Coronation Day


December 11, 2014 by rebelwithalabelmaker

Help us to be the always hopeful gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, 
As without light nothing flowers.
-May Sarton

Without darkness, nothing comes to birth.

Sounds tidy, doesn’t it?  Are you picturing Mary looking down at baby Jesus right now?

That’s not what “birth” means.  I didn’t get that when I tried to, you know, do it.  I mean, I went to the classes, but I didn’t really pay attention because  a) I figured how hard can it be if everyone’s done it, and b) paying attention in class is not my strong suit

I do remember one piece of advice.  It didn’t come from class, it came from another mom:

There is this part that the doctors call “crowning” because your nether regions are stretched in a kind of crown around the baby’s head.  From our perspective, a better name for this moment would be… I don’t know, ring of fire.  Or AAAHHHHH I CHANGED MY MIND PUT IT BACK!!!!  It is the moment of truth.  Maybe it’s a coronation of kinds, but mostly it is just the worst thing that has ever happened to you and that is when you will realize that you forgot to account for physics and that there is no way this is going to happen.  You will change your mind, and decide that they should put the baby back.  When that happens, picture my face.  I am not telling you it is possible—I believe you that it is too much.  But you have to do it anyway.  So push like hell.

She was DEAD ON.  That is exactly what happened.  She was also right about this next part:

Then, just at the absolute worst part, the doctor will say in this chirpy and bedside-manner-ey voice “now, we’re all just going to pause for a minute and just let things stretch” and you will think you have got. to. be. fucking. kidding. me..  Seriously, this is what they do.  When there is actually a HEAD sitting in your VAGINA (and it will feel exactly like you would think that would feel) the doctor will tell you to just take a minute and HANG OUT FOR A BIT.  With a HEAD in your VAGINA.  Blood, screaming, push, and…

… pause.  

That’s how it’s done.  There’s no other way.

The blood spattered pause.  The moment when you are up to your neck in it and there’s no going back, but suddenly you stop.  In life, it is too easy to mistake this moment for cowardice.  You can’t quite finish coming out of the closet, or you can’t leave the job with the horrible boss even though you’ve set everything up, or you can’t quite speak all the truth to power you were hoping to, and you suddenly become… frozen.

It is not cowardice.  You were not mistaken.  You are not too tired, or not adequate to the task.  This is not the beginning of self doubt or failure.

It is just the blood-spattered pause.

It is when your mind and soul are stretching.  When you are becoming more sure, more grounded, more open.  When you are taking a moment to minimize the tearing and to gather your strength.  This is not cowardice, this is wisdom.

It is not a falter in your voice when you pause to listen, inhale, breathe.  Courage is a thing you push out, yes but courage is also a thing you stretch into.  A thing you gather up.

And then you push again.

Because you know deep inside yourself that there is no way that this beautiful, precious, slimey blood-soaked miracle is going to fit tidily back where it was.  Things are different now.  Tearing or no tearing, it’s going to happen.  Change is coming, and the coronation shall proceed.  Pause, be as gentle with yourself and others as you possibly can.  And then push like hell.

3 thoughts on “Coronation Day

  1. Claire says:

    Thank you, Liz. I really needed to read this today.

    (Can I get an epidural for my life, RIGHT NOW?)

    • If anyone offers you a needle that they claim is an epidural for your life, know that a) they’re probably telling you the truth, and b) THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA!! 🙂

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Claire! So glad.

      P.S. And if it’s not enough, try that lamaze breathing crap. I mean, it must be good for something.

  2. […] read right before I fell asleep (no reflection on her, just on the meds), by my friend Liz James: Coronation Day. It provided me with the permission I needed today, the gift of understanding where it is exactly […]

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