The pushing is a relief.
There is comfort in the necessary focus and effort.
Some false idea of control won back
After the arduous task that came before.
No, it’s the softening and opening that is the real work
The physical component of what happens emotionally later.
The coming forward, the inner dance around the bones.
The thing to do is allow it.
Any attempt to shield yourself from your own opening,
To get away from yourself, wrestle your body into
Is not only futile but marks the difference between pain
Labor reduces mothers to their animal.
The waves inside her require noises she’s never made.
The mother curls her body in on itself, finds some
And bears her child through a ring of fire.
She will gradually lower every defense, including
Her own self-degradation.
Every mother is astonished the moment she finds milk
Dripping from her breasts,
Having always assumed her own insufficiency.
When her fresh swollen babe, still covered in vernix,
Bobs on and off in frustration
The mother immediately reaches for low supply, inverted nipples,
Any vague inadequacy will do.
She believes herself an undetected imposter soon to be
And she will be.
The babies are fed, one way or another, they grow
Despite the blundering, blubbering, bleary eyed
Blabbering about deprivations.
We are exposed eventually as capable
And are always opened in the end.