Suddenly everything seems to be about birth. January 6th is the Feast of Epiphany, a public holiday in Poland, marking the arrival of the three kings in Bethlehem bearing gifts for Jesus. There are special rituals to mark the day: small boxes containing chalk, a gold ring, incense and a piece of amber are taken to church to be blessed. Back home the chalk is used used to inscribe “K+M+B+ 17″ above every door to provide protection against illness and misfortune in the year ahead. That is one ritual I should have followed, in case anything can protect this Australian against Polish illnesses. My last Epiphany in Poland was in 2012, just after the birth of the twins.

Last weekend I went to hear Chopin in part of the kitchens of the Royal Castle  which is now a photographic gallery. As I sipped my interval glass of mead, I walked around the photos on the wall. They traced the whole process of birth in black and white and intimate detail, showing me clearly for the first time what birthing looks like, despite having given birth to four children.

Woken by my coughing in the early hours of the morning, I began to read Best Australian Essays, 2016. The third one was called Vagina, by Tegan Bennett Daylight, and I approached it with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect. It was an account of two birthings and their aftermaths, recounting complications that are generally unmentioned and suffered alone, written neatly, precisely and evocatively, without prurience or punch-pulling. The author shows the power of sharing the unmentionable (such as what she christens the Squawking Vagina, an embarrassing noise “between a fart and a belch” let loose in some yoga positions): often someone has a matter-of-fact solution when the doctors have no idea.

Also on January 6th, my great-niece, Hannah Katherine, was born, a fifth grandchild for my younger sister who didn’t live to see any of her grandchildren. A great loss for her, her daughters, and their children.

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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10 Responses to Birthing

  1. Heyjude says:

    You do have some interesting books by your bed! One of my children referred to a fart as a “bottom cough” which sounds much more acceptable 🙂 And the best birth I have experienced was that of my second granddaughter when I was invited to be a birthing partner. All the joy with none of the pain (well, except for the grip on my already tender shoulder).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue says:

    Beautiful image, Meg! And as Jude has said, you do have some interesting books!!


  3. freebutfun says:

    awww, congrats to great aunt!


  4. Tish Farrell says:

    What a very lovely baby. And a v interesting piece all in all, Meg.


  5. Rosemary Barnard says:

    I know that you will be a very loving and loved great aunt to these little ones Meg. As for me, I felt that my heart would burst in love for my great nieces, and in its return, during my Tasmanian hoiiday. I was greeted at the front door with four sets of arms around me, and so it was every day.


  6. restlessjo says:

    Another reason to look forward to your return to Australia! 🙂 🙂 (I’m presuming you’ll be close enough to visit? I forget the logistics aspect 🙂 ) Tell me- what is the significance of K+M+B+17? Or perhaps it’ll tell me in the 2012 post? Doesn’t sound like you’re too much healthier! I’m just about over the heavy cold Mick inflicted on me just as we came over here, in time to go back to intemperate UK! Says she, reclining on the settee and waiting for the sun to acquire sufficient height that I can have breakfast on the patio. 🙂 🙂 It’s been a busy but very happy holiday. 2 days to go. I am in debt by a sackful of hugs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Ahh Meg I’m sure you’ll be a lovely great aunt to this gorgeous baba, but these happy times do highlight loss.
    An alternative word for a fart is a bottom burp, and a squawking vagina emits a fanny fart! Of course when I used to go to yoga classe,s such things never happened to me! 🙂


  8. Dina says:

    Congratulations!! ❤


  9. funnymentalist61 says:

    A wonderful tale of an interesting event. Thanks.


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