Entering the Deep Beyond

Supernova, courtesy NASA

I’ve always been interested in space. This can probably be traced to my early childhood, which was nestled comfortably within the Shuttle Era. Space culture made up a major part of what I saw (and kind of understood) on the news when I was quite young. Seriously, people were being blasted off the Earth and floating around in an expanse of infinity. How can you not be intrigued/ amazed/ frightened/ delighted by this as a child, or even as an adult?

Now, let me just say that I don’t really know anything about space. I mean, anything. I’ve read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and seen nearly every Nova space episode from the past 27 years. But despite this exposure, I still have two degrees in English for a reason: I can’t wrap my head around the mechanics of it all, no matter how dumbed-down the explanations are.

Oh, and math and I are not friends. If you ask Math about me, it will probably spit in your face.

But despite the fact that I’ve never formally investigated physics or astronomy, space to me is endlessly interesting. What I’m thinking while Neil Degrasse Tyson explains black holes and gravity is this:

Even though space has no edge and no center and goes on forever, I feel really safe. In fact, I feel safe because of this chaos. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that there is so much beyond me and my life. But somehow the chaos holds me in check and cradles me.

It’s a bit like belief in God, I suppose, because the responsibility to make that initial leap of faith is on you at the beginning. Through all the events of your life, you have to continually re-calibrate who you are in terms of that Magnitude which, despite our most stringent efforts to truly know it, is totally beyond us. But God, space, whatever, is always there, and if it means enough to you, you will always be steadfast in looking for that meaning. I, at least, have found a lot of peace in the expanse. The searching and the wading through the chaos is difficult but incredibly worth it in the end.

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

I continually feel like my life is comprised of passing through the Star Gate. Preparing to become a parent is a huge, scary, weathering, and amazingly beautiful thing. If pregnancy isn’t chaos, I don’t know what is.

It’s partially the physical change that comes over you. It can be uncomfortable, but that discomfort and physical change is only an indication of the otherness (ie, baby) that is preparing to overcome your life. You are creating life. Wow! It’s pretty scary and amazing.

Up until now, you were responsible for yourself and grooming yourself to be the best possible you for any given situation. I don’t know about you, but I fail a lot. However, I tend to get over it. But being pregnant, you now have a little slice of the unknowable universe that you are responsible for nurturing. It’s much more daunting, not because of the sheer responsibility, but because of what this tiny little person stands for: the beauty of humanity and the depth of the universe it’s a part of. It’s harder to shrug off.

But then again, there’s that safety in the chaos, cradling you and reassuring you that as alienated as you might feel, you are a part of it, too. That baby is beautiful and capable of more than you could possibly imagine.

Is this Love? I’m thinking yes. :)


  1. This is so so so beautiful. Bebe is so lucky to have you for a mommy.

    1. Awww thanks :) I had to watch the Nyan Cat video sporadically while I was writing this so I wouldn’t get too overwhelmed. I think I’ll also be watching the Nyan Cat video a lot during the first few months of Bebe’s arrival :)

  2. Alison Flueger · · Reply

    What an amazing writer you are! Wow Emily! And, you’re going to be a MOM, I’m so happy for you and Ben

    1. Thank you, Alison!!! It’s so great to see you on here!
      I have to admit that there’s something about pregnancy that has made the words come really easy for me, but thanks :)

  3. […] Is it even worth it to describe to someone who’s never experienced (and doesn’t care to experience) the emotional weight of what it feels like to have a baby move around inside them, what it feels like? Going on and on about it to non-breeders kind of makes me feel like I’m describing a long, hilarious-only-to-me unsexy dream in which the listener is not featured and therefore does not care to hear me clumsily struggle to find the words that describe the indescribable. I’m no Joseph Campbell, and I’m not going to succeed in blowing your mind to the level of supreme mindblowingness that I would hope no matter how hard I try. […]

  4. […] Entering the Deep Beyond 11.4.11 […]

  5. […] a lot to you. In a perfect world, which one of your posts would be Freshly Pressed? Here’s mine. Please check out what other people share because I can assure you that it’s going to be […]

  6. Well, I took Astronomy and it freaked me out . . .completely. It made me feel so disoriented from everything around me, but also got me thinking about creation, so I guess that’s the point. You’re an amazing mom and getting more and more amazinger.

    1. I am sure I would have failed Astronomy, just for lack of the ability to focus on anything. My head would just be spinning the entire time. Gotta love the ADD.

  7. Beautiful.
    Again – I feel like a broken record. We’ve got a lot in common. I love space, love it. Hate math, hate physics. I have Cosmos on my bookshelf in this room. I adore Apollo 13, Contact. On my PSATs I wrote I wanted to be an astronomer. Ha.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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