Sunday, March 2, 2008

"Everything Changes" -- The Imminence of Motherhood

The profound changes

Ways of thinking change...

Everything changes

Everything changes…

And as everything changes,

That I would change is nothing odd.


As our baby’s March 4th due date approaches, the Mercedes Sosa song, "Todo Cambia/“ "Everything Changes” has found an echo deep within me. (Click here to listen to the song. Lyrics are below.)


It’s a curious thing, this keen awareness that our lives are soon to change—dramatically. As Jess and I walk the 1.5 mile to work down a tree-lined boulevard, I see couples with eyes only for each other or striding to their destination on one side of us. On the other side, parents are pushing strollers and chasing after their little ones. Big belly, Jess and I walk between them, and I hum to myself, everything changes, everything changes…

Our friend Barbara found the “Todo Cambia/Everything Changes” refrain playing through her mind in the days leading up to her husband’s recent death. At the other extreme of the life cycle, we too find ourselves subject to the timing and control of forces beyond ourselves.

I am great with child—(you can call me “Big Janna” like my Dad does, or just “Gorda,” “Fatty” a term of affection here)—and the changes in my body are unmistakable. Nature is taking its course to bring this little human through me. Today I felt like myself, with a bounce in my step and ability to concentrate at work. There are other days, however, when the energy and creative power I once managed are directly channeled to the life within, and I find myself sitting breathless and fatigued before a blank computer screen. At these moments I rub my taut belly, and remind myself to marvel: I am the vessel for a child of God.


At one such moment I reviewed the story of a woman who went into labor as she fled an armed attack on her village. She became a mother with the help of her uprooted neighbors en route to anywhere safe. I remind myself, I am a privileged vessel as I move into the stream of mothers who carry children in this land of turmoil and uncertainly.

Colombians don’t allow tears to steal their laughter or trials to crowd-out a celebration, and our little child “made-in-Colombia” (a maternity shirt received from a friend) seems to be staking claim to this part of her identity. About a month ago I woke up at 3:30 am to loud bongo drum and Andean flute music filling our bed room from the college party held on the patio outside and several floors down and baby’s very full-body, wildly lively movements against all walls of her snug home. Sleep wasn’t coming, so after watching my jumping stomach for a few minutes I decided to join her. Somehow her Daddy slept soundly throughout.

An analyst friend connected my reflections on this phase of transition with the Colombian social and political landscape. Might Colombia also be on the precipice of change? Numerous mass marches organized by politically diverse groups, respectable gains by a political opposition party, economic and political changes in the US, and a fresh outpouring of weariness of war from civilians and inklings from the guerrilla groups, not to mention the conviction of my pastor, may suggest as much. Will I stay tuned into these developments after becoming a Mom?


I felt anxious about leaving work for months, but we have a plan for covering major pieces while I am on maternity leave. Now I need to let go and let others do the job. Releasing that baby and related identity to receive and nurture another will challenge me.

The shepherd changes with his flock…

Plants change and dress in green

with the coming of spring…

And as everything else changes

That I would change is nothing odd

The change is in progress and with it new challenges to rest with mystery and trust the God of Life and great unknowns. At play with these feelings is the raw, fierce love that I have for our daughter and our eagerness to know her this side of the womb. Anticipation outweighs anxiety.

Baby girl, our catalyst of radical change, we are excited to receive you!

Janna



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The following is a rough translation of the far more lovely spanish lyrics, available here.

TODO CAMBIA// EVERYTHING CHANGES


The superficial changes

The profound changes as well

Ways of thinking change

Everything changes in this world

The climate changes with the years

The shepherd changes with his flock

And as everything else changes

That I would change is nothing odd

The direction of the walker changes

Even though this causes her harm

And as everything changes,

That I would change is nothing odd

Everything changes

Everything changes

Everything changes

Everything changes

The sun changes in its path

When night subsists

Plants change and dress in green

With the coming of spring

But my love doesn’t change

No matter how far I find myself.

Nor do my memories or my pain

For my people (change).

What changed yesterday

will have to change again tomorrow

Just as I change in this far off land

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