(painting by Gustav Klimt)
As I grow older, I'm learning that there are many ways to fall in love. And many ways to end up there without realizing it. 10 weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant, and before I realized it, I was in love. The object of my affection didn't have a name. Didn't have any limbs. Barely had a brain. But it had a heart. A little beat flickering across a static screen.
I didn't realize I loved it, and this is the strangest thing about falling. Sometimes, you never feel the descent. Not until something grabs you on the way.
Four weeks ago, I started bleeding, and it wouldn't stop. I sat in the obstetrician's office turning my face away from the people around me. Turning my eyes toward my purse, pretending like I was rummaging for a cell-phone, a granola bar, when really I was rummaging for my heart.
In the doctor's room, while I waited as nurses came and went, I dissolved into a puddle of tears on the ultrasound table. This is the love you feel from fear.
Then there is the love you feel from relief. The tears that slide down your cheek as you watch your little baby wiggle on the ultrasound, waving it's head and arms at you from the screen. "Spare your tears, Christin," said the doctor. "Your baby's fine, but I want you to stay home for two weeks."
So I stayed home for two weeks. I laid in bed thinking to myself, "All I have to do today is grow a baby." I didn't go to work. I stayed home and watched cheesy movies. Soon the bleeding stopped, I entered my second trimester and the world seemed right again. "I'm doing great!" I thought. "At last everything is okay."
There is another kind of love on our descent. This love is borne on the wings of imagination, and while you are still falling you at least feel the exhilaration of wind whipping through your hair. I began to imagine what was growing inside me. I imagined a little face with eyes that light up when it sees a sparkly necklace. I imagined the music of a new name echoing through the apartment.
I had two weeks of this kind of love. And then the bleeding began again. I am still pregnant, but now I'm on bedrest until several weeks after delivery.
Why do we call it falling? Why isn't it rising in love? Expanding in love? Growing in love?
It's falling, because there is a place along the way where your heart looses it's gravity. That frightening, free-floating second when you wonder if you'll ever feel safe again.
Yes, love is a descent. The world rushes up while we go down -- down into a wonderous oblivion of hope.