Rite of Passage

This week,  I watched my first child give birth to her first child.  To watch the person to whom you gave birth give birth to another person is both the most frightening and incredible experience.

As I watched her progressing through her labor, mostly in silent concentration, I believe a unique bonding took place.  Or at least, I think that’s what her eyes were saying.  I like to think they were saying, “I can’t believe you went through this to have me!”  But maybe they were saying, ‘Why didn’t you tell me this would be this hard?’  or “Is this payback for all the times I called you the meanest Mom in the world?”

That strong-willed child, the one who insisted, “I want to do it my-telf, mommy!”, steeled her will, dug in her heels, and determined to get through childbirth without an epidural.  She impressed the doctor and the labor nurse with her fortitude and strength, despite giving birth to an 8 lb., 11 oz. boy.  “Women have been having babies without epidurals for hundreds of years.”  This was her mantra throughout her pregnancy.

Because her labor nurse was an incredible woman from Zimbabwe, with a strong accent and ‘hands on’ approach, it reminded me of how women around the world have entered into this rite of passage into womanhood for centuries.  It was often a communal experience.  We could have just as easily been in a straw hut or a rural farmhouse.  Instead of computers and fetal monitors, we could have been putting a knife under the bed to ‘cut the pain’ or boiling water in the kitchen.  If it’s all the same to you, I’m glad we were in a well-equipped hospital with trained professionals.

I especially loved watching how her husband loved her and encouraged her through the process, in absolute awe of her strength.  I loved seeing his unbridled tears as his son appeared.  I loved seeing the little footprints that the nurse inked on the backs of his hands, after recording them on paper.  I loved that he allowed us to share in this beautiful experience, and how it has drawn us together even closer as a family.

Now I’m watching in awe, as she’s making the transition from pregnancy to motherhood.  And once again, I’m astounded by her strength and determination.  I’m here to help, but each day she becomes more independent and self-confident.

As a woman should.

We’ve come full circle.  I look forward to sharing the journey with her.

“For you created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb! I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio – permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melody Traub on September 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    So beautifully stated from a very proud mother, and grandmother! I haven’t yet experienced my daughters’ giving birth, but if it does happen in the future I will cherish every moment! I was in the waiting room when my son’s son was born, and Jeromy was very emotional and full of pride at his son’s birth! I was glad I was that close to it all!


  2. Posted by Kim Bucklin on September 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Beautifully said – you made me tear up! It’s so hard to believe how fast time flies; in my mind she still seems like that 14 year-old who helped me with MY babies for the summer! Enjoy being a grandma; my mom says it’s so much more fun than being a mom!


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