I feel pressure to have a beautiful and hilarious birth story. Which is odd, because Willa’s birth already happened. The particulars have long since unfolded, yet I find myself wanting to weave my words in such a way to change its trajectory.
There must be some wry comments I could make about bodily fluids or an eloquent turn of phrase that could render the story more palatable to me. Instead, I have ten or twelve unfinished documents, each dripping with disclaimers and contextual pleas for mercy. Willa’s birth has become its own perfect metaphor for trying to tell others about it: a failure to descend.
Slowly, as my body heals, the mind has come with it. I notice that somewhere below my rib cage, where my stories churn and twist, I am ready to start telling about my labor and delivery. I am ready to proclaim it with the right posture, no longer with hunched shoulders and my head weighed down by excuses. I’m ready to roll back my shoulders, lift up my head and look the world in the face to tell our story in the way it deserves to be told.
I am ready to start dismantling the wall of questions of what I could have done differently, to take each blasted brick of shame and kiss it goodbye, letting them drop so my hands are free to enjoy the luscious joy that is my daughter.
While some have counseled that I owe no one the story, that it’s mine to keep private, I’ve known for sometime that it doesn’t belong to only me. It belongs to my husband and to Willa. It belongs to my mom and Dad and sister in law who carried my literal weight in the delivery room. It belongs to everyone who continues to fail at their carefully constructed dreams and ambitions. It belongs to those who need to laugh into the darkness. It belongs to those who hold up their sadness over their head like prized hunt, even though their arms shake with the weight of its lifeless form.
So will you bear with me as I sputter out this story? It won’t be in a neat package, not even linear. It will be in fits and starts and stalls and detours. But I need to tell it, because all the other things I need to say in this life are waiting behind it in a major traffic pile up in the back of my mind, horns honking, wanting to get through, not knowing about the poor stalled story at the front of the line with a sputtering engine, waving apologetically for people to go ahead as it fumbles around with the inadequate tools in the trunk.
I’m going to write this story in approximately five hundred word chunks. More very revealing baby installments. Some snippets will be out of context to help me appreciate the shining things, to hold them up and separate them from the dull and disappointing.
Pull up a seat on my bed, because it’s the only room in our house with air conditioning, and it’s a bazillion degrees this summer. I’m done stooping low. I’m ready to look into the light till my eyes hurt.
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