As we get closer and closer to Ivy’s first birthday, I can’t help but reflect on the emotions and the physical experience of bringing her into the world. While making serious plans to include some aspect of Star Wars for the performance of her “celebration” (she was born on May the 4th), these plans are punctuated with moments of clarity where I pause and relive the experience of her birth.
The calmness, the pain, the second I knew she was ready, moments of panic, time stretching into eternity as my body stretched to allow her passing, my elation at hearing it was a girl, and the surge of euphoria when my eyes met hers.
It’s a very internalized and magical experience — so I’m constantly asking the Hubby, Eryn and my friend who attended the birth to tell me how they “saw” and experienced her birth. To understand how her grand “opening” made an impact on their lives. I was surrounded by people I love — and their love carried and supported both of us. So, I have this urge to see the event through others’ eyes — as if their words, not so much validates, but punctuates or adds new depth to my metamorphosis into motherhood.
Muslim doula and Hypnobirthing instructor Krystina Friedlander recently shared her experience of a birth that she attended, and it’s absolutely gorgeous:
There’s a quote I like describing contractions from poet Lia Purpura in her memoir of pregnancy, Increase. “The sensation of attenuation, the ropy ligaments, smooth as taut skeins of silk, winching a great weight closer and closer to the edge.” I like this quote because it is beautiful, and because it describes the movement towards an edge which I’ve come to understand, in my own way, to be a sort of no-turning-back submission to what the body needs, what the moment needs, what the child needs. I read it as a threshold moment that separates all she has been as a woman from what she will come to be in addition to who she is; a mother to this new human.
This is where it became strange and magical for me. Mama was too exhausted to hold her daughter right away, and her two cousins took turns and then put the baby down. Mama asked me “do you know the Fatiha?” This is the opening chapter of the Qur’an, a requisite verse for each prayer we Muslims make. I said yes. She said “recite it to her.” And I went over to the baby in her warmer, squalling and red, and leaned in to quietly whisper the verse in her ear. She went silent listening to my voice. Her dark gray eyes were wide and searching. A wave of connection built and crested inside of me, and I loved this child.
Go read the whole thing over at her place. You won’t be disappointed.