> jumping into life.

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in the doctor's office, there is a large spiral-bound and laminated book entitled Life unto Life. most of the pictures, at the beginning, are of course enlarged many times over, but the book also has a little "actual size" drawing of each off to the side. the egg is a mere speck, swarming with sperm, but the fetus grows, and gains definition. toes and fingers emerge, mammoth eyes, translucent skin. sometime in the second trimester, the illustrations revert to full-scale and march onward, growing, growing. footprints, eyelashes, little elbows and knees. eighth month, and i am aghast at the size of it, the pinkness, the fat heave of the umbilical cord. when the drawing says "full term" i get up on my knees on the exam table, crane around to the mirror behind me, and hold the book out against my belly. i imagine myself stretched to fit, with some squirming, kicking thing inside me, a child.

my body wants to be filled. god wasn't joking around when he thought up hormones - this is some serious stuff. i feel awash in need sometimes, stunned by the urging of my empty womb. my body wants sex, pretty near demands it, but all my self wants is the comfort of another body close to mine; it wants motherhood, but i just want to feel whole.

by the time the doctor comes in, i've replaced the book, smoothed my gown, and i'm reading Vogue instead. he wants to know if i use protection.

"of course," i tell him, "jesus. i certainly don't want a baby at this point in my life."