Birthmother’s Psalm

The Psalm of the Birth Mother

dedicated to B & L
and all the other courageous souls
Deborah Beach Giordano
© February 9, 2011

In the sterile silence
a nurse puts on a plastic smile
as she dons latex gloves and then a mask
as though I’m radioactive waste.

Four centimeters
It will be a little longer, honey;
now you keep on doing that breathing
and everything will be all right.

Breathing in that special way
just as I’ve been taught:
focus on your breath, not your body:
and that’s supposed to help

lips forming an O
as if in mild surprise
I lay here
whistling in the dark.

A couple paces the hall,
sentries clad in hospital gowns
watching for signs
of life;

gazing at her belly
projecting their fears
and fantasies
upon what lies beneath

taking each step
with the utmost care
as if she might suddenly explode
like a giant, pink-hued dandelion

sending seedlings
off into the great beyond
and fill the world
with weeds.

Return, I must return,
to the rhythmic, steady puffing:
~ a steam ship sailing
over a sea of contractions…

floating atop it all
feeling no discomfort
only the joy of impending birth.
Bullship… it hurts like hell.

Hours pass
the new day comes
and with it
change of shift.

A whispered consultation
over-shoulder glances
and softly knowing sighs:
She’s here all by herself.

It isn’t true
that there’s no father
this is hardly
a virgin birth.

Instead of laughter
I am awash in tears;
this is harder,
much harder than I thought.

A face wreathed in sympathy
looks down at me
here in my cradle of suffering;
an angel in surgical scrubs

I grasp the cool dark hand
that reaches through the pain
and lifts me up
restoring me to myself.

It’s hard work that you’re doing,
said my earthbound seraph,
and looking at your chart,
I see harder days ahead.

I know because I’ve done it, too,
the voice came to me from far away;
to give life and let it go
with a blessing.

Things may not turn out as you plan –
for there are no guarantees –
but love and faith and courage
will help to see it through.

And at that instant
there was a sudden flash
of pain, regret, hope and desire,
of pride, and fear, and joy…

I saw the grandeur and goodness
of Creation
and my small
and very beautiful part within it.

And unto this world
a child was given;
let all God’s people
shout Hallelujah!


About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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