I found her under a gooseberry bush, which is a euphemism of course for a labour so painful I really-actually thought I was going to die.
I did not find childbirth spiritual or beautiful. Instead, it found me, violent & terrifying; a trauma so gruesome that under any other circumstance you’d be given a week in bed, flowers & an appointment with a therapist. But this is an everyday trauma; sitting in cafes, I stared in wonder at all the other women who has been through the same. A room full of car crash victims, pulled fresh from the wreckage and handed a tiny, helpless being to care for, even before the bleeding had been stemmed. Everywhere, these incredible strong women, carrying on.
He asks me, sometimes, will we have another? And I laugh this funny laugh that doesn’t even really sound like me, and say, sure, but it’s your turn this time.
To split yourself in two is just about the most radical thing you can do, & I’d be lying if I said I understood it, even now. But I understand that mothers -whatever their story- are fierce, & awe-inspiring, & just a little bit magical.
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