Two very good things came about as a result of my time on bed rest during my pregnancy: Emelia and learning how to knit.
I was given strict orders from my MD to stay put. I wasn’t even allowed to take a shower every day. I sat up just to eat and even then I had to be careful and lay right back down because my contractions would pick up.
Read. Write. You’ll be okay, everyone who knows me said.
They figured I would make it through because I could do the things I loved even while having to lie down. I thought I would, too. But the combination of strong meds that made me dizzy and constant worry made it difficult to focus long enough to read and even to write. So my cousin introduced me to knitting. At first I laughed at it. The only people I pictured with knitting needs in their hands were my grandmothers. But my family encouraged me to give it a try and it soon became one of the only things that kept me calm. It also made me feel productive when I had an intense urge to nest and organize but couldn’t, like washing, folding and putting Emi’s clothes away, reorganizing the linen closet and perhaps scrubbing the grout between the tiles in our kitchen and entryway.
So I knit. A lot. I made bookmarks, coin purses, washcloths, baby blankets, and eventually a heart garland for her room. Now when I nurse her in her room, I am moved to tears when I see the garland – tiny prayers in the shape of hearts draped under her window and I look down and realize my own heart has taken the shape of a little girl.
Sometimes I feel unsettled. It’s like an itch I need to scratch but can’t find the exact location of it on my arm, or is it my palm? Though it takes me a while to figure out why, I eventually realize that it’s my need to be creative. And when the words don’t flow when I try to write, I sit down with my knitting needles.
I begin working one stitch at a time and all of a sudden everything else seems to fade. There’s something about the sound of the needles slipping against each another – the click and then the slide. Suddenly, only the yarn, needles and my mechanical hands exist. Each time I loop the yarn around my needle, I know I’m one step closer to a finished product. And I realize that knitting is a lot like living. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes we are stressed or feel anxious. But all we have to do is knit one stitch at a time. One foot in front of the other, and then again, and suddenly you’re moving forward, despite the troubles we may be facing. Our stories unfold, one stitch at a time. One step at a time. One minute at a time.
And in my case, one scarf at a time. One word at a time. One diaper change at a time.