highlights the fleetingness and transience of life. Week by week, day by day, it is an evolution and a reminder that nothing stays the same forever.
Shedding the Cocoon
now I watch the process reverse. reverse and morph into the next phase of nurturing Fire.
the full generous stomach deflating day by day, uterus contracting with a tangible ache until I can no longer feel that little hard ball under my belly button. my skin slowly pulling back to the faint memory of the shape it once was. skin remembers its original form, but it’s a sketchy memory and I can already see that in some places it has forgotten completely and has had to become something new.
as the belly retreats day by day, my breasts seem to compensate by rushing out, the skin stretching and swelling until I can’t believe it can stretch any more. thin purple lines start radiating from each nipple, fast becoming silvery sunbursts. the heft of flesh that little bit lower than before, that little bit closer to the earth than before, and this seems true of all of me. a little bit closer to the earth than before.
cheekbones, hip bones and shoulder bones push their way up and out and through as the extra padding falls away and I look almost familiar to myself again. almost, but not quite.
I mourn a little for what was, the tautness of my old refection. yet, at the same time realise that the new vehicle is better suited to the journey. I have had to let go of a fair amount of mental vanities while travelling down this road, it seems only fitting that some of the physical went along with them.