Birth

It’s October 28th, 2019. Thirty-nine years ago I was excavated from my mother’s womb, after 24 hours of her pushing and breathing and squeezing. I would not slide out of her body naturally. I was too big.

I was 11lb something ounces and no matter how hard my mom tried, her body could not expand to a size of safety for both of us. So she was sliced, and I was removed.

I was held by nurses and doctors, swaddled and laid to rest in a room with other newly born earthlings. I had shelter, clothes, and food.

I did not have my mom.

My mom and I were kept separate for 24 hours. We were reunited once it was clear we were both ‘fine’, but by then it was too late.

The knife of grief was already lodged. The seed of fear already planted.

Fine was never really an option.

I obviously don’t remember any of this. I was zero years old.

My brain didn’t know how to store memories yet. All I could do was feel through sensory stimulation.

And while I was warm, and fed, and cared for, I didn’t have what I needed. I didn’t have the regular heartbeat I was used to, the soothing murmurs of my mom and my dad’s whispers.

All I knew was that earth was a lonely, scary place.

Not that I knew this in the same way I know that the yoga mat I am sitting on is blue.

I didn’t know that lonely or scary was a thing.

But my body knew. My body knew something was off.

Instead of resting, skin to skin, heart to heart, attuning to the rhythm of life through the rhythm of my mother, I could only attune to myself.

Myself, who arrived late, was too big, and caused my mother pain.

Instead of sinking into the cradle of my fathers arm, my spine and neck supported, it was up to me to support myself. I could, and would, do this thing called life on my own.

Not that this was a conscious decision. I was too young to make intentional choices for my life.

But at some point the ache in my chest became too much and instead of feeling the pain, my body buried it deep in my heart, locked the box, and threw away the key.

And the shakiness in my muscles and limbs became too distressing so my body forced itself to stop and stiffen up.

Thirty-nine years later I am sitting here writing this, surprising myself as this story unfolds. My brain is a little more evolved now; I can find the words to tell you this. But the story is not coming from my mind. It’s not a memory I relive in the same way I remember my first kiss, or what I had for dinner last night.

As I sat down to write, the words came. And then the tears. And that’s how I know this is true.

The searing pain of grief and loss, still buried in my heart, rising and flooding my body with a soul ache I had tried so hard to ignore all this time. Tears pouring down my face, primal wails crying from my heart. My hands trembling as I attempted to type.

The memory was stored in my body; has been stored in my body all these years.

And while I have aced the effort to bury the grief and overcome the fear, it has not been without a cost.

I could explain and tell you about those costs, but I’m getting kinda bored of them now. The story is getting old.

It’s taken 39 years for my mind to catchup with my body, for my body to finally tell it like it is, and in the meantime, I’ve been cycling through those pages like your [not-so-]favourite bedtime tale.

This time, I’m ready for a new story.

One where I’m not apologizing for how much space I take up, or worried about the pain my presence may cause. I will allow myself to gracefully slip out of a cocoon of safety.

Instead of bracing myself for the big scary world filled with bright lights and sharp metal objects that poke and pry you open, I will soften into faith and trust that I will be received with open arms of love.

And instead of perpetuating a story where I relive a lack of connection and absence of support, and attempt to fill in the blanks on my own, I will open my eyes to the milk-filled breast and the supple yet strong arms of the divine that have been waiting for me all this time; and for once let myself by fed and held.

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