She mentioned she might be pregnant, a regular occurrence in our household. “Maybe you are pregnant,” was the first time I ventured that possibility. That made her eyes open wide. 3 positives tests later (I think I had to purchase another one after she used 2) and she was almost willing to believe it.
Please understand that I had been ready for kids for quite some time. As I’m a bit older, I was feeling the need to start another generation. She finally felt that same urge and we embarked on a new phase in our relationship. But boy, we had no clue how much our lives would change. Not to mention her body.
I admit to some jealousy. While I had a miniscule role in bringing about this life, she would be the one nurturing it, knitting it together in her womb, providing warmth, sustenance, blood, and all those other things a new life requires. What could I do? I couldn’t get in there and help with any of that. But I did my best to care for her during gestation.
One way I cared for her was telling her how beautiful she was. Of course, being bombarded by our shallow cultural messages of what “beauty” is, she couldn’t help but wonder if she was getting “gross” or “fat.” When I looked at her I couldn’t see any of that. Every change in her body was a sign of a loved one being formed inside, and it was gorgeous.
It took a while before this new life started making visible marks. Seeing Cherie’s belly grow from week to week was sheer joy. Her expanding belly indicated health, vitality, new life. The larger she got, the more radiant she became. Of course, her belly wasn’t the only body part affected, and all this growth meant new wardrobe headaches and such, but the health of our new family member was never in doubt.
During this time of development, I loved to touch her belly, to imagine our little Ziggy getting bigger and bigger. I would talk to the fetus from time to time, try to feel it kicking every time she mentioned movement, and loved seeing her love physically growing. I would catch her holding her belly frequently, looking down in awe, pondering the little life she was shaping.
There came a time when we noticed stretch marks. She was nervous that I would be disgusted by them, but I was thrilled. What a wonderful sign of growth. “Stretch marks” is simply not adequate as a descriptor. “Baby bands,” “love lines,” “tick marks to delivery,” anything else to indicate progress, more growth, a mother getting ready to birth a new life, would be appreciated. Why worry about the impact of marks on a stretching belly when it means there’s a baby about to be born? That’s what’s important. Those marks are badges of progress, prego progress badges. They are to be celebrated as birth is coming soon after.
Yes, I know, a woman’s changing body has its downsides. Discomfort, changing wardrobe, new and sometimes painful feelings. Also, there is the lack of control about what’s happening. But I can’t argue about the results. Cherie’s body, her temple grew to allow room for new life, and every sign, every step of the way, helped us prepare for Ziggy’s arrival. And now that Ezekiel is here, I thank Cherie, and continue to cherish her incredible, life-making body. She’s more beautiful now than ever before, and I’m amazed at how her love continues to grow even though Ziggy is on the outside now.
I continue to look at her in awe. Everything about her body loudly proclaims her ability to create life. Those prego progress badges still visible, still reminding us of how much she changed to accommodate this life. Those swollen breasts providing the nectar of life to our little one, the sheer vitality of a post-birth body, the incredible joy in her eyes as she sees Ezekiel growing, all this makes her more gorgeous than ever. I’m truly blessed to call Cherie my partner in life and look forward to cherishing her mother body.