I am writing this with the baby lying on a big red pillow covered by a blanket with sheep on it, on my lap and I am rocking him from side to side by slowly moving my legs. He is smiling in his sleep.
I was inspired today by something Underbara Clara wrote. It was about looking forward to good things that will happen in the future without being afraid of jinxing it. She refers to her pregnancy and how people have asked her about her blogging about it and decorating a nursery. Wasn’t she scared that something might go wrong? Clara’s reply is that one will not be punished for looking forward to something and being happy about it before it happens.
I agree that there will be no punishment for being happy in advance. Nor will one be rewarded for having worried about things.
Nevertheless, I don’t think I would have blogged about my pregnancy and I did not decorate a nursery. We don’t have a spare room, so there was a practical aspect to it too. But I didn’t even assemble the cot. It was still in its box when we came home from the hospital. Looking back, it wasn’t that clever as the first hours and days at home were chaotic enough without trying to assemble IKEA furniture. I knew that it wouldn’t be clever, but I couldn’t stand the thought of potentially having to take it apart because our baby didn’t make home with us from the hospital. So I left it unassembled.
During the pregnancy I had a hard time understanding that there really was a baby inside of me and that he would come out and live with us. When he finally did come out and I could see him between my legs, I said in a truly surprised voice:
-Look it is a baby! It’s our baby!
I hadn’t really been excited about him coming, as I couldn’t picture it. It was like it was too big of a thing for me to grasp, that I was going to be so lucky as to have a child.
So, I didn’t do what Clara did, being happy in advance. Not so much because I was afraid to jinx anything, but more as a way of being respectful of the greatness that was happening within me. In Buddhism, suffering is caused by ascribing permanence to the world, which is in fact impermanent. In other words, nothing is permanent; everything will change, whether for the better or the worse. For me this translates to not taking anything for granted as it could change at any moment. It also means to be grateful for what is right now.
The secret is to not let the “not take for granted” change into worry. Worry is always unnecessary but acknowledgement of impermanence is crucial. My baby is not held alive by me worrying that he might die but at the same time I must not take for granted that he will live. So far, motherhood seems to be a constant exercise in finding the balance between the two.