A brief note before my story begins. A note to the mothers, a note to the fathers. To those who have birthed live children, and those whose young ones were taken too soon. This story— my story, our story—may be distressing to some, particularly those who’ve experienced the birth of a sweet babe, born sleeping.
If this is you, darling human, please feel free to leave this post here, taking all my love and comfort with you. To those who wish to stay, thank you for holding my heart during these moments. It is a gift to share the depths of my humanity. It is a gift to know my heart has been seen, held and loved.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
I’ve asked if my baby has died and no one is saying a thing.
The midwife moves the doppler across my stomach as I stare at the wall lit by dim orange light (my favourite kind.) There is no sound, no heart beat. There are no voices. There is silence, loud as thunder.
I ask again. Has my baby died? Still, no one says a thing. There are three midwives there. Not one of them has said a thing.
My body begins to push, and once again I am taken by the strength of the contractions. If my baby has died, I think, then I need them to take this pain away. But it’s too late for pain relief, I know that. I’m already pushing. I am on my own, no matter what is happening here.
There is a stillness in the room that wasn’t there before, and I know it is the feeling of sorrow. My sister is across the room, and so is my husband; the sadness is theirs and mine, and maybe the midwives’, mixed together with an odd cocktail of hope and confusion. Is the baby alive? Why on earth won’t they say anything?
Finally I am asked to change positions. They want me to push. Finally they have found a heart beat. A little slow, they carefully tell me, but a heart beat, thank goodness. I will need to give a great big push, they say, and I am okay with that because the midwife has said the only words I have wanted to hear. ‘Brooke. Your baby is okay.’
At least two minutes.
That is how long I thought the very worst.
Now, we move on.
As I breathe between contractions— between pushes—my eyes fall upon the midwife’s necklace, a butterfly on a thin, silver chain. It makes me think of the angel chain in my sisters hand, the one I’ve given her to hold, so Nan can be with me. It had been Nan’s right before she died. I had given it to her. Now it was mine.
And there is the stillness again. In the butterfly, in the thought of my Nan’s chain.
Another moment divine.
I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl, that night.
She is perfect, and was so from the moment she was born.
I will never forget those moments of indescribable togetherness and comfort.
Was there a divine presence in the room? I’ll never know.
It is the most fascinating process, it truly is. Especially considering the memories, as they come up, are attached to a physical feeling within my body and a recognition of the vibration of that particular feeling. (Eg- shame, guilt etc.)
For those of you who are relatively new here, thinking: what on earth is she on about, I should probably explain. I experienced quite a drastic life change a couple of years ago which I call, and many call, a spiritual awakening. After this time, my nervous system returned to the super-sensitive energy system of my youth and has since been dragging me through a healing journey of sorts— a journey that is slowly bringing to the surface the buried wounds of the highly sensitive girl I once was.
The emotions that came up with the memory today were guilt and shame. My goodness. All the bellyaching. And interestingly, the recognition of these particular vibrations was a surprise for me, momentarily, because I had completely forgotten that guilt and shame were a part of this particular experience. Obviously, I’d done an excellent job of burying them.
Let me go through the memory that came up.
I was around nineteen, I’d say, and still living at home. I’d never had a large group of friends, always opting for my own company and the company of my precious keyboard (and my C.D’S and my Nintendo 64.) I was working with my Dad at the time of the memory and, one day, full of excitement, he pulled out a gift for me. A very expensive one. A game of laser tag— a game that would require a large group of friends to go along with me. Friends I did have, If I counted them all, but…I didn’t want to.
I could not do this.
‘Why?’ my Dad asked.
‘Because I don’t have enough friends,’ I said, petrified.
Shame-ridden because anxiety was the real reason.
Guilt-ridden that my Dad had done this beautiful thing for me, and yet there was absolutely no way I could even think about doing it. My mind, my everything, was frozen.
Anxiety wasn’t a new thing for me. It had stopped me from taking part in the year eleven ball a couple of years before because I just wanted to watch my friends do it. That was nonsense, of course. I was a dreamer, an all the way through romantic. I longed to take part in the ball. The real reason was that I was terrified. Surely no boy would want to go with me…and the rules were that the girls had to do the asking.
Nope. Not me. What if they said no?
Or worse…what if they laughed at me. And then said no.
I still struggle with my sensitivities, I won’t lie, but now I am able to appreciate them, too. I’m often able to harness the most beautiful depth and power by bringing them to life and asking them to shine, instead of just having them break me like they sometimes choose to do. So there’s that lovely thing. For example, without them, this blog would have died about two years ago. And where would I be without you lot, hey? 🙂
The thing is, though, these ‘superpowers’ have done quite a bit of damage to me in the past, and now is absolutely the time to take care of that poor little muffin child I was. My goodness, I ache for her.
But the great news is, in this moment, she is safe and well.
‘Sun?’ said Moon, as she wandered along the path of cloud that lead to their shared home in the sky.
‘Of everything. Of nothing, of…oh, I don’t know. I’m just afraid.’
Sun stopped abruptly on the path and turned to take Moon’s hands in his own.
‘It’s okay to be afraid, Moon, but there is no need to be. Fear can only survive in darkness, and you are made of far too much light to feed it what it needs. Have faith. Your fear will be gone before too long.’
Moon didn’t quite understand what Sun meant. But she loved him and respected his wisdom. So she took a deep breath and focused on the shine he told her was the key.
And though the fear returned occasionally, it did not have a home within her. It only had visiting rights.