Lili runs into the garden again and the way she moves transforms what I see. She is one with the wind and the late afternoon sun. She picks up a stick and she is calling ‘Wafa’, she looks for our cat. The sun is hot. Tomato plants wither against their stakes, tonight when it cools we will stand on the grass together and fill the garden beds with water.
The fruit trees tower over her as if already fully grown, she searches for her cat and the garden is a jungle. The fences are tall and this is her own private world. She moves with confidence.
I sit inside and I watch her and my womb is contracting. The pressure is down low, it feels deep in the earth. It tightens, tightens and I feel ready. But there are weeks to go, these are just the first signals, this deepness in me is communicating Beyond the confines of my skin and when the time is ripe the baby will come.
The house which just a few days ago was so neatly organised and clean has erupted into disarray, there are dirty dishes and piles of washing and I only dress if I really have to. My stomach is round and my breasts are low. My movements are slow and laboured. The pain in my lower back suddenly rings sharp and renders my legs useless. But all this is familiar now, I don’t resist it anymore.
I am resting. Waiting.
Sometimes I let myself be drawn out from this powerful energy, this other worldliness of late pregnancy. I am called into fear and into planning.
they will want to induce me, what am I going to do? Is there the possibility of refusing? What is safe?
The energy doesn’t want to emerge into cold sterile lights and the smell of disinfectant, the energy wants to stay home in this house that sees few people. This house with its fences and its garden and its layers of homeness. The energy is building and I want to abide with it. The energy fills a bath in the living room, it makes the lights low, it moves into the deep, it sways in the places where pain is not pain. And I am the energy and the energy is me.
I remember, last time, in early labour I climbed into the shower. Just to check it was true, if it was the real thing. And as the water ran and the steam rose it seemed as if I crossed over into the back of time. Water, steam, rhythm and sweet beautiful contractions. I could have stayed there forever.
Lili moves in the garden and I move in preparation.
I don’t want to surrender to my body being tricked. I long for the waves that flow from the deep, not a drip, not a synthetic mimicry.
I wonder why I am feeling these signals so early….
I have a glimmer of hope that maybe I got my dates wrong, maybe this baby is not too big, maybe I will go into labour naturally on my own before they set me a time on the calendar and call me in.
I am feeling the language of Maryam when she laboured by the date palm, alone.
I also hear their voices. I am too old….my BMI, the fluid, macrosomia, diabetes.
But the deep tells me to move into the dark and these weeks now I am dimming the lights.
Now Lili comes inside and makes herself a cocoon in her blanket. She is talking to herself softly, she is several characters at once.
What’s the day today? one. two. three
Outside the foliage is enraptured, leaves like skin when touch calls it to ecstasy. I want to go into the garden and birth with the trees.
Lili is feeding her cat, she sings to her as she pulls the lid off the can. Wafa curls around her legs with love and affection.
I suspect I will be taken by the fingers and led through the lights and the lines. Step by step through the concepts of safety.
I should be grateful. grateful.
But there is a whole chorus; plants, bugs, bee’s and birds, a cat and a small child at one with the wind, they tell me not to forget what my body knows and what the back of time taught me,
we women we know how to birth.