Let me tell you how you came to be, my son.
Let me tell you of your entry into this world.
Let me tell you how your mother fought and ripped and screamed but in her triumph passed from helpless being into the land of Kali; of Shakti; of female power unimpeded; of peaceful mother feeding her child everything her body had to give.
It started a long time before the pain. It started when a woman told me that I could not birth in my home, my cave, for fear of my death. I knew she was wrong but she scared those around me. She could not see my invisible attendants. They were the Old Ones from before a time of men laying their hands on a birthing woman’s body. I could feel them around me. Tawet; the hippo-headed mother. Hapi; the dwarf who loves babies. Hathor; sacred mother who in her last moments of desperation turns into Sehkmet; the lion-headed warrior. Isis; the eternal midwife.
I could feel the old one’s charms wrapped around me. I could feel my friend’s love and hope. When the time came to walk into the birthing room I was not alone, I was not afraid.
The pains started.
I smiled. I was going to meet you, my son, at last after nine months of sickness and waiting, waiting, waiting.
I paced my home. The pains got stronger and more demanding. I walked.
Day turned to night and I was burying my face in cushions and moaning muffled sounds.
Your father went to bed. He knew it was going to be a long time yet.
The pain subsided, came less often, less urgently.
Day came. I lay in the bath, too tried to do anything but feel my body’s shivers. I slept a little in the water, waking with each contraction. I was entering a dream-like state, almost ecstatic; the pain was a long way away from me, down a long tunnel.
Somehow night came again.
I started to worry. This was going to be a long labour but I was not going to lie down and give up, I was going to walk every step.
I decided to take control.
Midnight. The house was quiet, the lights down low. I took out my drum. I lay some artefacts before me: Painted stones, a necklace of beads, a vial of arnica, an image of the Goddess, a band of green ribbon. These things were given to me by my powerful sisters, my friends, at my Mother Blessing.
I tapped out a rhythm. I knew you could hear it inside of me. I drummed a beat that came from beyond this age of needles, white rooms and separation, it came from my heart, my ancient heart, it came from my mother and her mother before her.
The pains grew stronger and more urgent.
I needed others to drum the beat for me now but I was alone so I put music on so that I could dance. In another time, another life, my sisters would have made the music on their drums and with their song but this was now and so the music came through a machine.
You danced inside me and slipped further into place.
The pain was swift and strong but I owned it now.
When the fingers of dawn just reached out through the sky I woke your father and said “It’s time to go”.
The birthing room was cold, sterile, silent, bright. It was an assault on my senses after the dark place I had come from. But I owned this experience and so we set about making it my den.
We turned the lights right down, the radio on, pushed to bed to one side and put blankets on the floor. Now I could birth.
They left me alone, didn’t touch me, didn’t measure me. I had told them before “Hands off”. Your father made sure I didn’t have to think of these things in this moment of intense birthing.
I dropped to the ground and roared with every contraction.
I pulled myself up again.
There came a point where I clambered up onto the bed, got onto my knees and started screaming.
It was the most exquisite pain.
In between each contraction I laughed and smiled at your father. Partly to reassure him that I was fine even though I was screaming (I see now, the screaming made it fine, that’s how I was dealing with the pain) but mostly because my body was making the most enormous amounts of endorphins. I was giddy and as high as I had ever been. It knocked my vision out and yet every moment is as clear as a bell.
I gripped the sides of the bed, tearing it.
I demanded ice was put to my lips.
I shouted “Come on baby, come on baby” to you to tell you the time had come.
Then it was over. I pushed once, twice, and you were in the world.
I was so tired I barely had the strength to turn and look at you. Your father held you as I moved my naked body around.
There you were. I held you on my chest. You didn’t cry. I was naked, breathless and waiting for the afterbirth; I looked into your father’s eyes with triumph.
I was the most powerful I have ever been, in that moment I had become the Goddess.
You nuzzled and crept until you found a nipple. You suckled.
You had come.
You were safe.
I love you.