Flutters of Hope

Erin Britt essays

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My sister called to tell me that she was in rehearsal. Then she told me the real reason she was calling was that she had felt the baby kick.

“You felt the baby kick?” I exclaimed.

“I felt the baby kick for the first time while I was dancing,” she said.

I laughed the kind of laugh where the joy is uncontainable, where you can see the serenading beauty of life come to fruition before your very eyes. “That’s perfect,” I said.

“I know,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. It felt like the smallest of tickles there in my belly as I was dancing.”


“At first, I didn’t even know if it was what I thought it was, and then I just knew,” she said. “It felt like the baby was happy, like it was dancing with me.”

“That makes perfect sense. That is so perfect.” I said, and I just hung there on the line, the phone clutched to my ear.

This is how I’ve learned that joy is in the smallest of things: an email from a long lost teacher or the support of my great-uncle who writes me after each blog post to check up on me. And now, the tiniest of movements in a belly, the swish-swash of a babies gentle movement in the womb while it’s mother is doing the art she was made to do.

Sometimes joy doesn’t come in big waves or in the places we most expect it to come: in the offers to work with a certain company or have a particular agent. Sometimes joy comes when we are fully known and loved, even by a tiny human being that is pulsating to life and has yet to be doused in oxygen.

Especially in these flutters of hope.

These things bring the astonishment, where we are “surprised by joy” as C.S. Lewis aptly suggested. When we are completely off-guard by grace, by unadulterated gifts that remind us who we are and why we are here.

A few months ago, my sister FaceTimed me on my iPhone to tell me the big news: she was pregnant. Her normally pristine face was haggard and worried.

“I’m pregnant,” she said. “At least I think I am.”

“What do you mean you think you are? Are you or aren’t you?” I demanded.

“Well, I took like five pregnancy tests.”

She was unsure. She was planning a dance career and she couldn’t imagine how her career could come to such an abrupt stop. I understood all too well.

My own life had come to a screeching halt with an unplanned pregnancy, but now I was haphazardly juggling two kids and making it work.

Over the next few months, when I could steal moments of touching her softening belly, I did. We talked about the future baby, about her plans to keep dancing through pregnancy.

What we don’t talk about was that labor pains were not the first pangs of motherhood. The first jolt of electricity is actually the one that spins through your body when you realize: I’m pregnant.

The first pangs are the realization that life has turned 180 degrees. That secret plans and dreams have been rearranged.

What I should have told my sister on the phone, the day she announced her pregnancy was this: Dreams don’t stop, and your life still resounds with joy, the tiny moments become big moments as you feel the surprise of a baby stirring in your womb.

Her baby awakened in the midst of the crux of her dreams, the moment when she was on stage, compelled by her dream to dance.

She is a dancer, and a tiny baby has joined her dance.


About the Author

Erin Britt

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