Wednesday, April 14, 2010

conquering the jabberwocky

I can so clearly recall the pride and sheer awe I felt after delivering my baby boy just twelve weeks ago. Carrying and delivering a baby is something that a woman's body was designed to do and yet I could not help but feel like a total rock star when the experience was done. Of my three deliveries, this last one left a huge and wonderful impression on me. What I find intriguing though, is how when it comes to giving birth, my mind will often jump straight to the end of the story, passing over the begining and middle. I see the photograph of myself holding my baby seconds after he was born, a moment frozen in time, peaceful and reflective of all of the love anyone can possibly possess...

But what happens to the rest of the story? While the process of childbirth is not a secret, we tend to censor the tale. I can't help but laugh when the Monks asked me when I would know that the baby was ready to come out. "Well, you kind of get this cramp", I explained...

How would I ever explain a contraction to a six year old in a way that would not scare him to pieces? No, we save the thruths for ourselves, other mamas who have been there. How could anyone experience something so incredible that encompasses the entire spectrum of a human's physical potential and emotional possibility without wanting to talk about it and process it?

And talk we do! Just recently, one of my dearest friends delivered her second baby. After months of chats, laughing about what we knew was in store for us when the child birth process began {none of which is actually very funny}, I could not wait to talk with her in the aftermath of it all. I could probably write a book about all of the hysterical metaphores women have used to describe phasing through contractions; talk of being on "the table" howling savagely, or writhing in pain like a wounded animal. If you had been fourtunate enough to maintain your dignity through the contractions, there would have been no escape from the absence of modesty that would be experienced as all kinds of people would be seeing parts of your body do something, that at times I still have trouble wrapping my head around!

When my friend and I spoke, she gave me what is probably my favorite analogy yet. "As the contractions kept comming faster and stronger, I kept thinking of the Alice in Wonderland movie, it was like I was battling the Jabberwocky". Yup, that just about hits the nail on the head for me {and it doesn't hurt that Jabberwocky is a really fun word that we so rarely have the opportunity to use}.

I think most can agree that Mother Nature knows exactly what she is doing in the baby birthing department, but I wonder if it does not go deeper than that. Perhaps battling the Jabberwocky, surviving the impossible, is preparing us for motherhood...a calling that can test a woman in so many ways. And maybe being able to talk openly about what is perhaps the most incredible and insane moment in many of our lives is helping us to forge connections; so we will know where sharing our joys and unleashing our heartaches will be most clearly understood.
Just a thought.


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