Miracle. All of it.

You tell yourself not to build things up, not to expect too much, to be sensible, rational, balanced. But you have never had a talent for those things and, besides, your biology, your body is singing a different song, a distracting, absorbing, joyous tune: your blood capacity rises, pulsing along your veins, your breasts swell, like dough, out of your bras, the muscle and capacity of your heart increases, your appetite hears the call, responds to demand, and you find yourself in the kitchen at midnight, contemplating crackers and fish paste, grapefruit and halloumi.

Your imagination keeps pace with your teeming body: you picture a girl, a boy, perhaps twins, because there are numerous twins in your family, both identical and fraternal— your own father is one. It will be blond, it will be dark, auburn, curly-haired. It will be tall, it will be petite. It will look like its father, you, its brother, a melange of all three. It will love painting, pole-vaulting, trains, cats, puddles, sandboxes, bikes, sticks, the building of towers. You will take it swimming, you will rake leaves and light bonfires, you will push it along the seafront, you will tuck it into the basket its brother used. You tell yourself not to be stupid enough to buy anything, but then you pass, in a shop, a knitted rabbit in soft blue wool, with a yellow ribbon and a startled, quizzical expression. You reverse, you hesitate, you pick it up. Quick, while no one is looking. You picture yourself placing this rabbit inside a hospital crib, for the child to look at. Of course you take it to the till and you hand over the money, hurriedly, furtively. You carry it home, you wrap it in tissue and you hide it at the bottom of a drawer. When you are alone, you take it out and look at it.

You leaf through name books and think: Sylvie, Astrid, Lachlan, Isaac, Rafael? Who will it be? Who will be coming?

~ Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Feb 6, 2018)


Notes:

  • Photo – Softmomma
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Comments

  1. I have never read this before. It is absolutely wonderful. Many thanks for this perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. crystalamayy says:

    It’s v difficult not to expect anything ,to ne practical.ur body changes aa well as ur mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s too early for these tears of mine…every time, yes, yes and you offer prayers that it will be healthy, negotiating offers to ensure that it be so while the names circle, the day-to-day activities play in your mind as a mobile..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A beautiful miracle with no certainty 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. And to your point she continues:

      Around one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage; up to 75 per cent of these occur in the first trimester.* The risk of pregnancy loss, then, in the first twelve weeks is 15 per cent. One in a hundred women experience recurrent miscarriages; a third of women in the UK attending specialist clinics as a result of miscarriage are clinically depressed. We all, I think, know these statistics, or at least have a vague sense of them. We know miscarriage is out there, at our backs, pursuing us, like Andrew Marvell’s wingéd chariot. […]

      “It was nothing you did,” the nurse says. “It’s not your fault.” I am silent. I had not thought it might be. I look again at the image of the baby on the screen. There it is. Sitting up in its dark cave, as if waiting for something, as if on best behaviour. If I sit straight, it seems to be saying, no one will notice. I know how it should be, how it should look: this is, after all, my second pregnancy. I know the heartbeat should be there, flashing and flashing like a siren. So when the radiologist says that he’s sorry, the baby is dead, I already know. But I carry on staring at the monitor because there is some frail, furled part of me that is hoping there has been a mistake, that the heartbeat might suddenly appear, that the scanning machine might roll further and there it will be. I can’t look away from the screen, even when the radiologist starts talking again, even when they say I can get down from the bed and get dressed. I want to burn the image of that tiny, ghost-pale form into my retina. I want to remember it, to honour its existence, however short.

      ~ Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, February 6, 2018)

      Liked by 3 people

  5. This captures the primacy of what I imagine pregnancy to be like. Have never had this experience, but have always imagined that it encompasses wonder, wild hopes and dreams, fear and a fierce love that trumps all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. yes, there is truly nothing on earth like it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You know, what another miracle is? Each baby we carry, some of their fetal cells stay in our bodies for life.

