The Pregnant Body

The pregnant body is complicated, a duality. It has potential for life, while still a life of its own. It is both exhausted and powerful, occupying the spaces of both sacredly intimate and undeniably public. A small secret, a new and persistent state for those just beginning to shift, shape, and grow. Slowly, over inches, the pregnant body becomes public, mistaken by strangers as an invitation for touch, comment, or critique.

For some, it is the manifestation of a life’s desire, a temporary state which morphs into an intractable transformation. A wondrous introduction to motherhood, an extension and swelling of life. 

For some, it’s a betrayal, a forced reminder of the failure of science, and of their fellow man to recognize the humanity of the body, once that body becomes a pregnant body. 

A betrayal of themselves, a reminder that their bodies and their souls do not match in accordance with how society has determined they should.

For others, the betrayal is in its elusiveness, seemingly achievable but others on a whim, and forever out of reach, desperately wanted for others. 

It’s universal and unique, ubiquitous yet so deeply unknown. When a pregnant body will give life never more than a guess. Every pregnant body grows – ebbs and recedes according to its own schedule, its own needs. The pregnant body power, endowed to women by the universe to create life. To build and nourish a burgeoning life. To create something from nothing, the pregnant body does the work of miracles, of science and magic. It is a sacred power endowed to women by the universe, or its creator, to create life. 

And then stripped away by man, now forced rather than chosen. In this, the pregnant body represents a power exerted upon rather than a power expressed within.

Because the pregnant body is political. It’s to be regulated, monitored, and controlled. The pregnant body no longer belongs to the women endowed with its sacredness and power, but to the public, to the politicians who derive their power not from the universe, but from a system of oppression and control, a system carefully designed by those in power to maintain their power. The public body then becomes subject for legislation which no longer trusts the soul of the body, but begins to make demands of it, demands that mind and soul sit back. Demands that the body swell, push, and break, against its will.

When chosen the body submits itself to the pregnancy. The bones shift and open, sinew stretching, extending to cradle the lives it supports. 

When forced, the body is overpowered, it becomes subject to the wills of neither life, but of an external force. A foreign, unnatural force, disconnected from the intimate symbiosis, cold to the warming of the body.

This force overtakes the body, ignoring the cries, pain and pangs of the woman, prioritizing only the unborn, the potential over the person, the pregnancy over the pregnant. This force ignores the body’s resistances, the desperate screams for relief and support. 

This force claims to exert this power, this dominance in honor of life, but those who seek to dominate life can never honor it. Life is not to be dominated, to be forced or controlled. To do so, only denigrates life, destroys it. 

Because when that pregnant body is no longer pregnant, but just a body, it’s no longer celebrated, it is to be hidden away from the world. It is bruised, bloody and swollen. It has been broken, split and torn. It has been stitched back together. It is heavy with milk and hope and love, stretched thin from work, and laden thick with self-doubt and fear. 

But among all this, the world demands it be returned to its previous state, to be “bounced back” to a body with no visible signs of its transformation, of its creation. It has done its job and now must return to its previous role of an object of beauty, desire, and appeal. Only then can it be made public again. And soon. 

The pregnant body is life’s greatest contradiction, pure and power by nature, sullied and hidden by man. Public when necessary, hidden away as required. It is to be examined, discussed, and controlled by anyone except the one who holds it, who inhabits it – because the one who walks in the pregnant body cannot be trusted. The feminine has been stripped of its divine, and in its place left a body to be molded by the laws of nature, but the legislation of man, to be filled and emptied according to the will of senators and strangers, cheapened by those foreign and terrified of its power. 

Only when the women, when the feminine are imbued with the sacred trust and honor nature has bestowed upon them, only when man recognize that they need not control this power  can the pregnant body bloom in power rather than subjugation. Only when the duality is restored into balance, instead of conflict, can the pregnant body emerge as the symbol of creation, of life, and of undiminishable love. 

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