When I explain to my children the evolution that is pregnancy, I do not mention the stork. I do not talk about babies left in rush baskets on doorsteps. I explain that they grew inside their mother. I explain the physiological changes and processes. But I do it in terms they will understand, which means that the baby grows in a bubble inside the mother’s belly until it’s ready to come out (and yes, we discuss where the baby comes out).
For whatever reason (a recent birthday, a friend’s newborn, another friend’s impending labor), we’ve been discussing these physical wonders a lot lately. And through the inspiration of an upcoming wedding anniversary, these wonders are helping me reframe the importance of the marriage relationship.
Floating in fluid to cushion it from blows from the outside world and allow the various parts of the body to grow evenly, without restraint; to exercise and strengthen the lungs so they can breathe on their own when out in the world – this is why the fetus is suspended in that bubble. The symbiotic bond developed in the womb prepares both mother and child for the rigors to come once they become separate entities.
Is this not unlike marriage? No, one is not born of the other, but for a marriage to be successful, the couple must build that bubble around themselves. In the world they build for themselves, the couple builds protection from anything the world might throw at them, whatever challenges, insults, hurts it has. In the shelter of their love, the couple grows as one and as the best distinct individual each can be. In the safety of their partnership, the couple learns to develop their voice – speaking as a team and to each other about what matters most. In this bubble, the two halves of this couple develop and strengthen the best parts of themselves and each other so that when they step out into the world, together or alone, they still feel the strength of that foundation.
And floating in that bubble is something only they can experience. There are some things sacred to just the two people inside; they are meant for no one else. Nor should they allow anyone to even try to permeate the outside layers. Just as in parenting, the couple is a united front. No outside force – or person – should pit them against each other. And if it’s done right, no one even has the chance to.
I’ve birthed three babies. I’ve grown each of them in their own personal bubble. But none of them would be here if it weren’t for the special ‘bubble’ that my husband and I built in love eleven years ago – and no one can burst that.