Where does "me" end and "you" begin at the end of a very long pregnancy?
I'm to the point where people hardly see me anymore. Instead, they see a huge belly waddling towards them, bleary-eyes peeking out from above, swollen ankles balancing careful - awkwardly - below. And I'm getting just a little bit tired of all the strangers saying, "How much longer do you have to go?" and "Boy or girl?"...not because I don't appreciate their desire to connect, but because I ask myself these questions on an hourly basis and it would be nice to have some variety in my existence.
The thing about being pregnant is that, I'm displaced from my own body, sharing this very limited space that I have in the universe with another human being.
And every day, he (or she, no predictions here) compacts me into a smaller space to make room for his growing self. With every passing day, as his lungs develop, mine don't have quite as much room to inflate. As he stretches his growing limbs, he inevitably steps on my bladder, or some other internal part that one takes for granted as being off-limits to anybody other than oneself. If it was just about sharing latitude and longitude, maybe I could show greater fortitude. But the thing is, it goes way beyond that. My entire concept of myself is as dramatically altered as my pregnant silhouette in a way that is very difficult to explain. I don't have the same mental capacity, the same emotional stamina. In some ways, my internal world is as totally unfamiliar to me as this body that the two of us are now inhabiting.
Thirty-seven weeks pregnant. And it's day thirty-seven of the omer today. There has got to be a connection, but my sleep-deprived brain struggles to make the leap. My omer counter tells me that today's sefirah (emotional attribute) focuses on restraint within bonding. Setting limits on how much you intertwine yourself with another human being. Something down deep gasps, "How?!" For nine months, there has been no such thing as setting limits or drawing lines.
In these months, there is absolutely no "me". Only "us".
So today, is there any way for me to find the balance of restraint within bonding, or is this just a period when balance is thrown to the wind and and I have to say, "I'm all in. Let all lines be happily erased and let me cease to struggle against the fear of losing myself in the bog of prenatal hormones." Or maybe...this is a chance to re-explore where the lines that demarcate "myself" from "everyone else" actually lie. Maybe what I think of as "me" is really just another layer of my shell. Maybe "me" is something deeper than my body, deeper than my feelings and thoughts...Maybe the real me is even deeper than all of these layers and my task for today is to just stop freaking out about how much I feel like I'm losing touch with my body, my feelings, my mind...and to chose to identify with the true "me" that has never, for one second, lost its connection with the Source. Maybe for me, my restraint within bonding is to recognize that this complete sharing of my existence with another person is limited, but that Him sharing His existence with me...that's forever.