It’s funny how a random moment, the portrait of something we are completely unconnected to, can evoke such strong emotions. Sometimes it’s a song, or a scent that brings back a memory or causes an intense yearning. For me, this past weekend, it was something simple and completely unexpected. More than 24 hours later, it still sits with me, playing with my emotions.
We were meeting my in-laws at Ikea, sitting near the entrance waiting for them to arrive. The kids were roaming around the vignette’s touching things, exploring, having fun. We were mostly trying to keep them from breaking anything. I was sitting on a couch, watching the droves of people come in.
Then she went by. I didn’t know her at all. We didn’t even make eye contact. She was pregnant, perhaps six or seven months along. She walked by with an older woman, who I thought must be her mother. She walked the walk of a woman who had all the time in the world. She looked relaxed and content. There was obviously no way for me to know, but something about her said this was her first pregnancy.
In that moment, all of my assumptions about her caused me to feel intensely wistful. There she was, the promise of her new life as a mother just waiting for her. She was blossoming in the beauty that is the unknowing, full of anticipation and excitement I’m sure for all the changes to come.
My wistfulness led me to thinking and remembering. And I felt a little sad. Sad that the first anticipation of new motherhood was over for me forever. But also, I’ll be honest, because in those moments, those nine months of my first pregnancy, I had no idea how much my life would change. If I had, I would have lived them a little differently.
I wondered if she was enjoying the last months of living a life wrapped up in only herself? Were she and her partner getting out, enjoying relaxing, quiet dinners? Was she reading lots of books, sitting on the couch or cuddled in a favourite chair for hours? Was she shopping endlessly for cute outfits? Was she taking long, hot showers without listening for crying or fighting? Was she coming home at night and forgetting about dinner and just doing whatever she pleased? Were her mornings spent lounging for hours in bed, perhaps talking endlessly, uninterrupted with her partner? Did she realize that all these things would be so much less available to her in just a short time?
A fleeting moment, an image and an assumption without any real connection, and I’m left sifting through such strong emotions.
Image: ‘Reflecting‘ via a Creative Commons license.