A few weeks ago I met an amazing woman who told me a fascinating story. With her permission, I want to recount some of our conversation here.
Let’s call her Anna. She told me that this story began when she had two children aged 5 and 3 and was at the start of the 9th month of pregnancy with her third child. Her husband, an avid and experienced hiker, decided to take a trip with his brother, reckoning that this was the last chance for quite some time that he would be able to leave home for a few days. Towards the end of the first day of their trip, Anna’s husband slipped and fell off the path. He tumbled down the side of a cliff and was killed. I can’t imagine, and Anna did not tell me, what she went through when they told her the news. I can’t imagine how she could bear waking up every morning, how she could even start to contemplate her pregnancy and bringing a new soul into this world. How did she tell her children, what did she do when they cried for their daddy, when they asked when he is coming home?
One month later Anna described how she travelled by train, alone, to the hospital. The baby was to be induced and as Anna stepped onto the train she began to wonder how she would go through with it. She told me that she realised she needed to find a story that would help her be strong. She knew she had to make some sense of what she was about to do in order for her to be able to do it. And this is the story she began to create in her mind.
If you think about birth from the perspective of a baby, well, it’s total and utter loss. That baby loses his familiar surroundings, the comfort of the womb and the mother’s body. He loses his source of nutrition and the sounds around him. He is propelled into a bright, cold, harsh reality where he is handled roughly, measured, weighed, wrapped and taken away. If we think about birth from the mother’s perspective, it is the start of life! It is the most wonderful, fulfilling, magical moment where we get to see our baby. To touch him and hear him and hold him. It is the begining of a lifetime of experience and connection. It is often the most purposeful and satisfying moment, that is like the start of second life. The baby’s life as he knows it is over, now his next life is starting.
Anna decided that the birth of her baby was this very experience for herself. Her life had ended in so many ways by the untimely death of her husband, now she had the opportunity to start a second life. Her new baby was showing her how she could be born into her new life, with him, and in essence how she could continue and to survive.
Thankyou Anna for sharing this amazing story, it is a gift. And thankyou for sharing with me part of your journey and your choice to survive. You are an inspiration.