As our baby's due date approaches, the Mercedes Sosa song, "Todo Cambia" ("Everything Changes") has found an echo deep within me. Click here to listen to the song.
I am great with child-and the changes in my body are unmistakable. Nature is taking its course to bring this little human through me. Today I felt like myself, with a bounce in my step and ability to concentrate at work. There are other days, however, when the energy and creative power I once managed are directly channeled to the life within, and I find myself sitting breathless and fatigued before a blank computer screen. At these moments I rub my taut belly and remind myself to marvel: I am the vessel for a child of God.
At one such moment I reviewed the story of a woman who went into labor as she fled an armed attack on her village. She became a mother with the help of her uprooted neighbors en route to anywhere safe. I remind myself, I am a privileged vessel as I move into the stream of mothers who carry children in this land of turmoil and uncertainly.
Colombians don't allow tears to steal their laughter or trials to crowd out a celebration, and our little child "made in Colombia" (a maternity shirt received from a friend) seems to be staking claim to this part of her identity. About a month ago, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to loud bongo drum and Andean flute music filling our bedroom from the college party held on the patio several floors down and my baby's wildly lively movements against all walls of her snug home. Sleep wasn't coming, so after watching my jumping stomach for a few minutes I decided to join her. Somehow her daddy slept soundly throughout.
An analyst friend connected my reflections on this phase of transition with the Colombian social and political landscape. Might Colombia also be on the precipice of change? Numerous mass marches organized by politically diverse groups, respectable gains by a political opposition party, economic and political changes in the U.S., and a fresh outpouring of weariness of war from civilians and inklings from the guerrilla groups may suggest as much. The critical tensions in relationships between Colombia and Ecuador further heighten the volatile dynamism of these times. Will I stay tuned into these developments after becoming a mom?
The change is in progress, and with it new challenges to rest with mystery and trust the God of life and great unknowns. At play with these feelings is the raw, fierce love that I have for our daughter and our eagerness to know her this side of the womb. Anticipation outweighs anxiety.
Baby girl - our catalyst of radical change - we are excited to receive you!
Janna Hunter-Bowman works for Mennonite Central Committee in Bogotá, Colombia, as the coordinator of the Documentation and Advocacy Program for Justapaz, the peace and justice ministry of the Colombian Mennonite Church.