There are moments in all our lives from which we cannot go back, moments that leave us forever changed or transformed, points of metamorphosis that we can rail against or embrace.
Pregnancy is one of these thresholds; birth is a doorway through which no woman emerges unchanged. Birth tears her apart, flings her to pieces, and leaves her to put herself back together -- sometimes stronger and ferociously powerful, filled with joy and affirmation and hope; sometimes fragile, with pieces so loosely tacked into place a single doubt or uncertainty is all it takes to shatter her again.
Birth is an eviscerating spiritual experience, the closest you ever come to seeing and being your true self, leaving your heart on the outside forever. It is a lifting of a veil, and looking into the void. Birth is transformative. No woman passes through the doorway unaltered.
What we hope for in passage is the deep, primal joy of birth -- that intense and incredible high of growing a person, a little soul, a thread in the tapestry of history that will go on when our own has stopped; that love, oh that amazing falling in love, that is never the same as with your new child; of understanding what it means to have parts of our heart and soul walking around in the world and creating their own joy; of bringing into being a new person who will reciprocate our affection. Of bringing an idea, a possibility, into reality. Of embracing ourselves and our new role as teacher, provider, protector, sanctuary.
There is a humbling vulnerability in giving birth, of feelings raw and exposed being honed contraction by contraction into a pinpoint of focus that culminates in a shattering giving forth of Self.