Fatherhood at Fifty – Fluttering

Flutter (verb)

  1. To flap or wave quickly but irregularly
  2. To flap the wings without flying
  3. To drive into disorder or throw into confusion

There have been times in my life, even recently, where any or all of these definitions of the word flutter have applied.

There have certainly been times where I have done things or external circumstances have occurred that have thrown my life into disorder and confusion. In fact just over the last couple of weeks we faced some degree of uncertainty about our living situation and I was doing a good bit of allowing my energy to flutter into a place of confusion. That all seems to be settling now though as we have a clearer idea of how things look up until our little wonder arrives and for at least a few months after that. The rest of the answers will unfold in due time.

I’ve also been on a bit of a cliff lately, waiting to jump off. Over the past few years I have done so many things that I have never done before. I’ve been preparing the way for the next chapter of the coaching, speaking and teaching branch of my life. Toastmasters, storytelling classes and shows, hosting webinars, speaking at empowerment conferences, moderating men’s circles and working with one-on-one clients and groups have all been very rewarding and have served me well. All the while I’ve felt like I was missing one big piece in the puzzle. A major calling card if you will. The book that has been inside me and has been on again off again for the better part of three years now has been the shadow that has hung over me like a heavy cloak. For the last month or two I’ve been doing a courting dance with a literary agent and editor in New York, but I’ve been hesitant to take the leap of faith and start to dive into the project full tilt. One could say I’m flapping my wings without doing the flying.

My favorite current definition of fluttering though is the one that’s happening inside Christiana’s belly over the last week or so and the other night it happened in a most powerful way!

We have chosen to work with a wonderful organization called the West Suburban Midwives for the delivery of our baby. It is a team of five partners that have delivered thousands of babies over the last twenty years. What’s extra special is that they are affiliated with West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park and the birthing center (including the option for water birth) is located in the hospital itself. To us it’s the best of both worlds of traditional midwifery and modern medical facilities.

At our very first appointment where we had our early pregnancy evaluation and first ultrasound, the midwife we met with was going over some of the things we will be experiencing during our 40 week journey to parenthood. It was then that I first heard the word fluttering used in the context of our future child’s first movement. The midwife we were meeting with, who was named Tara, had recently had her own baby and told us that sometime around week 15 or 16 Christiana might start to feel some movement inside her uterus. It wouldn’t be pushing or kicking at first it would be more like fluttering.

We’ve also been watching the weekly video series called “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”. Each week we are told what size our baby is compared to a fruit or vegetable. So far our little wonder has been a raspberry, a kumquat, a fig, and an avocado just to name a few delicacies. Each week we also see a artist’s rendering of what the fetus might look like as it goes through the various stages of development. Our host in the video is author Heidi Murkoff and a few weeks ago she pointed out the development of the beginnings of the arms and noted that out at some point around week 16 the arms would start to flutter.

Sure enough, last week after her massage Christiana said that after lying on her side for an hour while awake during her massage she got her first ever sense of movement and that it totally felt exactly like fluttering. How exciting!

Then again on Friday night while we were lying in bed it happened in an even more pronounced fashion. Over the years I’ve done a lot of hands-on energy work. I’ve practiced and studied Reiki as well as pranic healing and many people, including Christiana, have said that at times my hands can be like infernos of heat and energy. This past Friday night I was dozing off early while recovering from some oral surgery earlier in the day. Christiana was reading in bed, I had my head resting on her left shoulder and my right hand on her belly over the sheets.

As I drifted into that state halfway between sleep and wake – the state where all the magic happens as I like to call it – I was dreaming of connecting with our little wonder and all of a sudden I awoke to Christiana saying:

“Oh My God what are you doing?!” 

She seemed to be one-third startled, one third laughing, and one third really excited. I was mostly delirious with exhaustion and a good dose of Ibuprofen and steroids to minimize the swelling and inflammation in my mouth.

She proceeded to explain to me that she felt like the baby had come right up to the edge of her lower abdomen as if trying to get to the energy. It was like our little one was flapping or fluttering their way up to Daddy’s hand to send a message back that the energy had been received. I took my hand from outside the cover and placed it directly on Christiana’s bare belly. She asked me if I could feel anything?

While I couldn’t feel any movement with my hand, I could certainly feel it in my heart – and I also felt the few little tears of joy running down my cheek as my head rested on her shoulder and I drifted in and out of peaceful sleep. Why the tears of joy? Because I knew it wouldn’t be long before that flutter would be a kick and that kick would be a cry and that cry would be a real life smile.

I think I’m ready to take that leap off the cliff now. There are more stories to write and tell and plenty of flights that are yet to be taken. Like all great flights though, this one begins with a little flapping of ever-growing wings for all of our family. Even though he or she hasn’t even been born yet, our little wonder has already reminded me of a great lesson in life – all of our future journeys will begin with a little fluttering – in every sense of the word…




About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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1 Response to Fatherhood at Fifty – Fluttering

  1. wendydoherty says:

    Delightful. There will be so many episodes of “fluttering” throughout pregnancy and parenthood. Think of how a baby bird learns to fly – it flutters.

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