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Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.


Sharing Birth Stories — Essential for Healing

I think about stories a lot. 

In particular, I think about the stories that can be so hard to tell and so hard to hear.  The telling of stories and the sharing of feelings are what creates space for healing to happen.  We all recognize the vulnerability of birth, of parenting, of putting someone else’s needs before our own.  When birth is combined with processing trauma and healing from seemingly irreparable damage, the work of opening, healing, and sharing becomes even more vital.  

We honor your stories.  

We hold space for you to hurt and to heal.  

Thank you for sharing your story. 

 

— Christine


Trigger warning: this post contains sensitive content relating to sexual violence.

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I wrote this poem in March of 2013, just three months postpartum after the birth of my first born son. I was in the depths of healing from the trauma of a sexual assault which had created my pregnancy. I was also coming to terms with the stark reality that I had placed my son for adoption. While it was an open adoption and truly the right decision for everyone at the time, it was still the deepest heartbreak I have ever experienced and continue to experience now 7 years later.

This poem offers a glimpse into the moment directly after the hospital door closed, and captures the feeling of my newborn going farther and farther away.


Hatched & Gone

All she could remember

was the echoes of his cries 

as he went down that hallway

Cries like the whistling winds

of winter storms…

And she clung to that closed door

like a brown crippling apple

hanging onto a tree 

with its last bit of hope

 

She desired for his happiness 

his safety

And though she heard him cry

She worried now for her happiness

her safety.

Her womb empty-

Like a cracked open eggshell

-Crushed.

Shreds of his scent hung on her breast

in the stead of his breath on her chest

Blue-

Like soft wispy feathers 

he’d left behind.

 

The nurse offered her a drink of water

Water to dilute the sorrow

-the ache.

But water is just water

Until you pour it into something

and it takes on its shape

Puddles

Ponds

Bottles

& ice cube trays.

When that water slid down her throat

-it took her form-

Angry water.

Tears.

Evaporating joy.

Empty.

Gone-

like a summer that flew by too fast

Like a bird she never got the chance to identify

Maybe she was a bad birdwatcher 

or a bad timekeeper

or a bad mother.

Yet she fed him full of milk

The way that robins fill their young 

with worms in the spring.

She’d never been through a season like this before.

So cold

Chilling-

Like a breeze just strong enough 

to raise bumps on her arms.

Feeling the need to wrap herself in something 

-Anything

a leaf 

a blanket

a canopy

bedsheets.

This felt like she’d abandoned her nest-

or that she’d come back

Ready to feed him again-

nipple to open mouth-

worm to open beak

except – –

he would be gone

Like he’d left the branches of her arms

too soon.

The way his voice. . .

traveled to her . . .

like he was hungry

or tired

or just-

That he missed her.

Taking his first flight

shaky wings- pounding heart

Falling-

With unfamiliar hands to pick him up again.

Useless

Useless now we’re these hands of hers 

like a garden with no seeds 

-no weeds 

just harvested plants she was STILL trying to water.

Her eyelashes 

like the holes of a rusty watering can

Tired-

from the salt 

and the pain

And the not knowing how things would turn out-

how he would turn out-

as she turned him out

into the world 

Loose

On a rolling hospital cart

with nothing to keep him warm

but the blanket she had knitted for him-

Stitch by stitch

Like the nest she had built for him

Twig by twig.

Empty

and fallen to the spongy ground 

for someone else to raise.

Her heartbeat

echoed in her body.

Alone- his movements absent 

from keeping her company.

 

And…

All she could remember

was the echoes of his cries 

as he went down that hallway

Cries like the whistling winds

of winter storms…

And she clung to that closed door

like a brown crippling apple

hanging onto a tree 

with its last bit of hope.

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By: Harriet Spalding 

copyright 2013


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