fifty-four: birth

whenever someone’s child has a birthday, i wish the kiddo a happy birthday…and then, wish their parents, a happy birth day.

never mind the nausea and heartburn and ten-month takeover of your mood and hunger by a growing parasite who seems to reside simultaneously on your bladder, in your crotch, and between your second and third ribs…or the physical pain pushing a miniature human out a narrow stretchy tunnel that happens to be an intimate part of your body, or the weeks of bleeding afterwards. i’m talking about the creation of a whole new person and being responsible for bringing them into the world. yeah, it happens every day, in all sorts of ways, all over the world. but it changes you.

it changes your body. your identity. your shape. your function. your meaning in life. your role. how your body works. who you are. who you’ve been.

birthing our daughter changed me in ways i never thought possible. most obviously, i became a mother (and what a tangled identity that is, more so now than ever). i grew her in my body, from a microscopic bundle of cells, to a fully formed tiny human. and then, i fed her from my body, on the outside, for several more months. i never felt more powerful than i did in those first few weeks; at least once a day, i would find myself looking at her in wonder, thinking, i made that. as her cheeks filled out and the dimples on her knuckles deepened, i marveled that i was sustaining her, growing her, nourishing her.

it was the one time in my life i appreciated my body for what it had done, and was doing. it was the one time in my life i felt i was in the right place…if not just for a few months.