Monday, December 5, 2011

Reflections on Motherhood I: Becoming

The downward push of blood and bone…

Mud and new grass
Pushing up…

Beginning the long good-bye.”
~Kathleen Norris

I'm am thinking now of the quickly passing months of pregnancy, when my daughter grew like a poem within me, wiggling, forming, and finally bursting into dawn; while the clouds cleared and the summer sun rose before her. Pregnancy was the time to meet her, to know and love her before seeing her face and feeling her tiny hands grasp.

For the three of us, my husband, my daughter, myself,  labor was not an isolated experience so much as it was the expansion of a relationship: prior to her birth, Yarrow was the quiet, hidden one - the child within, growing, loving, and learning in secret ways. After, we could see her wide eyes taking in, we wanted to wrap her up in love in a new, richer way; a way that can grow and expand as she grows, a way that can continually see her.

Labor, I felt as a shared experience. I felt my husband’s presence so completely in labor that I have trouble seeing it as solely a feminine experience - it felt so completely ours. I forgot he was not feeling and doing everything I was. In pregnancy and in labor, my husband belonged so naturally. With him beside me I could loose myself completely in the experience, I could let the physicality of birth overwhelm my mind, and greet my daughter with strength and confidence, knowing my body would bring forth her small one with all the grace of a storming summer night.

I loved the immersion. I love the warm water all around me, loved the full caul covering my daughter’s face as she met the world. Loved the rainy night and the bright new day that followed. I remember most the sense of roundness: the roundness of my full womb in the water, the roundness of her head leaving me, the roundness of life cycling. I remember the joy of loving, and the triumph of the new day.


  1. Beautiful post, great close-up babypudge. I'm so glad it was such a happy experience for all of you! (You know how I worry about my delicate lil sister :))

    Also, love the overly-romanticized peasant cottage (below). Can't wait to see you guys!

  2. There is a prolific poem here, and I don't think I'll leave you alone until you write it.

  3. I WANT to write it, it's just hard! :)

    Thanks so much for the encouragement! Do make me keep to it! The experience deserves it, for certain, but the words are only half-formed.

  4. Of course it's hard! But no harder or easier than giving birth. c;

    The words seem very well-formed to me. All they need is ordering and elaborating. If you needed a little creative push, you could start printing out this post. Cut up each sentence or phrase that you like, mix them up, rearrange them, and then fill in the words that are missing to link the ideas together.

    (Not leaving you alone, told you!)

  5. I need to be not left alone! That's a fantastic idea! I love it, it's like making a picture. Thanks!