The Universal is the Most Personal

Brianna Randall essays

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Kick and squirm. Jostle and poke. Nudge. Nudge. Hiccup. Flip.

Someone else is sharing my inner space: my breath, my blood, my body. He has his own routine, his own rhythm. He tickles and gulps and listens and sucks. I can't see any of it with my eyes, but I can see all of it with my heart. He is my new best bud, my sidekick on errands around town, my dance partner, my silent confidant, my spooner who cuddles inside of me at night. 

I am growing a person, a son. It feels like being in love for the first time—that rapturous certainty that no one else has felt this much joy or this much apprehension. It feels like those flying dreams when you leap off the ground to hover, sometimes soaring and sometimes plummeting. It feels like I have an entire universe orbiting behind my belly button. 

I can name 10 other pregnant women within a five-mile radius of where I now sit. I am not unique. Yet I am solitary in my pregnancy. Only I can feel this child in this way in this moment. We are the only constant observers of our own fears and thrills. Creating a new life is indescribably special, an intimate and private experience, even though reproduction is a common denominator that links all life on earth. 

Often, the most universal truths are the most personal. My pregnancy is not really remarkable in the slightest, and I'm fully aware of that in my rational mind. But my irrational heart tells me that growing this baby is the most remarkable thing I have ever done.


About the Author

Brianna Randall

Brianna Randall lives in Missoula, Montana where she toggles not-so-deftly between chasing her young son, running her own business, and fantasizing about sailing off to a deserted island (again). Her work has appeared in Scary Mommy, Outside, Backpacker, and several travel magazines.

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