Recognizing the Exquisite Gift of New Life

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Published: May 12, 2015

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Today is my birthday. While I am thankful to see this day, I’m more overjoyed with the fact it marks the 23rd week of my pregnancy. When a good friend of mine called and asked what kind of gift I wanted, I told her that no other gift is necessary. Feeling my baby’s movements inside me, though admittedly strange at times, makes me smile and laugh like nothing else. I feel so fortunate to experience this journey, especially after the disappointment of living through miscarriage.

Any and every loss of life is sad. The whole world feels the absence of that energy, the sudden negation of all the things that particular being was to our incredibly interconnected planet. At the very least though, there are memories to which we can hold. There’s a funeral we can plan and attend,a service which can be recognized by friends and associates and  bring us all together to grieve.

When a woman miscarries, she must cope with the death of dreams and hopes that will never be realized for a life that never will be. And while she and her family mourns, life around them just happily continues without a funeral or obituary or any chance of knowing or understanding why. Yes, miscarriages are natural and even necessary to ensure life’s progression with the best possible chances of survival, but oh does it hurt. I’m familiar with that pain. Each time I hear of a miscarriage, I relive it. I ache for the family. I weep. But the special knowledge of that pain makes me even more appreciative of every new pregnancy and every new baby. And so, on this day of my own birth, there is no better gift than the constant reassurance of life with each movement in my belly.

According to my pregnancy studies, my baby is just under a foot or 30 centimeters long. He weighs about a pound or more (about the weight of a large mango). His sense of hearing has developed to the point where he can hear what I hear. When it’s too quiet, he has no problem letting me know with a constant series of kicks and prods. Since I’m already a pushover for this little guy, I appease him with an ongoing stream of music, singing and dancing. I’ve also started his very own library and take great pleasure in reading to him as our family dog looks on quite perplexed. At night, when the baby is in the throes of his usual late-night flips, my husband and I have learned that about 15 minutes of any song performed by Gregory Isaacs will knock both baby and me right out. We hope this little trick will work with Junior outside of my uterus.

In other news, we’ve begun to make our list of the various equipment we will need to accommodate our new edition. When it comes to baby, I find that my love affair with American excess is at direct odds with my common sense. Do we really need a wet wipe warmer, or a nursing pillow, or thousands of receiving blankets, or a crying analyzer? No.

When my mother was a baby, there were no such things as baby utensils. Grandma fed Mom with her finger when Mom could eat solid foods. When my nephew was born almost 26 years ago, we managed to change his diapers just fine without a changing table. For some reason, however, I feel as if our lives will not be complete without a jolly jumper. In fact, that would make a great birthday gift for me. Please buy my baby a jolly jumper. Thanks.

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About Nikki Igbo

Nikki Igbo is a blogger, writer, editor and political scientist. She received her BA in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and her MFA in Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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