Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Breathing Space


The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.
-Ivy Baker Priest

This month marks the anniversary of my daughter's second birthday, and my second year of being a mother. As I did last year, I commemorated the moment by waking at the time of her birth, and reliving the experience.

I relived the pain of my prolonged labor, the torment of those last moments. I thought I would surely die. I could not see how I could go on. I have never felt so close to my own ending, to the end of my strength and spirit.

I remember praying to God. I remember looking at the clock, watching the moments pass, and wondering when it would be over. The pain washed over me again and again and I held onto my husband as he helped me through one moment to meet the next.

I remember pushing with all my strength, thinking I had no more strength and, again, praying. I remember the disbelief as she was placed on my chest. I remember how she turned her eyes to meet mine. I remember the surprise that I barely registered her sex, after wondering for all those long months. I was so enchanted with her being that sex seemed an afterthought.

I remember the euphoria of getting to our room, of being taken care of, and having done it. Holding this amazingly perfect being in my arms, my heart breaking at the beauty of our blessing. It was over. She was here.

My life had changed forever in an instant and I was at once the same and at once reborn. I was now a mother, the heady gravity of those words becoming more and more real as the moments passed. I had become a mother. I was a mother. The feeling and meaning of those words slowly dawned on me just as that morning dawned, just as my daughter was born.

Life has a way of helping you even when you think it is hurting you. I look back at Babou's birth with a new perspective, one less shaped by pain than function. Those days of labor, of pain, of waiting, held an important purpose in preparing me for motherhood. Those thought clearing moments of pain were preparing me for change. The extreme fatigue, the relentlessness of it, created a near dream like state in which new pathways were allowed to open in my spirit. It was as though I became a vehicle, I was taken over by something much larger than myself. I was on the sidelines, my ego was out the door. I didn't realize until later that all of this was in preparation for my initiation into motherhood.

After I had given birth, when I had reentered a more normal state of consciousness, I realized I had changed. I realized that everything had changed. I was no longer the woman who had walked into that hospital. I was no longer the center of my own universe. There is something so liberating in that, in that act of becoming a part of something larger than yourself. I had glimpsed a larger picture and was beginning a new chapter of my life. As I look at my daughter today, I am still in awe of the raw beauty of life. I am in awe of the strength of love. And I am in awe of how much a child can teach you, even in one night, and in one moment.

3 comments:

ophelia rising said...

So beautiful, and so true. I love how you say you were "enchanted" by her. That is truly what it is. We are so incredibly enchanted by our children.

Jo said...

It was the most incredible moment of my life. No other moment can compare--truly a spiritual experience, Thank you so much for commenting, I truly appreciate your support and your writing.

Mary Alice said...

That was a true beautiful depiction of the inner transformation we make into motherhood.