Saturday, December 19, 2009


Giving birth for the first time is life-changing. I was reminded of this, once again, a few moments ago as I was reading through my maternal grandmother's life history. A couple of years ago I started typing her hand-written life story so it could be compiled with other family histories in a book for our families and future generations. Tonight I was thinking about her, feeling a need to refresh my memories of her past, and began reading the portions of her story I had previously typed. Then I came upon the section where she describes her feelings after giving birth for the first time. She says:
[T]here is absolutely nothing like that first-born baby. For me, that first birth, of our daughter Judy, represented a sort of “rebirth” for me, not withstanding my having assisted at a number of births in my nursing profession. I had this peculiar “psyche” that I couldn’t really actually give birth to a baby--I felt that I was a sort of unreal bystander or spectator in this big game of life, so when I did really actually give birth to a baby, I was brought to realize that I was first as real and able a player in this game of life as anyone else. When her daddy came into the room following her birth, I exclaimed “We did it!” (We have a baby).
I do not know the details of her birth experience. My mother was born in 1947, so it was during the horrific "twilight sleep" era, but I get the sense that my grandmother was aware during the birth process because of the way it changed her from feeling like a spectator to feeling like a "real and able player." I wish she were still alive so I could ask her. And I wish every woman's first time could be a beautiful, joyful memory and (re)birth just as my grandmother's was.


Heatherlady said...

Really beautiful. I think you look like her. In the eyes... and possibly the smile.

OrganicMama said...

Very sweet. I know what you mean about wishing you could ask questions. My gram and mom are both gone and there are so many times I wish I could ask them about things like this.
It's wonderful that you have a diary!

Sarah H said...

How wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing!