This afternoon I was lying down and the baby started moving. Every so often it goes on this wild rampage around my uterus and I can't help but wonder, "What is it doing in there?"
I don't mean what is it doing physically. Obviously there's an assortment of kicking, punching and squirming going on. What I really wonder is what does it think it's doing? When it just moves a bit I assume it needed to shift to get comfortable, but when there's a long string of rapid thumps that move across the inside of my belly, then back again, then a big lump slides down the side, then there's a swift jab to my bladder, I can't help but think that it's up to something. Like it's got a plan.
I never really thought the Baha'i concept of death would be on my mind so much while waiting to give birth. But the comparison to birth, the one that we use to describe what it's like for a soul to die, keeps flipping back and forth in my mind when it comes to my baby. It has expanded beyond an analogy for what it's like to change forms of existence. Now it keeps me thinking about what it's like to be alive.
For example, if we are developing spiritual attributes in this life with no concept of what they'll be used for in the next, what does the baby think of the physical attributes it's developing right now? Is it wiggling around thinking it's got this hand and foot thing figured out, like we sometimes think we understand love or compassion? If so, what does it think hands and feet are for? And when we think we're being spiritually awesome, is there anyone in the realm of the spirit shaking their head and wondering what we think we're up to?
What does the baby think the umbilical cord is for if it has no concept of nutrition or oxygen? Is our understanding of prayer just as limited?
What does it think the placenta is? What does it think sound is? When it swallows amniotic fluid what does it think it's doing if it doesn't know it will someday have to drink? When it goes on a big kicking spree does it think it's doing important work, like when we do a bunch of overtime at our jobs?
It's hard to comprehend that the baby doesn't know who I am. For now I am not understandable as another person, only as a habitat. What does the baby think the habitat is doing when I poke my belly in response to some kicks? Do we get spiritual pokes and not know what they are?
Finally, I have to ask the really big question. Why, exactly, does the baby think it's so important to punch me in the bladder?