Thirty-four years ago today I became a mother. It was 1am of the equinox before she was born after virtually 24 hours of labour and delivery an emergency caesarean. The babe had gone into shock and the beeps and buzzers were letting us know the heartbeat was stopping and starting. What a trauma, she came out in one beautiful and complete piece relaxed and rested as if there was nothing to worry about at all. A couple of minor challenges faced her immediately, but they didn’t seem to faze her at all and within a week we had started life together away from the prying eyes of doctors and nurses in a bungalow on a busy inner eastern suburban thoroughfare.
All beginnings are marked with some ceremony and this beginning confirmed love, hope, peace and joy. The anticipation of waiting for a child can really stretch your patience, each day beyond the due date seems like an eternity for expectant parents, grandparents, family and friends. You imagine what the child will be like, and what their future will hold, and what kind of a family you will make together. Before the babe is born you are called an expectant mother – quite appropriate really – you are expecting to become a mother with the birth of the child – and indeed you do once the labour is over and the child delivered is held in your arms. You fall in love so deeply and completely that you have eyes for no-one else.
I was blessed to have four occasions of motherhood and I can only imagine the soul destroying emptiness you would have felt with the loss of your one and only child.
Parenting continues long after the birth. My own mother says she hasn’t finished parenting yet as she heads into her eighth decade. I agree with her. I am very grateful for the gift of motherhood and having been able to share the parenting with their father all these years. I still think it takes a village to raise a child and am grateful to many others along the way who have mentored, coached, loved, cajoled, entertained and supported our offspring and continue to do so.
I would like to call on a Blessing for a Mother to Be from your fellow countryman John O’Donohue as I want to join that experience of expectation with the relief you feel not just on the night that your child is born, but on all the other nights when they come home safely and regardless of their journey that day. Whether arriving has been traumatic or without incident, you trust they may easily find their way to be in your arms for real or virtually. Expectantly, you long for the echo of your life to be sounded in theirs and for their own song to ring out as clear as any bell or buzzer that might have been sounded the first time they saw the sun.
Nothing could have prepared
Your heart to open like this.
From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside you
And started to pulse with life;
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes
On its way home to itself.
Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.
It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;
Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed
With every fibre of your being.
Never have you travelled further inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
Unable to reach the fund of brightness,
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.
Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essence
That flow to your child.
You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.
May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.
May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart, so that it can grow with ease.
Expectant of wonder and welcome
When its form is fully filled.
And it makes its journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved, and glad in your arms.