Talking to a friend about poetry and catharsis this morning reminded me of this. When I was in hospital awaiting Ana's arrival the other waiting mothers and I were treated to a hideous symphony from above; a woman in the upstairs ward going through labour. It scared us all to death. It was everyone's first time and though we all feared the worst, none of us had ever heard it before.
There was this midwife who I didn't like much. She was bossy and rude and extremely insensitive. And she came round that morning and told us the most profound thing I had ever heard concerning childbirth. She said the noise a woman makes when she is giving birth is not related to the pain the way you might expect; it is not the pain that forces a woman to cry out. Rather it is the cry that keeps one going through the pain. It is a tool. And sometimes it might sound even louder than the pain. And that is partly the point.
A few hours later I would find out what she meant. The pain of birthing is not the pain of an accident. It is the pain of finishing. And the pain of becoming. Beholding. Everything new. Ouch.