An image appears in art, over and over, of a human down a deep narrow well: trapped. What’s at the bottom? What’s at the top?

17 years ago, I had a prolonged labor with my first daughter, where, hours into it, I knew I was descending headfirst down a stone-lined chasm. In all that darkness, I saw only my outstretched hand, reaching down. At the bottom, I knew with a certainty, as clear as I have ever known anything, lay my death.

I never reached the end of that chasm that night. Instead, I met my daughter, born via emergency caesarian. When I saw her tiny, wrinkled body for the first time, held up for me in the surgeon’s bloodied gloves, her eyes were wide open, and I thought with a fierceness I have never relinquished, She’s mine.

These few lines are but a piece of her traverse into this earthly world, and my soulful journey to meeting her is as real as the glinting scalpel in the surgeon’s hand that released her from my body. So, as fiction writer, when I write of rock-lined tunnels or starless nights, I’m not fabricating stories from nothingness. The interior roads we take may be unseen to the eye but are just as vital, just as humming with mysterious life, as a newborn’s eyes.

…(my mother) was
bearing down, and then breathing from the mask, and then
bearing down, pressing me out into
the world that was not enough for her without me in it,
not the moon, the sun, Orion
cartwheeling across the dark, not
the earth, the sea--none of it
was enough, for her, without me.

–– Sharon Olds

Montpelier, Vermont

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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One Response to Birth

  1. heididorr says:

    Happy birthday to you both. xo


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