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

Of motherhood-

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

And suffering.

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

Inner fulcrum,

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.