Light from the Shadows…

November 24, 2007

Guest Blogger: my dear friend Kelly

I’ve been tortured for quite some time now by my dear friend Kelly. Ever so often she will send me something she’s written or I get an incredibly witty e-mail from her. I’ve begged and pleaded for her to start a blog but this isn’t the time. I do however, have faith that all blogs are destined to be born at the just the right moment. I promise the universe will be shining on us with Kelly’s.

Kelly and I share a love for birth and kindness work. She is a true sister….When we aren’t dreaming up books to write together, or when Kell isn’t shrinking me, we can be found in my living room trying to protect Caleb (kelly’s sweet boy) from being sprayed by Lucy and her water bottle.

(this piece is followed by a beautiful home birth photo)

Light from the Shadows

For almost a year now, I’ve had pictures of Caleb’s birth quietly stored on my computer. I’ve never printed them and I’ve never done anything with the ones that inexplicably turned out black. Every once in a while I scroll through them. And sweat. Just looking at them makes it feel like it’s about 500 degrees in our house. Uh-huh, my labor was a wee bit intense.

The black ones have always haunted me.

“Nothing can be done with them,” Jay said to me. “Why are you keeping them?” I could never explain why. I just wanted them.

My labor was pretty fast and our doula, who was taking the pictures, sometimes had other things to do at the birth (imagine). Like trying to help me stop hyperventilating (yeah, I was a little scared when what felt like a 42” television was coming out of my cooter).

The one time I cussed during the whole labor was during the darkest hour—on hands-and-knees on our bedroom floor, 10 cm. dilated, my midwife behind me, a maelstrom of energy bringing my baby down, and me descending into a bizarre, condensed reliving of all the desperate feelings of my lonely, messed up girlhood—and our doula and Jay were futzing around with the camera trying to figure out why it had spontaneously started taking black pictures. “Put. The. Fucking. Camera. Down.”

In the last eleven-and-a-half months, I have often looked at those black pictures, squinting, tilting my head. “Is that? My? Ass?” I was engaged in this very exercise the other day when it occurred to me to use my photo editor to brighten the photos.

Now People. Why it took almost a year to have this bright idea (no pun intended) is quite clear: I, who was once an intelligent and relatively competent human being was, upon the conception of my son, struck with a tragic condition called Motherhood-Induced Mental Retardation. So please be kind.

Retardation notwithstanding, perhaps it was the brilliant universe, and her impeccable sense of timing, that kept those pictures enshrouded until a day that just might have been the most gorgeous day in the history of the world—stunning autumn smiling, her leaves impossibly beautiful in afternoon sun that was almost singing it was so happy—a day so generous, how could anything stay hidden?

I could barely breathe as I watched each photo become what it always was. “Dar a Luz,” I said under my breath, as one picture’s dark veil slowly lifted. It’s Spanish for “Childbirth,” and means, literally, “Give to Light.” It was a picture of that darkest hour. Given, finally, to light.



5 Responses to “Light from the Shadows…”

  1. Tina Says:

    The post and the photo is so powerful! The intensity comes through.

  2. Synge Says:

    i have goose bumps. beautiful!

  3. kelly Says:

    thanks for your kind words, and thank you, pache, for encouraging me to guest blog–it was the first piece of writing i have actually finished since the baby was born and i know it wouldn’t have happened w/ out you. yay!

  4. Angela Says:

    Wow! I just stumbled upon this blog through Craft magazine. This is the first post I read. Amazing.

  5. […] hallefreakinlujah… I was patient, even though I was tortured. I reminded myself that all blogs are born at exactly the right moment. Remember? […]

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