(Originally written 11-2-2009, about two years after my son’s birth)
The womb, the egg, intuition, and the mystery of the female experience. These are things that remind me of connectivity to earth, to time, and a sanguine color.
I have this pair of socks that I cannot part with. They are ankle socks – white with a scalloped trim. They are blood stained from when my water broke. Since they have been washed, the stains are a light sanguine. I store them in a special keepsake box.
Anyone else would have discarded them as trash. I cannot. I keep them like one would keep a lock of hair from a baby. No – it is more deeply emotional than that.
I keep them like one might keep the scent of a lost loved one by hanging on to an old article of clothing. To discard it is to discard the evidence of an experience that is connected to my soul.
Every mother has her birth story. Mine is no more notable than anyone else’s, but every birth story exists to give evidence to the essence of what it means to be female.
When my contractions were 2 minutes apart after so many hours, I didn’t think I could live through each subsequent one. Strangely, I both wanted and feared (terrified comes to mind) each building, pulsating, beating, searing, seeming to last forever inquisition that rocked my entire being.
Before I knew it, Cubbie was 6 months, and then 9 months, 2 years… I remember wondering what his personality would be like. Looking back, I can see that little person he is now in the same eyes in the pictures of an infant. I just didn’t know what those eyes were saying back then.
Kids are babies long after we stop thinking of them as such. A vast majority of brain development occurs between birth and around three years of age.
Epigenetics research is also evidencing that environment and attachment practices have tremendous impact on this developing brain, actually limiting or boosting intelligence and establishing a framework for social and emotional development for a life time.*
[*update, 2016… by now, epigenetics and prior developmental research should be impacting public policy to support the nurturing of children and delaying separation from primary caregivers, but institutionalization of policy such as in medicine, socioeconomics, and education are conventions connected to societal identification over generations]
The rest of what I give to Cubbie is probably on the extreme end of what is the cultural norm in America – so many women and mothers draw limits when giving of themselves to their children in response to conventions that speak over their inner knowing. I had even convinced my self that I never wanted children of my own based on these external influences.
“…you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”
I think in about 2-3 years, I will long for the immersion in meeting the needs and wants of my child just as I long now for the pregnancy and infancy period.
I truly believe that this will be the most important four (give or take) years in my life (and Cubbie’s life for his future) and it is my ultimate responsibility. I believe it will pay dividends for years to come, but most importantly, I love being Cubbie’s mommy.
Life is but once. Each decade looks like such a short road when looking back. Early childhood development is a drop in the bucket of a lifetime. But, it is arguably the most critical for a life.
I long to re-experience the labor pains, that moment when my water broke, and to endure every contraction. I long to again experience that ultimate pain that bonds women of every previous and future generation on a level that is nearly ecstatic.
For decades, I feared child-birth. But, now I have these sanguine-stained socks to remind me that I embraced all that it means to live in the moment for the nearly two days that I spent giving life to my offspring.
As for those socks… Once in a while I come across them, and I feel a connection with myself that represents immutable motherhood across every dimension, throughout all of infinite time and space.