Real Baby and Birth Stories from Real Women

Birth Rites

Birth Rites

on the day she was born
a small black bear emerged
from tall lime green grasses
as I rushed to arrive
my blood rushing too
no one to tell or see, but me
55-years-old and
this, my first bear in
the wild world of my tame life

on the day he was born
Sunday, 7:13 AM, the sun shone
I, 30-years-old, ensconced in
the supposedly soothing ecru
virgin birthing room
ill-equipped, untried
the doctor reached for him and
snapped his collarbone
as he was pulled into the world

on the day I was born
she, also 30, took off solo
hummingbird, in a goldfinch taxi
called from the neighbours
no phone at their mid-American,
post-war bungalow
she and her heart hurried
on her own
her husband at home, holding onto
2 children, ages 6 and 3

on the day I was born
her heart raced, her skull
split from the spinal, her
ingrained migraines took hold
while I suckled once, twice, more
12 hours in the nursery
both our heads aching from the day
the separation necessary
with all her pain, top to bottom

on the day he was born
30 minutes after the afterbirth
contractions resumed
hot candy-apple blood coated my calf
unexpected pain, infuriating
fury and fatigue keeping fear away
later, flickers of unspent blood
puce freckles adorning my face
along with 1 clashing crimson eye

on the day he came home
to a blocked bedroom community,
Bellairian suburb safe
green, tidy white, number 5121
my view of life blood-shot as
I reached for him
repeatedly and repeatedly, he
mewed, baby animal sounds
his broken bone unknown to me

on the day she came home,
3-days-old, to her Acadian cabin by the bog
I rushed into a pole, eye blossoming plum
and her broken-collarboned father
stole 7 hours alone
surveying his life top to bottom
while the unreliable
rang repeatedly and repeatedly
no one could reach him

on the night she was born
colours flashed and digits
ages, addresses, toes and fingers
pain, vital blood and bruises
where we were, how we hurried, what broke,
who we might be, strong, vivid
emotions wild as 1001 bears
and showed glowing through
brand-new, translucent skin

on the night she was born
she, and my own seared scenes, emerged
merging, impressed
like the repeating migraines
and the numbered memories
on the 11th day when I was born
no bear appeared but
all the rest arrived
with me

Written and shared by Nancy S. M. Waldman from Nova Scotia, Canada, and Houston, Texas



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