I found myself in the later hours of my maternity night duty, around 3 am. A lull in the workload served no purpose except to make me acutely aware, how in the timeless disorientation of the well lit emergency, my exhaustion was paradoxical. No matter how I tried, I could not rest.
I lay my head down on the table outside the labour room, closing my eyes slowly. Some half an hour later, I let the fatigue wash over me, begin to pull me under. But then. A piercing cry rang through the air. A heart wrenching wail. How could I have thought to sleep, when new life was coming into our world, merely a few feet away?
We enter the world, bare and crying, alone but sometimes not; vulnerable and small. Posed to protext ourselves against the elements. Shivering, guarded, unsure and dependent. If we are lucky, already loved.
I could barely keep my eyes open, as I mulled over the wonder in this seemingly ordinary fact. But then, I thought, isn’t that the case with every new stage of life? Our first day of school, or work, married life, a new neighborhood. Are we not eternally verging out from a self created womb and diving headfirst into strange and new surroundings? Are we not vulnerable, our lack of experience seemingly a lack of survival skills?
But we learn. We grow. Our bodies ease, our guarded stance uncurling, as we stretch, extend and finally learn to stand tall. Alone, but sometimes not. If we’re lucky, not just loved, but respected. Birth is a cycle that repeats itself, with less vigour, less trauma; but with infinitely more meaning.