We are expecting a child.
I feel a jumble. Many things. Some coherent, some not, a few to be shared.
We experienced one some years ago. This was a painful, scary thing for us as a couple, not least because I as a man raised in a certain time and place did not have the words to understand it.
“It happens all the time, so it’s not a big thing,” is what I knew of it before it happened.
But it is a big thing. Just because a tragedy is common, does not mean it is not a big thing when it happens to you.
That time we didn’t know about the pregnancy. This time, we do. And miscarriage is scary and a real fear.
And I did not know this before, but now I do.
We were in our mid and late thirties when we started trying to have a child. We went to fertility clinics for about a year. The tests. Sperm motility and deformation. Egg health. Viability. Hormone injections. Schedules. Supplements.
Once I talked about it, it seemed all my friends had experience with fertility treatments. Before, I’d never heard from anyone talking about it.
It was hard. Physically and emotionally. Each month, the visits to the clinic, the tests, the schedules to follow, the medications to take, to inject, the sperm donated, filtered, sorted. The hope and disappointment each month.
There is a raw, biological, embodied factuality to it. An undeniable physics to it.
After a year we decided to take a break. The process was too exhausting.
Then the pregnancy happened, unexpected and natural. Right on time to overthrow any plans we had for the year’s end.
When I was yet unborn, sonography was a “novel” method unavailable in my region.
My mother’s gynaecologist told her, “Since you are an older mother  I am obliged to inform you that you are eligible for a sonogram and there is one available across the border, at the hospital in Trieste, however I advise against it. Who knows, the ultrasound could harm the fetus.”
So I was born unseen.
Here, we are directed to the clinic every two weeks for check ups and sonography. We get prints and video.
We see the child from the time it is an undifferentiated grain-sized ovoid, to a little tadpole, to a tiny tetrapod with beating heart, to a proto-human with waggling hands and feet.
Just eight weeks, all told. The speed and purpose of the child’s development astonishes me.
We are still 24 weeks from the due birth-date, and yet having watched … I feel attached to this little person. This person is a part of my lived community, a focus for my care, and thus … someone I love, though they are untouchable and unknowable to me.
I was born in Yugoslavia.
There, in the worker’s paradise, abortion was a standard form of contraception. After all, one couldn’t impose on men to do things like use condoms.
Growing up in a world like that, well, what’s the big deal with an abortion?
Having watched our child develop over the last 8 weeks. Gods. What a blasé attitude.
I’ve come to love a new creature over the last two months: our unborn child.
But I’ve also come face to face with my inescapable ignorance over and again. How could I not? Though I could imagine a situation, an outcome, my imagination was built of my experiences thus far. When I face the embodied truth of our experience of pregnancy and the unborn child, I face the miracle of life in its awe-inspiring actuality.
There it is. Before me, unfolding.
There are many like it, there are many tales, statistics, ideas, preconceptions, experiences, but this one … this one is new and different and unpredictable and unknowable. Just like every other.
I am humbled: all I can do is be open to experience and improvise and learn and do. How the journey turns out, none can say and certainly not I.
Yet, while I might admit some humility and ignorance (just a little, not too much, for I am also a little proud and vain), I also face another nemesis: the giver of advice unasked.
When I was younger, my ignorance made me insecure, and I sometimes blindly accepted the wisdom of the givers of advice. I felt I knew little and that others must know better.
Now that I have had some experiences, some miserable failures, and some small successes, I can say with certainty that I am very wary of giving advice—but even warier of people who freely give theirs.
For a certain personalitype it seems a way to find sense and meaning in the world to be the dispenser of advice. To be heard for them is to be important and valid and seen. And so, heard they must be.
Do this thus then. Go so here now. Be like that there.
A better helper would give comfort, encouragement, and conversation. Discussions to figure out a path through the unseeable jungle of the future, rather than a hand-me-down map promising the one right path.
With the acceleration of some technologies, what kind of world will my child grow into? Can I even know?
Again, my ignorance meets the unknowable.
Ten years ago, we felt doomed by climate change. Now, there is no cheaper source of power than solar power. In matters great and small I, and we, have been wrong as often as right.
Perhaps wisdom, discernment, flexibility, and critical thinking will suffice.
At the least, I hope I will not have the blindness to advise the same path I followed because it is the path I followed, or against another path not followed because it was not followed.
And so, with fortune’s favor, praying all goes well, by next winter we’ll be four: Puppy Princess, Ms. Y, Black Bunny, and me.
What, were you expecting a last paragraph?