Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Holy Births and Howling Babies

As a mom labored down the hall tonight, I quietly opened up Varney’s Midwifery. For the first time ever, I noticed the poem that discreetly lies at the very beginning of the text. It resonated with me. So very much.

Holy Births and Howling Babies

In my backyard there are nuns who live in a shaded brick building
next to the St. Stanislaus church and elementary school.

Together we rise before the sun is in the sky.
Behind the kitchen curtain, in the damp haze of morning,
I watch them walk in shades of blue robe.
They glide in white sneakers across the parking lot.
They are cool, calm, brisk.

Some day, I’ll go see them
I’ll ask for some lesson on prayer.
Because the thing is…I pray now.
Not Dear God Almighty!
Just low, easy, quiet thoughts.

I pray when my patience is worn.
When my shoulders ache.
When my own voice becomes tiring to my ears.

I pray when my heart sits heavy with stories and faces of women.
A prayer for the 32 week babe.
A prayer for the lady with the skinny, squawking twins.
A prayer for the woman without a mother, or a lover, or a friend.
I pray when my cold hands run across a pregnant belly
and I feel a kick from inside.

I pray for all my babies, Be good to your mama.
I pray for all my mothers, Be strong, be good to this baby.
I pray secretly and I pray slowly.

I pray for us, the midwives and almost-midwives.
I pray that we make the right decisions.
And I pray for those of us who make bad decisions.
Decisions we regret with outcomes we can’t change.

I pray that we learn from our mistakes.
That with age comes wisdom.
I pray deeply and I pray completely.
For all of the hands and all of the bellies.
I pray for holy births and howling babies.

By Dana Quealy, CNM, MSN