Content note: this post contains graphic descriptions of birth and pain. If you are in early pregnancy or about to have your baby, I’d encourage you to return to this post after your own labour.
My boys are asleep – husband and son – and I’m enjoying a tea while trying not think about the fact that my entire ‘undercarriage’ feels like it is about to fall off even though I am sitting still.
The shock of labour and birth has gently subsided this past day and I am now left with endless, cycling reflections on this profound experience that has transformed my life – that has brought a new human into existence.
I am utterly floored by the ingenuity of the womb; it’s intricate lacings of blood, muscle, memory, elasticity
I am in awe of the power of the body; her sinewy strength and surging fire.
I am overcome by the resilience of the mind; the resolve to ride each wave and persevere in the face of deep fear.
And I am bowled over by the tenacity of love.
Each of these things made our boy’s birth possible.
Oh, and a truly phenomenal midwife…
I mean, there are people and then there are midwives – crafted with expertise, patience, compassion and some stardust magic unique to them. I will forever be grateful to Emily for her presence and devotion to us during labour, especially when I was in full banshee mode during that rapid, hellish hour of 3-10cm dilation!
But in earnest, in the immediacy of birth the resonating thoughts were only of my body, my pain – the echoes of the fear and the uncertainty of that experience. Even as I held the purple, angry monster to my chest – maternal love gently swelling for this new person – I only wanted to think of myself as the awe of what I’d done set in. I needed to think of myself and to give myself permission to sob and ache for what this woman had endured. For what women endure.
For the rest of my life I won’t forget that deep grief-hope which bled out from me in those moments after labour. It taught me something about myself, about motherhood, about women – that no matter how she brings you into this world, she is extraordinary. With intervention, without support, with relief, without release, she did it. And we can never know how she possibly did. She is otherworldly.
She is mother.
Image Anatomical Drawing of Fetus in the Womb by Jan van Rymsdyk