My mother once told me that I didn’t want to be born. Which I thought was a curious thing to come out with. I’ve always assumed that she meant I was a prolonged labour for her. Considering she’d had five children before me I’m guessing that the process of giving birth is supposed to be quicker and more straightforward. But then, I’m Male, so what do I know.
But that statement, “you didn’t want to be born,” got me thinking. What if that was actually the case? After all, being a foetus is a pretty cushy number when you think about it. Inside the womb it’s warm, safe and very cosy. Sustenance comes automatically as and when required. Nothing is demanded of you at all. There’s time to think and dream. Why would you want to leave?
It has been said, that a foetus is effectively a parasite; with the mother being the host. It may well be an active parasite, in the sense that it can take over it’s host in order to be sure that it’s own needs are met; affecting it’s hosts behaviour and to some extent controlling the behaviour of the host to ensure its own needs are catered for. You may think that eating lumps of charcoal or jar after jar of peanut butter is an odd thing to do, but maybe baby knows best.
At around the time that my mother came out with her little revelation. I was not in a very good place. So I was fishing for any snippets of information about what was going on in my early years. I was also thinking and writing a lot about my situation at the time of her statement. Given the dark place my head was in it probably wasn’t the best time to begin to speculate, about how I may have experienced my own entrance into the world. But that’s what I did, and I tried to document what the experience of a less than perfect birth might be from the point of view of the baby being born. I think it was a valiant attempt, given that a baby doesn’t possess the language needed to describe its experience of what’s happening.
Of course I have no way of knowing what a baby is feeling or thinking at the time of birth. It may well be that there is some form of natural anaesthesia that kicks in at the time; shielding the infant from distress and pain. So I think that the writing needs to be taken with a largish pinch of salt. It was written in one go, just getting down the thoughts as they came into my head. Reading it now, I find it more than a little embarrassing. However, I’ll leave the reader to make up their own mind about it.
TRANSITION. (13th June 1991)
Claws buried in a body no bigger than a newborn lamb.
Crushing muscle and bone,
Compressing head into chest.
Twisting neck muscles, not yet strong enough to shake the head in protest.
A mind not yet formed enough to know what head shaking means.
A being composed of flesh and feelings and needs.
Thrown into space from it’s liquid sleeping place.
Where it had lain cushioned and supported in warmth and soft light.
The only sensations, safety and nurturance.
Every need catered for automatically by it’s miniature universe.
New sensations, suddenly not safe.
As the universe collapses, crushing flesh, pressing down.
New inexplicable feelings and no knowledge or intellect to make sense of them.
Sudden recognition of something other than current state.
Fast becoming previous state.
Survive!…Go back!…Hang on!
First learnings of powerlessness, as crushing forces destroy
The trust of a safe place.
Now coldness and blinding white light, noise.
An alien void, huge, incomprehensible.
And a new sense of beings other than self.
As creature grips flesh with claws, tearing from a safe place.
New learnings of powerlessness, terror and pain.