The lady with the cards didn’t look like what I pictured a tarot card reader to look like but, perhaps, it was her middle-aged, motherly look that put me at ease and made me vulnerable. I was just starting my second trimester. Finally over the nausea and fatigue that had plagued my first trimester, this bachelorette party was the first fun thing I felt like doing in three months.
Of course, while my friends were drinking champagne and wine, I was sipping juice and water. And the lingerie that we showered on the bride-to-be was an affront to my swelling body. Maybe that was in the back of my mind when I sat down and transferred my energy to the cards that were to explain my life.
I’ll admit I don’t know much about tarot. I’ve only done this the one time. I can’t tell you what cards were placed in front of me, but as we talked through them I confessed to this perfect stranger that I was feeling sad, scared and lonely in my pregnancy. Perhaps a bit ambivalent about it. And so guilty about feeling all of this.
“Sad about a pregnancy?” she clucked. “Was this planned?”
Yes, it was planned, but still weirdly unexpected when it finally happened after eight months of trying.
“Mmm, change can do that,” the motherly tarot reader said before moving on to the next person.
Wait? That is all I get? Some judgment and an unclear anecdote? This is a tarot reading. I’m supposed to leave knowing what lies ahead of me. Dismissing this woman as the type who hires herself out to bachelorette parties and who is probably not all that serious or skilled, I moved on to mingle and chat.
Later, it was suggested that myself and the other pregnant friend draw cards for our babies.
“But what if I draw the death card?” my friend jokes. She draws and gets some symbol of relative good fortune.
I draw…and get the death card…followed by gasps from our friends who had gathered to watch.
I giggle nervously, still not sure how to take this woman shuffling cards out for my friends. She asks if she can touch me and I nod. With her hands on my head she says that she is transferring positive energy into my body.
After the touching and the energy transfer she says, “Death is a change and that is all this card means. It means that there is change coming to your life. It is the death of one kind of life and the birth of another.”
I went home shortly after and cried ugly tears for my, obviously, black and cold heart. I’m clearly not meant to be a mother. I can’t even be excited for this baby. When asked to pick a simple card for her life, I draw the DEATH card. The worst card of all. I’m going to be the worst mother of all.
As life goes, I picked up the pieces of my black and cold heart. Put one foot in front of the other and prepared to be a mother. At some point the tarot card reader was forgotten. Excitement and nerves grew, as is to be expected, and love blossomed when I looked at that squishy face for the first time. My heart thawing and turning whatever color good mothers’ hearts are.
You know what? The tarot card reader was right. Change is death. It’s a loss of something. Those sad, scared, lonely emotions I was feeling? That was mourning. Change, brought on by a positive pregnancy test, meant the death of one life and the birth of another. It was okay for me to mourn. Those emotions were me preparing for the biggest (and best) changes of my life.
A whole lot more has changed since then. I grieve for the chubby, giggly baby I once held in my arms while belly laughing at the antics of my imaginative and emotional three-year old. I know full well that this too shall pass because change and love… lots of love… are perhaps the only constants of motherhood as I’ve known it.