I don’t favor magical thinking or magical explanations. I’m a rationalist. But I would like to magically think in this post. This is how I think poetically about childbirth. This feels a bit like it has the voice of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to it (or I like to fancy such!) but it’s something I’ve had scribbled in a file for a while now. It also has some Dante influences.
Motherhood and The Voyage Across
When children are conceived, the father gives half of his body and the mother half of hers. When those germs meet inside the mother, a body begins to grow.
She loves the body inside for nine months, she nourishes the body with her blood, she gives it her food, she gives it her water; but it does not have a soul yet. She gathers the soul for the body on the day the child is born.
On that day, the body inside will quest for the light, but the mother, she must quest across the sea of Death.
Labor is pure pain and focuses the mother on her single task. The pain is stern and hard to convince her soul to release itself from her own body. Life requires mingling with Death and challenging Death is always done by souls, never by bodies. Her soul must swim across a river claimed by Death to the Heavenly Realm where souls waiting to be born wait for their mothers. Her soul ties a spiritual tether to her body and then, pried from the body by her pain, it swims a black, dark sea.
Having crossed the sea she emerges on a golden beach, a land of bliss where she feels the glowing light of Life itself. She whispers the secret names her heart has for the body inside of her. The soul who knows that call comes to her, an infant’s soul, a soul that has heard the voice it will call “mother.”
It asks her to take it to its body and to give it to know the sun, the rain, and the steady resistance of land. She kisses it and puts it atop her shoulders.
And the harshest challenge waits, she must return back across Death’s sea, but as the she approaches the shore of our world the soul atop her shoulder grows heavy, for our world means mass. And as she gets closer to her pain-wracked body, her own soul recoils from it, wishing to slide silently with the bliss upon her shoulders.
Many times the mother’s soul can not keep above water and she and the new soul sink together beneath Death’s sea. Where they go thence we know not and we mourn.
Her head bobs beneath the surface. But she kicks. Her lungs burn for air. But she strokes. The soul writhes and whimpers with fear. But she quests back to her body, guided by her tether.
She returns to her body, her new body, reborn, baptized by the pain and the voyage across Death’s sea. As one last act her soul ties the body to hers by a cord, to remember how it guided them from the sea of Death back to our world of Sun. She submits to the pain for the last push and she blesses the child-soul and the child-body.
The child-soul catches the child-body and the child turns around. The pain has done its work, the mother has done her work, and, at last, the light is ready for the child. The child quests for the light, exits the mother’s body, and is born.
And that is the story of how mothers give children their souls and their lives: they quest across the realm of Death to find their baby’s soul and bring it back to the body growing inside of them. Both remember this voyage forever and when the body of the child exits the body of the mother, the bodies have a physical tether to remind them of this voyage. And while this tether is cut shortly after the child enters the world of the sun, the tether between the mother’s and the child’s souls will last beyond the days when their souls return to Death’s sea again in the sunless realm.