The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, May 28, 2007



Two years ago I had the privilege of participating in my nephew’s birth. When I arrived I waited behind the curtain until my sister’s contraction peaked and then went in to say hello.

“You’re a liar and I hate you,” she said weakly.

While it was probably best that she didn’t witness my first two deliveries, watching me sneeze out my third probably wasn’t the best preparation for this day. By then, I had wised up, got the epidural and it was a significantly more graceful process. I napped. I read. I glanced over at the monitor when I felt my e-fucking-normous stomach tighten.

“Whoo – that was a doozy!” Back then my sister rubbed my feet and fought with my husband for the cozier recliner.

I tried to explain the difference now, but she wasn’t buying it. I gently suggested that she get the drugs. There’s no shame in getting relief; no extra credit for suffering needlessly.

Of course, it was useless.

In this Seattle birth center, we had a doula; a Tai Chi master/labyrinth facilitator; impending grandma; two expecting parent biologists; and me.

There would be no drugs today.

I’d never been present for the birth of a baby, outside of my own three. I’ve been the big, sweaty, groaning mess who couldn’t remember how to breathe. Playing a supporting role was a relief. Holding my sister’s hand, lifting her knee, offering words of support and encouragement came easily.

I knew my brother-in-law wanted to be down at the business end where I was, to watch his son’s head crown, but my sister had him in a headlock as her contractions heated up. She wasn’t letting me relinquish my post either, with her knee and hand.

When Oliver Salish emerged, and feeling returned to my hand, his new grandma and I shared the most biologically bizarre sensation: the unmistakable tingle and ache of letdown. We were both very physically and emotionally immersed in his birth, so this must have been nature’s way of making sure the wee one eats.

Nice to know you can be useful.

By Mary Allison Tierney


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