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Shannon Hale

“Contemplations on the belly
When pregnant with our first, Dean and I attended a child birth class. There were about 15 other couples, all 6-8 months pregnant, just like us. As an introduction, the teacher asked us to each share what had been our favorite part of pregnancy and least favorite part. I was surprised by how many of the men and women there couldn't name a favorite part. When it was my turn, I said, "My least favorite has been the nausea, and my favorite is the belly."

We were sitting in the back of the room, so it was noticeable when several heads turned to get a look at me. Dean then spoke. "Yeah, my least favorite is that she was sick, and my favorite is the belly too."

Now nearly every head turned to gander incredulously at the freaky couple who actually liked the belly.

Dean and I laughed about it later, but we were sincere. The belly is cool. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an unmistakable sign of what's going on inside, the wigwam for our little squirmer, the mark of my undeniable superpower of baby-making. I loved the belly and its freaky awesomeness, and especially the flutters, kicks, and bumps from within.

Twins belly is a whole new species. I marvel at the amazing uterus within and skin without with their unceasing ability to stretch (Reed Richards would be impressed). I still have great admiration for the belly, but I also fear it. Sometimes I wonder if I should build a shrine to it, light some incense, offer up gifts in an attempt both to honor it and avoid its wrath. It does seem more like a mythic monstrosity you'd be wise not to awaken than a bulbous appendage. It had NEEDS. It has DEMANDS. It will not be taken lightly (believe me, there's nothing light about it). I must give it its own throne, lying sideways atop a cushion, or it will CRUSH MY ORGANS. This belly is its own creature, is subject to different laws of growth and gravity. No, it's not a cute belly, not a benevolent belly. It would have tea with Fin Fang Foom; it would shake hands with Cthulhu. It's no wonder I'm so restless at night, having to sleep with one eye open.

Nevertheless, I honor you, belly, and the work you do to protect and grow my two precious daughters inside. Truly, they must be even more powerful than you to keep you enslaved to their needs. It's quite clear that out of all of us, I'm certainly not the one in control. I am here to do your bidding, belly and babies. I am your humble servant.”


Shannon Hale
tags: pregnancy
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