Sunday, May 16, 2010

Writing Contest: Honorable Mention #2

Another essay that I, and several other judges, liked was "Patience" by Natasha. One of the judges wrote: "Well-written. I liked this one for the same reason that I didn’t need to be told how she transformed, I got to witness it."

More about Natasha:

I'm a 32 year old working mum from Gibraltar living in England with my husband Keith, our son Alfie, and our two dogs. We lead quite an unremarkable existence; I work in IT and my husband is a stay-at-home-dad whose primary focus right now is to bake the perfect bread and finish planting our vegetables for the year.

My son was born by C-Section after a failed induction last November, which at the time shattered every hope and dream I had for the way in which I wanted to become a mother. In its way though, it was something of a blessing because it has given me the desire to keep active in promoting birth as a natural life event rather than a medical emergency. As a result I have become very involved in the work of the National Childbirth Trust and also a member of my local maternity services liaison committee. I have found a lot of comfort in writing my blog The Maybe Diaries as well as following the blogs of the many other like-minded women out there who are trying to reclaim birth. I hope I can continue to add my voice to those others in the right places and at the right times to make a difference.



Of all the virtues I have always struggled hardest with patience. My enthusiasm for life and hunger to experience everything in it has always made it hard for me to embrace the art of doing nothing. I suppose then it was only right that my son should teach me what beauty there is in the quiet of waiting.

We waited over a year for him to join us, and it was a long year, full of bitter disappointment and hope dashed, and rebuilt and dashed again. We sought help in all the usual places, and then in unusual places, and still he made us wait. It wasn’t until we did what many couples eventually do and stopped trying that we gave him the space to come into our lives, our tiny little alien baby so determined not to be seen by some nosy sonographer.

Each milestone came with the same frustrations for me, taking their own sweet time, as these things will. The first kick, the first hiccough, each moment another leap towards meeting my child for the first time rather than an experience in of itself.

The biggest challenge of all though was the countdown to the birth, which was planned to absolute precision. I grew heavier and wearier as my due date drew near and the sense of expectation became almost tangible.

When I sailed through my due date, nobody was surprised, least of all me, and as with his conception, it was in the last moments of his gestation that my son taught me most about what it is to savour each experience for what it brings.

Each day we ventured deeper into the strange land of Overdue, full of monsters called Placental Failure and demons called Induction and each day he spoke to me through two small pads attached to my tummy and said “I’m OK mum, hang on in there, we’ll be OK.”

It was so very strange that right when the doctors and midwives around me were becoming increasingly scared for our safety, my son finally showed me the beauty of doing nothing. I spoke to other women, both women who had been through overdue pregnancies and midwives not bound by the chains of our health service and they gave me courage, and helped me celebrate the wisdom of the human body.

It wasn’t until we hit 43 weeks that we eventually caved to the pressure of an induction and it will always stand as the biggest mistake I could have made. I laboured their false labour for three long days, not allowed to eat or drink for fear I might need to have my son cut out of me. My body wasn’t ready yet, my son wasn’t ready yet, and so we struggled on, through the storm of augmented contractions, until we were both exhausted. The time for patience was gone and all that was left was for my boy to be cut from me under the glare of the operating room lights.

He was cross at his birth, so very cross, and I was deeply and desperately sad. We had known, he and I, that we weren’t ready to be parted and yet here we were, separated for the first time and it had been someone else’s doing.

We looked at each other for those first few days and it was like looking into a soul you know as well as your own. A beautiful old, wise soul both entirely his own and yet still a part of you and we knew, we could have done things our way if we had been given the chance to exercise patience.

I still have those moments with him even now, some 16 weeks later. We look at each other and know, in the quiet moments of the day when there is nobody else around that each of those moments is precious, and not to be used as a stepping stone to the next, but to be enjoyed entirely in of itself.

I don’t look at the updates I get from baby websites telling me what my son is doing “this week” and what I can expect. I can’t remember the last time we had him weighed, or when I judged him against his peers because I know, in a million tiny ways each day that whatever he does and however he does it is worth waiting for.


  1. I really enjoyed reading all the contest winners, they were all lovely.

    Thanks Rixa!


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