The side of my belly stretches and bulges and I’m sure I can see the outline of a foot. Next comes a poke under the ribs and a tickle below my belly button. Baby is dancing in there; stretching and squirming in increasingly confined quarters. I could spend hours watching this jumping and rolling; a dance of life – new life springing from my own life.
The truly incredible thing? Pregnancy is so ordinary. There are billions of people on the planet and we’ve all come from the same place: birthed into the world by our mothers. Yet this truly ordinary occurrence is extraordinary. Really, really extraordinary.
Pregnant or not, when you think about what pregnancy and birth involves, you can’t help but be blown away by the miracle of it all. I have to keep reminding myself there’s a little person in my abdomen … a real human!
But don’t all ordinary things in this world have the potential to inspire awe and wonder? What about the beauty of a blooming flower, the twinkle of stars in the sky, the crashing waves of the ocean?
It’s easy to see the mystery and the joy in the everyday if you see the world through the eyes of a child. Everything new and amazing; potential and opportunity everywhere. For some reason, though, it’s not always easy to take this attitude out into the big wide world. We’re so conditioned and jaded by our pasts, by the sheer volume of information we absorb every moment of every day. So what can we do to move past simply seeing the ordinary to seeing the wonder and miracle of every moment?
The practice of mindfulness asks us to slow down, to be fully present with what we’re experiencing at any given time. Eating chocolate can take on a new dimension if you give up the urge to gobble it down and instead immerse your senses in the process. As the chocolate melts in your mouth and slides down your throat, you become aware of a depth of smells, textures and flavours. They’re not new, you’re just giving yourself the chance to notice them. As you walk to work, you can let go of the rush, let go of the constant planning and worrying about what the day holds. Instead, take the time to really notice the things around you, even the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement with each step.
Through my pregnancy I’ve really been struck by this coexistence of the ordinary and extraordinary. Maybe it would be easy to push my amazement away, to convince myself that pregnancy and life are just ordinary. But I like to think that everything really is extraordinary – we’re just not practiced in seeing it.
The pregnant body: extraordinary; new life: extraordinary; the every day: extraordinary.
We don’t have to look for it, simply open our eyes and hearts to see it.