Do you wonder why I’m talking about stretching out? Do you think my basketball analogy is extreme? (Click here to read that post.) Have you forgotten how extreme childbirth is? It can be easy for the years to subdue the memories, but I’ve been reflecting on childbirth today, because my sister just had a baby yesterday. Even though she is a champion natural childbirther, a physical therapist that understands the body thoroughly, an experienced and organized mother, today she lies in bed unable to get up by herself because of the extreme work of labor.
And this isn’t the first of her discomfort. A few months ago, she had a reaction to some normal food, that caused extreme pain, so intense and severe, that she had a momentary insane thought when she passed a cemetery, and realized almost longingly that the dead are no longer in pain. That’s some pretty intense pain that could cause envy of the dead!
And what was her reward for the last trimester of swollen veins, achy joints, difficulty in breathing, inability to find a comfortable spot to rest? It was hours of laborious effort to bring that precious baby into the world of the breathing. And even then there was more work, as her stretched-to-the-limit body still had to finish its work, and in the process, left her spent, tired, and weak.
And even though the work of labor is finished, there are clamoring kids waiting for Mama to finally get up and cook for them, clean for them, read them stories, cuddle and make their life seem comfortable and normal again. And don’t forget that baby. He waits patiently, for now, but soon will learn to wail, commanding her to draw him to her breast, so that he might consume every life-giving drop that he can eagerly suck from her. And she will give yet again and again from her own reserves of strength and energy in order to take an eight pound baby and turn him into a walking, talking, vibrant toddler, just on the strength of the nourishment the springs from her breast, her heart, her soul.
And someday, he will be a man. She is creating a man. A man, who will someday woo a girl, and she will lovingly come into his arms, and start the cycle over again, as she is stretched to her limits! (Even wonder why women cry at weddings?!)
Sound intense and awful? Not really. Every mother will tell you that it is worth it. Why? Stretching produces joy. There is no joy like the joy a mother feels after the last pangs of labor abandon her, leaving her with the prize of her labor — a sweet-smelling, soft as a sunrise, breath of heaven, baby!
Why is stretching productive? I’m glad you asked! I’ll tell you next time!
Meanwhile, “Welcome to the world, Elijah Michael!” I can’t wait to stretch out my arms to hold this baby, as my heart stretches out to love him!
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