Sunday, January 02, 2005

There's no way to write it down

What was the pain like ?

Since it began I have been trying to describe it; to myself, my family, those who had early drugs and missed it, those who have yet to feel it. I can't liken it to anything else earthly.

It is some force that possess your body. It causes your voice to change. It takes you away from your mind so that you can tell what's going on but as a different person. Or perhaps you are more yourself than ever before. I felt myself basic, at the beginning of human-ness. Down at the root of woman. A frightening and wonderful state.

Pushing down I squeezed my lungs out so hard that now, a month later, my chest still hurts to breathe. I could not see but I felt her shooting out. In the moment where my mind came back I imagined her flying across the room two or three metres and all the midwives behind me jostling to catch her like bridesmaids for the bouquet.

The surgeon looked apologetic as he told me about the extent of the tearing. He thought I should have been cut. But I thought it was perfect; the marathonsprint of labour; the whole body experience; the fright; the cowardice; the pleading to anyone for an ending; the calling of my soul. I have been somewhere else. Or perhaps I have been to earth for the first time.

I had nightmares and nightsweats afterwards. I woke up delirious in the hospital. This is what the pain is like: it is fearsome and terrible and I may never want to do it again.

And it was my best moment.

It cannot be tainted by my failures, previous or subsequent. I cried and hurt. I wanted out as soon as I was in. I pushed too fast, too hard. I ripped my body. But we got what we came for, me and the pain. We punched each other black and blue. We died together. And we got the prize.