    And how somehow we live the rest of our lives with them out and then grown and away.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I remember…and it was beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read both excerpts written by Maggie O’Farrell, The first excerpt bothered me…as she continually referred to the life growing within her, as “IT”…that term so evoked a sudden pause in me and took me back, to my own pregnancy…a precious Baby, a Life is Not An “IT” and in my case I will never forget the phone call from my Doctor telling me that my fetus is Non -Viable…I let her know that she is talking of MY BABY…the doctor was so clinical and she told me look you are my patient and the Non–Viable fetus is secondary…and that frankly I am not sure if we can save your Life…I responded to her…that I was 28 eight years old, have, had a life (& am willing to pass to save My Baby) and that My Baby was Not Non-Viable and deserves every chance to have the opportunity of Life…she of course disagreed. She was Wrong…My Precious, Beautiful Baby was Alive,..premature, yes and fighting for her Life in the NICU as I was fighting for mine…the Gift of Life should never be taken for granted.
    Referring, further to the word “IT” there is a book about a “Boy Called It” the book is called “A Child Called It” a NYT Best Seller (1995) I watched an interview about the book many years ago…so very sad…childhood abuse…
    The second excerpt written by Maggie O’Farrell seems like it was written by someone else…such a different voice…she was in shock, in grief and I am so sorry that part of her journey was the devastating loss of Her Child…how a person comes to terms with the loss of a child, I don’t know…Maggie O’Farrell in writing her book , shows her courage and teaches us compassion… each breath is a gift and the threading of each breath to the next strings together a Life Lived…

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is a school of thought out there that expects women to get over a miscarriage as if nothing has happened, to metabolise it quickly and get on with life. It’s just like a bad period, a friend of mine was told, briskly, by her mother-in-law. To this, I say: Why? Why should we carry on as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary? It is not ordinary to conceive a life and then to lose it; it’s very far from ordinary. These passings should be marked, should be respected, should be given their due. It’s a life, however small, however germinal. It’s a collection of cells, from you and, in most cases, from someone you love. Yes, of course worse things happen every day; no one in their right mind would deny that. But to dismiss a miscarriage as nothing, as something you need to take on the chin and carry on, is to do a disservice to ourselves, to our living children, to those nascent beings that lived only within us, to the person we imagined throughout the short pregnancy, to those ghost children we still carry in our minds, the ones who didn’t make it.

      ~ Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, February 6, 2018)

      Liked by 1 person

    • So, after the terrible moment in the dark of the scanning room, you are always taken somewhere else, where you must wait for someone to come and speak with you about “what happens next.” Sometimes this is a reasonable place, like the bad-news room; at other times, not. Once, you are made to wait back where all the other women are queuing for their scans and they regard you, appalled and petrified, as you sit there with your teeth gritted, your hands clamped over your face. They are too scared to sit next to you, as if what you have is catching, so you are stranded alone on an entire bank of plastic chairs. On another occasion, you are shown into what you immediately realise is a labour suite: the bed is still rumpled, there are flecks of blood on the walls; the air is filled with the screams and exhortations, then the sudden new cries of birth. You sit there, disbelieving, listening to someone in the next-door room approach the climax of labour. You send an unhinged text message to your friend: No heartbeat, you write, and I’m being made to wait in, guess what, a labour suite. She texts back: Leave that room, walk out, I’m coming to get you.

      ~ Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, February 6, 2018)

      Like

  10. Wow Christie. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  11. Thank you Dave…all of us have words that are triggers to past memories…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is beautiful, David. There is definitely nothing like knowing a human is growing inside of you and the joy and fear and excitement and worry all rolled into one make it that much “more”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. excellent article. what each woman Feels, with each pregnancy … can not be dictated, nor brokered, nor sullied. it simply is what it is, for each of us.
    Thank you David for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. awwwh – I still have Maggie O’Farrell’s last book I read, on my desk, right next to my computer: This must be the place…. and I can’t wait to get my hands on this last one!!!! Just from this very short snippet above you can see how extraordinarily gifted this writer is. Beyond wonderful! She wrote this ‘as it is’…..

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: