Knowing

It's a rainy Tuesday morning and the house is cool and dark. I like the rain. It reflects my quiet mood and makes me feel better about staying in all day.

I'm feeling better than yesterday, with a bit more energy and a more positive outlook. These last days continue to be so surreal. This waiting for something so unknown. I vacillate between a restless impatience and a calmer state of staying present, my moods swinging back and forth almost hourly. Sometimes I find it easy to simply be here in these last days, 9 months pregnant, 31 years old, married and living in Chicago. But sometimes I feel frozen with a strange anxiety about this waterfall of life I am about to go over.

I still can't really imagine what it's going to be like to actually meet our baby and hold it in my arms. I still worry about what kind of mom I'll be. I worry about loving the baby. I mean, I know I will eventually, but will I love it right away? Will it be an easy, immediate thing? Or will it be a slower, deepening?

Yesterday I read this week's Modern Love essay written by a woman who writes a weekly column for a CA newspaper about love. For over two years she has interviewed hundreds of couples about how they found each other and how they fell in love. She writes, "So many of the people I interview have gut feelings and are hit with
lightning bolts and simply “know.” But no matter how many times I hear
these stories, and I hear them every week, I have yet to understand."

I remember feeling perplexed about this "knowing" as well. I know at least three couples who report having just "known" when they had met their future spouse. I used to envy them so much, used to compare all the various loves I'd felt to what they had. I used to wonder if it was real, this knowing. I used to doubt that it was, the doubting sometimes being easier than believing in it and not having found it for myself. 

But then I met Greg. And it really was like that. Like a lightening bolt. Like something simple and clean, something immediate. I just knew. It was almost Taoist in its simplicity. The knowing was so real that it almost felt like the opposite of everything else. Above all, it was easy. And love had always been so difficult. It had always required work and negotiation and thought and assessment and planning and maneuvering. But what I felt with Greg was none of those things at all. What I felt with him was just purely what it was, and nothing more.

It changed my ideas about love completely. It made me question everything I always thought I'd understood about it. It changed the way I viewed other people's relationships. Could everyone have this? Aren't we all each entitled to finding some kind of great love? If so, why do so many of us never find it?

Early on with Greg, I remember feeling really struck by the realization that every relationship I'd ever been in, every date I'd ever been on, every fleeting glimpse of love I'd ever felt, had all been part of the path that led me to him. The realization was that I could not have met him without all that had come before and feeling this gave me a profound appreciation for each of those relationships and encounters. 

But does that mean that those who have not found their great love should just soldier on, pushing through and past whatever mediocre relationship they're currently in? Does it mean that even if they do, they are guaranteed to find that great love?

Perhaps it's not always so simple. Perhaps it's not always a lightening bolt, this knowing. Maybe sometimes it comes on more slowly, the knowing deepening and materializing over time. These thoughts leading me back to the baby and how it will be to finally meet it and hold it in my arms. Will there be an instant knowing? Or will it be something that comes on slowly over time?

Congratulations to our birth class friends, Emily & Dan, who gave birth to a baby girl this morning. One down.

5 comments

5 Comments

  • Posted June 2, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Hey Claire – I continue to check in here as well, and I wish you all the best with the impending delivery.
    About love. I’ve known so many people who have struggled with love. I’ve known a few who have said ‘I didn’t recognize (so and so) for who they were when I met them’. Basically, I think a relationship is a decision, just like it’s a decision on whether or not to have kids. People can decide to ignore the knowing I think too, which is interesting. I think the universe gives us that chance, and we have to take it when it comes.

  • Courtney
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful post Claire.
    As far as loving the baby…it will be immediate, fierce, all encompasing and utterly different than any love you have ever known.

  • Antonia
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I too had always wondered about what it felt like – I remember asking my dad – whos is still deeply in love with my mom after almost 50 years – and he would just say “You just know!” – and when I met David – it was just like; bam! How lucky we are to have found our loves 🙂

  • Evelyn
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Before I met Mike, my ideas about love were very similar (that is was closely associated with pain). That’s really what my thesis/book is about. Then I met and fell in love with Mike and everything was easy and good–and I, too, had to change everything I once thought about the L-word!

  • Posted June 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    It is an amazing feeling to be one of those people who just “knew”. I can’t even put it into words after 14 years together. Being with Craig was immediately the most comfortable and right feeling I had ever had in my entire life. There was no doubt in my mind, we talked about marriage on our first date, and it seemed perfectly natural. That does not mean it has always been perfect, but we seem no matter what to find our way through any difficulties and back to each other.
    I have had that feeling after each of my children was born – that feeling you described after you met Greg – the “oh it’s you” feeling. It was like a flash, an instant recognition, like they were always meant to be my child and I was always meant to be their mother. Difficult to explain, but I have a strong feeling you will understand soon enough. Can’t wait to hear about your first meeting with your baby and your birth story as well.
    Best of luck with your delivery. Will keep checking for updates!

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