lying in bed, i feel the potential charlie horses building in my calves like waves forming out at sea that start with just a bit of tension. in my mind, i’m going over conversations, analyzing the residue left behind from them, comments sticking in me like fishing hooks, pulling a bit in different directions. where i am in my life, where i am in my bed, is a crossroads between this and that, between sleep and waking, uncommitted. at times like these, it is better to get up, brew some coffee, check my face in the mirror, feel human again, i find.
i need to read my book on natural childbirth, work on mental imagery, relaxation and exercises to open up my pelvis, to get the baby into optimal position, to strengthen and tone the muscles i will need to push a baby out of my body. i need to buy a birth ball. i need to decide where to deliver, who to deliver with, doctors, midwives, keep imagining the birthing process in different places, what i think it will be like in different places, how i might feel while i’m in labor, what might help me. music, relaxing music? stand up comedy dvds? focal objects like pictures of ruth or one of these dudets:
i need to find a doula. or, at least call a few. come up with a list of questions for these ladies. questions such as, “can you just take over and give birth for me?” or more like, “i’m crazy. have you ever helped a crazy woman give birth before? do you bring any implementations to a birth? such as a straight jacket?”
my scattered brain probably needs this coffee like i need a hole in my head. but it feels so good going down, doesn’t it?
this is where children come from. from other clueless people casting about for guidance and direction. scattered, and perhaps a bit misguided, research, panicked early mornings of confusion and too much coffee, giant rolling bellies being hauled about. and, of course, sex. it’s all part of the process of life-giving. the passion, the irresistible drive. then the appointments, vaginal exams, and cravings for mustard and vinegar, your mother’s meat balls. the nerves, the confusion, and the agony of childbirth. the joy and elation, the soaring of the heart, tears of immeasurable emotion. and a tiny, wet, warm body, with a brand new person inside. relief. and then work.
these sleepless nights are one of the staples of new parenthood. anticipation, anxiety, and endless considerations can do that to a person. this is how parents are born. through initiation, rights of passage. physical discomfort, mental confusion, and work. and then, the foundation of it all: joy.