Thursday, June 14, 2012

On books and babies...

So, what did you get up to on the weekend?

I walked (crawled, hobbled…?) through a wall of fire to give form to this life that’s spent so long tumbling and wondering inside of me.

Bit like writing a book really. 

Perhaps with a little more swearing and screaming (marginally).

Like writing, there was fear, albeit a sharper and more primal one than the nagging self-doubt that plagues you as your fire up your lap-top. 

In birthing, as the waves of pain crash into you and leave you slick and panting, you feel a different kind of fear. An awful, biting terror.  Nipping at you with practised incisors.  Leaving you terrified of the next assault even as you will it closer to bring the end in sight.

Like writing, there was isolation. 

Forget your lover and your doula.  In birthing, as in writing, there is a moment when your world narrows and you know you are truly alone. The realisation smacks into you, ices your skin and makes your legs shake. 

But it also focuses you.  Woman up.  It’s time to summon all the female parts of you – the witches and medicine women of the ages – and get on with it. Alone.

So.  Some things are the same.

But some things are very different.  The product, most of all. 

Like a book, your baby comes, in the words of Kahlil Gibran, ‘through you but not from you’. 

Like a story, it has been waiting for you to give it form.

But it is the parts that are its very own that make you wonder and delight.

As I held my wet and slippery baby to me, feeling the final pulsing of the cord that joined us, all I could see was the completeness, the perfection of him.

When you finish a story, and you hold it up to the light, mindful of its imperfections, you feel exposed. You wonder who else will see.

As I save a final draft, I feel myself closing a lid, turning a page.

With my baby boy, I hold my breath at his beauty as I fall into him.  I wonder how something so tiny-shiny and complete can have been born from the flaws and uncertainties of me.

As I look into those eyes that have somehow been here before, I see the potential and possibility of him.  Arcing off in a thousand different directions. 

All the things I will see, and all the things that will come after me.

My here and now, and my immortality, wrapped together in his soft skin.

It is a strange feeling, to have done so much, worked so hard.  Not to polish a final piece of work, but simply to deliver him to the first page of his own story.