Pregnancies, Babies, and Family

December 14, 2007

This article is written for three or more people in particular: the expecting mother, the expecting father, and the expected.

Congratulations to all of you. You have, through the mere act of minding your own "business," created an entity who, as it usually goes, will be glad he or she exists, and, as it usually goes, will be glad that you are his or her parents. This is quite something to consider. Through mere natural circumstances that are an acceptedly routine part of acceptedly routine life, you have begun a process that will result in a person who, after all, is just as important as you are. That's what I call profit. This person is also just as important as anyone in the whole world--as important as Joe Smith, Mary Jones, that guy down the block, John Paul II, or any CEO, grocery bagger, flight navigator, or brain surgeon. And this person who's just as important as the lowest paid or most highly regarded persons in the world will think you're the greatest! So now you have a great big head start in the "I'm OK" department. Better yet, you should have just a great big head over this, because pregnancy makes you great. You shouldn't forget that. You shouldn't forget where you figure into the scheme of things. By scheme of things I mean life--real life--what's really important. Using your pregnancy as the reminder, you can remember your role in this life. Regardless of your philosophies, the pregnant state is one which can establish for each of us the true perspective of life in our family, in our species, and on our planet.

Affection is our mammalian heritage. Even those famous school-learned prerequisites of mammalian identity reek of tenderness: the warm blood that is sensed in an embrace--which feeling causes an embrace to be shared; the hair that anchors the clinging of offspring, that affords the comfort of snuggling; the milk glands that allow a baby to taste from a mother life itself. What I'm speaking of, of course, is bonding. As far above the rest of the mammals as we've developed, we are indeed fortunate that bonding is an effect of the physiology we have inherited and therefore can enjoy.

Live birth, even though not a mammalian exclusive, is certainly a mammalian point of pride. When we were thrown out of Eden, so were the rest of the mammals, because all of us hairy and breasted comrades know the importance of the phrase, "In pain shall you bring forth children." The importance does not lie in a penalty of any sort, for a good epidural anesthetic can commute that sentence; actually, the importance of live birth being the "big deal" that it is lies in its very obvious announcement that this baby comes from you, comes out of you, is of you. Be you mother or father, relating to your own progeny via this incredible event transcends all other bonding sensibilities.

Love And Family with a Baby

And then there is love. The bonding mammalian phenomena that nurture mere affection and devotion are only the template for love. It swells vaguely yet powerfully above all of this physiology and anatomy to embrace the joy of life through the joy in others. As human beings, we know we differ from our other warm-blooded counterparts perhaps not by being the only ones who do love, but by being the only ones who savor it.

And then there is the family, the most beautiful expression of love in all of life. The miracle of mammalian reproduction is that aspect of life that ties us so beautifully and so intimately into the goings-on of the whole planet and into our relation to all life on Earth. But apart from the other mammals, we ourselves choose to create a child as a philosophical decision. We choose as our reason love itself. Choosing to have a family, therefore, sets us apart in our role as eclectic pinnacle of evolution. For we don't set as our goal providing for the inherited brood that seems to haphazardly emanate from mating; we actually plan to have our family as our goal in celebrating our humanity. And we achieve this goal one birth at a time.

So pregnancy is both the blueprint for the family and the miracle that reminds us of the beautiful human perspective of life, a perspective of the parental role in this most miraculous part of life we celebrate. After all, this is why we choose to do this or accept to have this happen in us. Congratulations are indeed in order when pregnancy is achieved, for you are embarking on a mammalian experience that is physiologically astounding; you are also solemnizing the family which is the greatest human experience.

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