Alice is round and beautiful. We sit and chat about the pesky numbness in her fingers, how to sleep a bit more comfortably. As her midwife, I have the pleasure of playing with her lovely belly, measuring and feeling. The intimacy of the touch is purposeful and also connecting. After that, we sit down opposite each other again. I have asked her several times in different ways, "Anything else you want to talk to me about?" Just checking in, opening up the door a little. She shifts on the sofa. I adjust the pillows behind her. "Well, I don't like the way I'm so emotional. I mean, I have lots of things going on, but I don't like the way this feels"
"You mean the feelings feel out of control?"
"Yes, I don't like it"
"It doesn't feel like yourself?"
Quiet in the room for a moment. The picture behind Alice is a painting of a green English meadow. I grew up with it in my bedroom. I look up at it. Peaceful and centering.
"And what is going on?"
"I've had a death in the family, my godfather. I went to the funeral the other day. ...... And there's lots of change. John will graduate. Will we stay here? Will we move near to my Mom?"
"Pregnancy is certainly a time of change, sometimes a time of chaos"
"And my brother. He's in the military. I'm very close to him but he's a long way away. He's got himself into trouble and I can't help him."
I look at Alice. Her eyes are dark and wet.
"My father..... I haven't seen him for a long time. He's been in prison for 9 years. He's coming up for a parole hearing. He probably won't get out. He may.... It's been a long time"
Alice talks and the room is still.
"Are you and John doing OK?"
"Yes, but I don't like the way I am with him right now. I'm short-tempered. I can be mean"
"Acting like a bitch?"
"Acting like a bitch."
We talk some more. That is pregnancy. Time full of change. Feelings escape their boundaries. They are uncontrollably present, in the eyes, on the skin, in the air.
Alice says "I don't like it"
I love it because it is pregnancy. Intensity, transformation, change. I hear Alice. I believe her. I accept her discomfort. And like the intensity of birth, Alice goes through it and grows through it.