It’s Baby Week, ya’ll.
Elysia was born on March 20. This week, I’ll be sharing different pieces of that experience, a day at a time. All of the posts about Ely’s birth are here.
If you’re confused about all of this, check out the posts under the surrogacy category, you’ll catch up.
One interesting thing is that I don’t feel done. People keep asking how it feels to be done with this experience, and I don’t quite know what to say, because I’m not feeling that yet. In some ways, it feels like another lifetime, even though it’s been only a few weeks. And in other ways, it feels so completely present because I’m still working through all of the changes that this process worked in my life and in my understanding of who I am in the world and what I believe is possible.
The other thing a number of people have said to me is that I should make sure I give myself space to grieve. I’m not feeling that either, exactly. I’m not in mourning for a baby who is very much alive and happy. Dayna said, “It’s not like mourning a person, but sometimes the end of something big like this does need some processing,” and that feels more right. Not mourning the baby, nor the pregnancy, which I’m quite happy to be done with, but processing what the end of it means. I forgot, in the five years since my last pregnancy, how mentally and physically consuming making a new person can be. I had forgotten what went into finding my new normal after each of my own children’s births. I thought that the challenges of those times were because I had a baby to take care of, but now I understand that a big part of it is the way that pregnancy itself rearranges everything. both in a literal and physical sense, and in a more metaphorical sense.
So. What’s next? Or maybe a better question is, What’s changed?
Jennifer asked me, a little over a week ago, how all of this might change my work. I jokingly said, “Well, it’s been eight days, so…” but the truth is, I keep thinking about what Katherine said, a year and a half ago, when I told her I was going to do this. She said, “That is the ultimate act of creation for an artist. I can’t wait to see what your art is after this.” I’m eager to see that, too. I think I won’t really know until I’m in rehearsal again. One thing that came out of all of this is that I think I’m braver about following where the Spirit/muse leads me (I talked about this a bit last summer when my church somehow let me do a Shakespeare sermon…, if you’re curious about that.). I’m listening in new dimensions. I am sure that will deepen my work, and probably every other aspect of my life, too.
I’ve taken a step back from a lot of my work this year, and I feel not just ready, but emboldened, to seek out the next level of it. I’m reaching a little higher, stretching myself a little further. If I ever needed to prove to myself that I can do difficult things, this year did that.
What’s next? I can’t wait to find out.