It’s funny how nine months seems so short in memory, but feels eternal in actuality. I remember thinking that my wife’s pregnancy was just crawling along (pun intended), and then every few months there’d be this quantum leap as she entered some new phase. A lovely time lapse video captures what pregnancy looks like in two minutes, and it’s funny, cause the same thing happens. In the beginning I was like, is that woman even pregnant? And then it was obvious that she was.
Besides the cool factor of watching the woman’s belly balloon with a baby before your eyes, I like how it presents a metaphor for the father’s experience during pregnancy. He appears frequently to add props — a Christmas tree, for example — and measure her stomach, and then parades past the door with new baby accouterments like a stroller. He’s obviously excited, but he’s also secondary to the amazing story that’s being told by his partner’s body. The action is happening in there, where this tiny new life is developing from a few cells into a beautiful little human. (I just ran into a friend with a six week old the other day, and her daughter’s tiny infant feet and toes astounded me.)
As a father-to-be for the first time (an experience I blogged about), I sometimes felt left out of the whole experience. Essential to it, of course, but in a theoretical way. Not having a kid, I had no idea what it would mean or feel like to be a father. And so my life largely went on — perhaps I partied with a bit more urgency, wanting to put a few crazy nights under my belt before settling in at home with a newborn — while my wife experienced a mulitude of changes and feelings that I bore witness to, from the outside, but didn’t experience first hand. Just like the guy in the video, I provided comic relief and emotional support, a strong arm to lean on when going to the hospital. (I also made sure to do the dinner dishes and sweep the floor before we left.) But the real star of the show is the woman, and the life that’s growing on camera but, in a way, off screen, within her belly.