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    Posted December 4, 2012 by
    LisaMcKay
    Location
    Ballina, Australia
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    How did pregnancy change you?

    A Baby-Shaped Hole In My Heart

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     LisaMcKay submitted a blog post she wrote when she was seven months pregnant in 2011. 'I was ambivalent about being pregnant because I really liked my life the way it was. I had a thriving career. I'm an author, and a psychologist, and here in Laos I was working as a consultant on interesting projects on trauma and resilience for organizations all over the world,' she said. 'I knew I wanted a family, but I was also wary of the huge change (and, frankly, the sacrifices of time and energy) that I knew a baby would bring.'

    But as she got further into the pregnancy, her little boy made a 'baby-shaped hole' in her heart. 'Even after the baby was born, his place in my heart continued to grow and take shape and take root. I wasn't flooded with instant mother-love upon birth. Nor did I feel that mystical instant connection. But, now ... now, my husband might complain (if he were that sort) that the baby's hole in my heart takes up more than its fair share of heart-space,' she said. How did pregnancy change you? Share your story here.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Last night, after I got up to visit the bathroom for the third time, the baby woke up and started squirming. Then he got the hiccups. I lay there in the dark with my hand on my belly – feeling those small, rhythmic twitches just underneath my fingertips – and thought about how it was impossible now to forget, even for a minute, that I am pregnant.

     

    Twenty years ago I remember wondering why miscarriages were quite such a big deal. After all, my teenaged self puzzled, the baby hadn’t even been born yet. How could you grieve over something that never was?

     

    It was, I now know, an epic failure of imagination.

     

    I am not one of these women who has wanted to be a mother from the time that she was twelve years old. At times during this last decade I have said that I wanted children, but this was mostly an intellectual and theoretical desire not an emotional longing. Even now, ten weeks from giving birth, I am ambivalent about being pregnant.

     

    This is one thing that has baffled my husband. After I wrote the blog post announcing my pregnancy, he asked me whether I really was as ambivalent as I’d made myself out to be, or whether I was just being a drama queen.

     

    “I’m totally ambivalent,” I said, surprised. “You’re not?”

     

    “No,” he said. “You’re pregnant, the switch is flicked, I’m 100% on board. It’s great!”

     

    Yeah, it’s great. It really is. I am happy, I am content, and I am grateful.

     

    And, yet.

     

    I am also anxious about labor and delivery. I am worried about how my life will change, how I’ll juggle the different identities that are important to me – writer, psychologist, wife, friend, and now mother. I am mourning the upcoming loss of long, lazy dinner conversations with Mike and of quiet and time that has, before now, been mostly mine to use to work, create, or connect as I pleased. My horizon feels as if it’s narrowing.

     

    But.

     

    As I’ve grown physically this last seven months so has the baby – this baby who hasn’t even been born yet – been creating space for himself in my heart and mind. I still can’t fully imagine what motherhood will be. What I may be losing still often feels more concrete than the new experiences and joys that may be coming my way. But, slowly, that balance is shifting. As the little boy inside me wriggles, twists, and stretches he’s not just enlarging the boundaries of my belly, he’s also fashioning a baby-shaped hole in my heart.

     

    I now understand what my 15-year-old self could not – that a baby can be a vital, living, tangible presence in hopes and dreams and visions of the future long before it even comes close to being born. For even as I get bigger and more uncomfortable every day I am starting to catch glimpses of a brand new horizon as it’s opening up in front of me. And, sometimes, that new vista even looks as a little like the view from the back deck did last night when the clouds parted and sun poured through, drenching the sugar cane fields nestled between the river and the sea in gold

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