My beautiful friend recently gave birth. And while every birth story is remarkable, what a freaking time to come into the world!
It reminds me a little bit of when my third child was born and my family was walking through some version of hell. My mom was sick and it was terminal and life had this loud ticking clock over it. One day after one of the million appointments, my Gramma and I were sitting on the couch and she squeezed my hand in gratitude. “This baby is a touchstone of hope for us,” she said.
And when my son was born, we didn’t hear the clock at all. We were just a family doing what families do. We were just people trying to love each other through big and little hard things, ushering in the new life that made his way through the dark to get to us with hope-filled light. We were just folding laundry and doing dishes and trying to drink enough water.
We held him and stared at him and thanked him for coming. Over and over and over.
And his life just gets fuller. He is still a touchstone to hope and beauty and a space outside of time.
That’s what babies are anyway, but babies born now? Babies born while the seams of the world seem to be tearing wide open? When our foundations are shaking and we aren’t sure yet how we’re going to get through? Oh bless you, babies; and bless you, Mamas who bring them!
Babies born now will be held and loved and they’ll bring their parents and communities the sort of profound joy and hope that only comes when you need it so bad. And it’ll mark them like it’s marked my son to whom I am convinced some angel whispered in his ear before he got here, “You’ve got a special job, kid, get the hell out,” before giving him a kiss and a shove into the chaos that was our life. Because it is so in his nature to do this without trying – his smile takes up space (even when he’s up to mischief) and hustles the hell right out.
So if you or anyone you know is giving birth right now, thank you.
And to some degree, this should apply to all the births. The birth of new family dynamics, of better routines that include more rest, of ways we’re learning to cope with the new normal instead of just surviving it, of creativity or grace or humor we didn’t know we had.
So what about you? Anything new as a result of this time that you’re happy about? Or are you becoming more aware of what good was already there but unnoticed? Or realizing what you want to change? It all counts. If you’re giving birth to anything good and beautiful right now, thank you. Consider this a hand-squeeze for the hope you’re bringing.
And if you feel like you’re not bringing anything, let me assure you that you are. Before any birth comes a long ass time of feeling like shit and growing something deep where no one sees. It counts.
Another thing about my son: he’s not defined by what he came into. He is a whole person – unique and funny and full of his own ideas. His entrance into the world is just a part of the big wide story he’s already writing. When he came is just the punctuation.
We all need to remember that there is life after this; that the babies born today might not even remember what is so big and scary to us now. That they will live full lives impressed, but not ruined by the crises around them. They are not watching statistics and headlines, but only what is in focus for them now: just her face, eyes smiling, bent in adoration.
They’re bringing Heaven with them so there’s a bit less room for hell.
Welcome to the world, S+C, and all of you brave little babies born to courageous warrior mamas! We are so glad you’re here.