I’m about to have a baby.

 

And my mind is full of mass shootings and asinine arguments and interpretations supporting inflated 2nd amendment rights, and protests being misinterpreted, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ realistically bleak view of the future of race in our country on Colbert, and Jimmy Kimmel’s tears, and hurricane victims fighting for their lives, and bills being considered that make silencers easier to buy and abortions harder to get, and the Pulse nightclub, and lawmakers saying you can’t legislate behaviors while trying to control where people go to the fucking bathroom, and having a liability for a President who is making a joke out of America, and all roads seem to lead to this zenith historical manifestation of what Michelle Goldberg describes as the “tyranny of the minority,” this ability for a small group of people with a narrow focus to run the entire government out of line with the majority of citizens desires, with the help of the electoral college and campaign financing and gerrymandering and voter suppression. And it is all coming to a head in such an absurd way that it is nearly impossible to follow and process, which is both depressing and maybe encouraging (?) because perhaps the overwhelming absurdity itself will be what it takes to finally change hearts enough to change the tide.

 

And I’m about to have a baby.

 

And everywhere I go and everywhere I look there are thoughtful, smart, engaged people having conversations, and trying to understand, and eager to listen and learn and shape an opinion. There are movements to stop ACA repeal that show us that resistance works, and Hillary Clinton’s book helping us make sense of the present to change the future, and people who used to perch safely on the fence standing up or kneeling and speaking out, and people lining up in Las Vegas to give blood, and countless acts of individual kindness from people of all beliefs and affiliations, and people waking up to their privilege and responsibility, and reasonably impressive journalistic efforts at catching all the wild pitches coming out of the haywire pitching machine at once, each catch analyzed and considered with importance that simultaneously makes it impossible to keep up, but maybe easier to find a theme later, if we ever get enough of a pause to synthesize it. And let’s be real, we need those larger themes to become louder than the individual stories at some point soon if we want a future beyond rapid pendulum swinging, election by election. We need to put the bumpers up on the bowling lane so that regardless of who is throwing the ball, there is a very small chance of scoring zeros or worse yet causing harm. Things like campaign finance reform and the electoral college and the manipulation of public opinion through the elevation of propagandized media by the social media platforms we are completely addicted to. Whose job is it to build and enforce the bumpers for our democracy? Who has time or headspace to work on those things right now? How can these issues hope to take center stage in our consciousness when we have to mobilize continuously over a constant barrage of singular shit storms?

 

And I’m about to have a baby.

 

I can tell she is coming. There’s the obvious signs like being 38 weeks along, but there’s more. A dozen years of managing every micro-change in my body as a professional athlete have left me hyper-aware of both small scale changes and larger patterns. I can feel my hormone profile shifting. I can visualize the changing chemicals in my bloodstream. I feel increased weepiness, a desire to stay close to home. I can feel her moving with more force, more urgency, a person no longer dependent on me yet unaware that there is a viable alternative outside. I am not in control of my body, and will become even less so the moment active labor starts. To be honest, I have felt out of control this entire pregnancy, it being nothing like my first relatively-smooth-sailing one, and goddammit if I wouldn’t have appreciated a little more personal control these last 9 months to mitigate everything going on in the world. I have been pregnant the same amount of time we’ve had this President.

 

When I lost running (and aerobic exercise of any kind) early on in this pregnancy, I lost my primary mode of self-care, my anchor for my days, my independent narrative that was 20+ years long that will hopefully go on for 20+ more, spanning stages of life and political eras and countless events of human suffering and beauty in the world and on the news. I’ve been a human being through all that time too, and that hasn’t changed, but my flavor of human being has been runner, a title I no longer identify with. Sometimes it feels like too much to handle, to care about the world, to be actively informed, to take action, and to do so while being in a stage of personal disorientation, while bringing life into the world. On those days I am gentle with myself, give thanks for everything and everyone good in my life, and pass the time as easy as possible.

 

I am about to have a baby, and soon I will be whisked into the hospital to ride the pain waves, to labor our way to independence. I will give birth. Give it. Gift it. With my body’s nine months of preparatory work and labor, along with 361,481 ish other women that day, I will add another soul to this aching and beautiful planet. I will be overwhelmed by the miracle, the relief, the beginning of something and someone. I will forget everything else for a time, thank God. I cry tears of relief even thinking about it.

 

xo Lauren