Tag: birth

The voice you hear

I’ve been thinking about birth lately. There is a point at which a labor outgrows everything you know, everything you read and hear and plan for. It is a frightening space for the woman involved. It is a space of surrender. It is also the place at which everything about you as a person shines through.

It is a place where having someone there who can look you in the eye and say I believe in you and I know you can do this can be the difference between continuing on in fear, or continuing on in faith.

I’ve accepted that support, gratefully, from other people during my own births. I’ve provided that support to other women. It is what we need in birth, and it is what we need in life.

Writers need it too. As I sit here, waiting at the darkest point of the year, when the pines see more of the sun than I do, I’m thinking about what that means, that voice that says I believe in you. I’m thinking about all the times when it feels like the writing is going nowhere, or the story feels too hard to tell, or the novel wants to be written but you know that you may be writing it for yourself alone.

Sometimes it just feels too big to do. Sometimes you want to walk away from it, but everything inside you insists you continue. You skitter around it like a horse crossing water, eyes rolling, convinced it is too deep.

If you’re lucky, there will be a voice coming from across the water. I believe in you, it will say. You can do this.

Listen to it.

A beginning, an end

I vanished this week. I was at a birth, and then I was home, sleeping. It was the last birth I expect to attend, aside from any I might go to as personal favors, so it was a bittersweet experience.

There are all sorts of parallels to be drawn between birth and writing, but it feels artificial to sit down and list them. For today, let’s just leave it at one: both are incredibly complex and individual experiences, and it cheapens them to reduce them to merely mechanical events. I may have more to say about it at some future point, but not now.

I can say one other thing. I’ve been present at enough births that I could be somewhat jaded about the process. I’m not. Having a thorough understanding of the mechanics of labor in no way diminishes the “Holy Sarsaparilla!” moment of birth. (Please note that sarsaparilla is not the word that I would actually use, but I do try to be accommodating in my word choices.) Anyone looking for evidence of magic in the world, hang out at a few births, any species, and see what you find.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a story recommendation for the week.