Saturday, May 15, 2010


Making a baby is a certain culmination of being human, in that it's biological and natural and the way that we propagate our kind. But it doesn't feel biological, natural or human. It feels God-like. And not in the amusing Bruce Almighty kind of way, but in the, "What did I just. do?" kind of way. (That's what I imagine God said on the seventh day, after he had a cold one and a minute to think about it.)

One of the verses I'm most boggled by is Genesis 6:5. "God was sorry He had made man." It's not boggling to me that He regretted making man; I imagine there have been other periods in history that God was grieved to the point of total regret. I'm boggled, of course, because of God's vantage point. In the moment before he decided to make man in his image, what was He envisioning? What did he see beside the faulty trajectory of his children's hearts, the knowledge that some would turn out very badly, the price they would cost, the ways they would grieve him? Or rather, what did he write on the "pro" list that made the difference? Sometimes I judge God for creating humanity even though he could see ahead to the Holocaust, but here I am making a baby after the Holocaust happened. God knew Hitler was to come; I know that Hitlers are out there for the making. Our vantage points are not altogether different.

But anyone who has ever acknowledged the artistic element to their being understands that creation has very little do with items you can name on a pro/con list. Creating something feels a little like magic and also like obedience. It feels like a precarious privilege, and making a baby feels like the most dangerous thing I have ever done. It's like painting something with my eyes closed for the Queen to hang in the main foyer--I'm blindly going about my masterpiece. I'm more nervous than if I were writing a song to sing in front of a million people. I'm more sheepish telling people that I'm pregnant than I would be to tell people I write poetry. (I do not write poetry, by the way. I just imagine that's a sensitive thing to tell people, based on the anxiety that I feel when someone tells me they write poems.)

The only thing I'm sure of is that I'm doing something kind of wonderful. I know because yesterday I rubbed my belly and whispered, "I can't wait to meet you" to bundle of diving cells in the shape of a seahorse, and then turned to God and said, "Please. Please." Like it was the most important thing. Like I already knew that it was good.


Anonymous said...

oh joy. i love this so much. and it is the most important thing! i am so happy to.. witness? in some way as you grow your baby and become a mother. i am happy to be able to read about it. you will learn and grow and be stretched and challenged so much. it will be beautiful!

Rebekah said...

Reading you is similar to reading Elizabeth Berg, who can make one laugh on one page, and get a lump in the throat on the next. You do it from one paragraph to the next, though! Always such a pleasure to read your musings.