Category Archives: prenatal

In the Beginning…

Birth Day.

This is not about a party with cake and candles and presents.

I want to tell you about the day I was born.

It was the middle of April in a Midwestern city, an unseasonably cold 20 degrees. The day started early for me. I emerged from my cozy womb at 1 a.m.

The moon was new, and so was I.

But, like the moon, I wasn’t really new. I’d been around for a while – just hiding in a place where no one could see me.

In that place, I was warm and happy. In the daytime, my cousins gave me loving rubs and pats as they welcomed me with their words, and I could hear them giggling and squealing as they played around me. I could smell food cooking in the evening and hear the sounds of dinner – forks against plates, glasses clinking, music, animated talk, and hearty laughter.

My mother wore out every nightgown she had, rubbing her belly late at night and talking gently just to me. Sometimes, though, she cried. I felt the sobs rack her body, and mine, too. And I felt her sadness and despair.

But mostly I felt her hope, her anticipation, her optimism. Sometimes we danced, Mama and me.

I grew to love the tastes of the foods she ate. She craved tapioca pudding when I was inside her. I still abandon my usual healthy diet now and then to succumb to its comfort.

And always, always, I could hear her heart beating. My life, in that place, was measured by its rhythm.

When I was ready to come into the world of air and light, I woke her up on that cold April night, and we rode in the big car, Mama and I, with her favorite sister.

Soon after our arrival at the hospital, I emerged from my cozy home. I was frightened for a moment, breathing air for the first time, and it was cold. But then I was laid on my mother’s breast and I felt her warm skin against mine, heard the reassuring rhythm of her heartbeat, smelled her familiar smell, recognized her voice welcoming me, and gazed at last into the eyes of my World, my Universe, my Everything.

I was enraptured.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Time in this new world, I was to learn, passes all too quickly yet can be an agonizing eternity.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As I snuggled, euphoric, at my mother’s breast, strange cold hands clasped around me and, in that moment, Mama was gone. My World was gone. I was gone.

In a matter of seconds, bliss ended… and terror began.

Sacrificial lambs, both of us; we would never know that sweet embrace again.