Memoir Contest Winner: And a Child was Born by Linda Austin

by Matilda Butler on September 29, 2011

catnav-scrapmoir-active-3Post #122 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Women’s Memoirs continues today with the publication of one of our award-winning contest entries. Linda Austin’s story receives an Honorable Mention – in our Memoir Writing Contest — APRILS PAST, April Birthdays category. Congratulations Linda.

AND A CHILD WAS BORN

by Linda Austin

I was sent home from work for being too pregnant, but I didn’t give birth. Not yet. Even standing in front of the full moon like some goddess of rotund fertility did not pull my first child out. The doctor wanted to induce, but I wanted to wait it out. It would be another week before I woke my husband at midnight to drive me to the hospital after an evening of suspicions. And still the child did not want to come out. Did she, encased in that cradle of mother-warmth, suspect the cold world that awaited her? But it was April, and the ruby lips of tulips were pouting towards the sun, and periwinkle rolled out its blue welcome mat at the door.
 
This was a stubborn child, and I was new at giving birth. I had told the doctor I did not want medication for pain, but at the first serious contraction after the waters broke, I was begging the nurse for an epidural. These were not just some monthly cramps to curl into and escape! But, the drug that dulls the pain leaves the body unable to feel what it is doing. All night long, husband dozing into the corner, I repeatedly awoke to puff-puff-puff — that Lamaze technique the nurse had to remind me to do — and to try to push-push-push without knowing how-how-how. Finally, well after the sun had called out the morning, the doctor took pity on me and vacuumed the child into her new life. I cried with relief as I held a tiny swaddled girl with round dark eyes staring, studying my existence as I studied hers. Then, I fell into the deep, exhausted sleep of a hard labor completed.
 
When I was young, I said I never wanted children, and felt a husband was unnecessary. I expected independence and a career in science. My mother told me never to tell this to anyone. But life surprises us. After seven years of marriage and the freedom to come and go as we pleased, my husband and I approached that crossroad when I as the aging wife had to make the final decision whether to have a child. We were unsure, but I felt it was now or never, and I chose now.
 
Until we have life’s surprise in hand we fear the future, the new event, the unknown, because how can we know? The experience and opinions of others are not ours. We can only extrapolate, and what if that extrapolation is untrue, a fallacy of the mathematical equation? When I was pregnant, I had nightmares relating to my mothering abilities—who would I save if we all fell into the middle of a river? And how silly, because I couldn’t swim in the first place.

memoir, memoir writing contest, memoir contest, memoir winner, journaling, autobiography
 
But, as I held my child with the curious eyes and the poor misshapen head from her prolonged stay in the birth canal, as I smelled the sweet honey of her being, she became the most precious and beautiful creature in the world. I learned, at the age of 31, the ferocious intensity of a mother’s love. The kind of love that can tear the heart out of one’s chest. The kind of love that can melt like caramel in a warm hand. Every snuffle and mewling cry was a call to motherhood that I answered. I could leave the hospital now and go home with a new confidence.
 
And it was April! When all the earth gives birth and the air is fresh with green and new flowers dance in the breeze. And a child was born!
 
memoir, memoir writing contest, memoir contest winner, journaling, autobiography

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Tarantini September 30, 2011 at

Linda!!!! That is one super piece of writing, friend. Well done! Love it:)

Linda Austin September 30, 2011 at

Thank you, Diane. This was definitely a labor of love!

Sherrey October 1, 2011 at

Linda, beautifully written! You share that it was indeed a labor of love. :)

phyllis mattson October 1, 2011 at

wonderful story! Great writing

Linda Austin October 1, 2011 at

Thank you all!

Susan Godwin October 2, 2011 at

This is awesome!

I love how you describe the process of making a decision to have a child. And, once made, it appears she exceeded all expectations!

Thank you, Linda!

Lilith October 2, 2011 at

Lovely. You describe so well that magic moment of meeting your baby’s eyes/soul for the first time.
Thanks for sharing.

smita jagdale October 22, 2011 at

Linda, I love the way you described your labor and delivery experience, way different from what I have seen with my patients and experienced myself. I love the photo of your beautiful child and the proud mamma. I think reading your experience will calm down many primies.
Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category