Monday, May 6, 2013


Conception. Pregnancy. Labor.

Braxton-Hicks contractions, then the real deal. The knife edge I-can't-do-this-anymore! of transition. At long last, delivery, and you hold in your hands a brand new soul.

When you think the pain of labor is over, yet another wave of breath-arresting, gut-knotting pressure. The placenta delivers.

Then, when you are quite certain the discomfort of labor and delivery are consigned to the past, to fuzzy-edged memories to be recalled in childbirth stories, here come those contractions again, every time you nurse your new baby. Breathe in, breathe out... Lamaze breathing is a reflex, enabling you to relax despite the spasms in your lower abdomen. Allowing you to over-ride the pain, to let down your milk so that you can nourish this new life.

My oldest children are young adults, one with a daughter of her own. My youngest is entering high school next fall.

And still, there are the long, low contractions.

No longer sharp - dulled now by the years - and yet, again, I find myself fighting the reflex to tense up, double over, fight against the pressure in my belly. Breathe in, breathe out...relax.

The thick, pulsing rope that carried blood and oxygen and waste, that tore away the life-lining knit into my womb, it shriveled and was cast aside long ago.

But the cord that carried soul and spirit, a will to live, the hunger to see and hear and stretch and know, to stand upright and breathe - breathe in, breathe out - that cord, no knife severs. The years have tugged it, pulled it over milestones, and stretched it like phone cord across states and continents.

This dull ache in my belly reminds me anew what a tremendous privilege it is to be the mother of an eternal soul. I am so very thankful for the gift of this calling.

Breathe in, breathe's the rhythm of a mother's prayer.

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