40 Weeks Pregnant: A Thin Veil Between Worlds

After the birth of my first son, my midwife said to me, “Don’t you think ushering new life is going to bring you to your knees? It brings me to my knees every time…

We’d been talking about my struggle for several hours to push Rowan out into the world, and how the pain literally brought me to my knees, over and over again for four hours of pushing in the middle of the night. Those brutal hours from 1:30 to 5:30am were unlike any other: A threshold, a portal, an unmistakable glimpse into the vast power of the mystery that is life – beyond my control, vexing yet awe-inspiring, bringing me to my knees in a gesture of humility so all-consuming it took my breath away again and again. There was no way out but in. No turning away or back. The threshold had to be crossed.

And here I am again: standing at the gateway to Birth, which is akin to inhabiting a thin veil between worlds. The word ‘liminal’ comes to mind: Of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process, occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. The space in between. I rest in this liminal realm where I’m called this time to lay down the desire to know what ultimately can’t be known. Already I’m being taken to my knees: reminded by the powers that be that there is nothing to do other than trust a process far greater than oneself. All I have to do is be available, surrender… And yet, here I am, spinning conjectures and betting odds on when and how baby will come…

It strikes me that instead of inhabiting the familiar world of intellectual odd-betting and grasping for what is “known,” being 40 plus weeks pregnant is a time to settle into the mystery of liminality. We can choose to hang in the spaces in between. We can swing freely in the balance of the inner and outer, the inside world and outside…much like the womb contrasted by the vast space of everything else. We can walk the thin lines between darkness and light, mystery and the known, fullness and release, contraction and expansion. Even if not pregnant with new life, perhaps there is a lesson here that we can all access, for the womb is our origin and we have all made this journey from breathing water to breathing air, most of us having hung upside down in our mothers even as the rest of the world was so-called “right side up.”

For this brief moment in time, a pregnant woman holds the sublime reminder of a passageway between worlds. She is the circle of yin and yang holding a small universe of life inside. Herein lies a blueprint for living: remember the mystery from which you sprang and to which you will return. Learn to bask in the not-knowing. Trust forces at work beyond your control and let yourself be humbled by what it can take to bring new life onto this Earth. Relinquish all desires to know and control. Only then, resting gracefully in the liminal realm of mystery, will you enter into the fertile plains of free-flowing unbridled creative synergy: that which truly does propel forth new life and make the world go ’round…

One thought on “40 Weeks Pregnant: A Thin Veil Between Worlds

  1. Susan holm

    Oh Deborah, I am always richer from reading your journey; thoughts; insights. Thank you. You are carrying one fortunate child whose mother can remain peaceful, calm, accepting as the clock ticks past 40 weeks … Commendable! You are already supporting this little person to “be” exactly who he is … Even though your choice would be “please come out and breath air instead of water!!!” awesome mom! Be well. Be at peace. Be content. Live with ease. … And you are & do and so does your baby. Birthing hugs abound for all of you. Susan

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