My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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hello, ceramic Jesus

Holding pattern. Today I made my way across town, to go to an ultrasound and then a midwife appointment with my daughter. St. Joseph’s is a friendly hospital ten minutes walk from her home, with a life-sized ceramic Jesus greeting you as you enter. Canada’s welcome mat was on display, as every nationality sat waiting for someone to look after them. In the ultrasound room, we were able to see the baby weaving around, his big head, quick little heart, belly and bladder, all good. “He’s not presenting his face,” said the nurse, “but we have a good view of his scrotum.”
“Typical,” said Anna.

Then we took the streetcar to the Midwives Collective, and what a lovely place it is – a little house full of women and children, with the occasional proud papa. There were few midwives around in the early eighties, when I was pregnant; my ex and I were avant garde in using a birthing room, in Vancouver for Anna and in Ottawa for Sam. In Vancouver – stop me if you’ve heard this one – we were only the second couple to use the brand new room, and the nurses didn’t know how to use the special birthing bed. As the baby descended, they were pushing buttons to adjust the head of the bed, the bottom, the ups and downs, finally leaving it where it was so the intern had to work on his knees. It’s a funny memory, though it wasn’t quite so funny at the time.

At the time. Thirty-one years one week ago. I can barely remember – which, of course, is why there are so many human beings. If we could remember the birthing process more clearly, it might be a different story. I do remember feeling like an animal; I was a cow, a pig, a cat, struggling, like my fellow mammals, to give birth. What a wonderful verb – to give birth. Donner naissance. To give life.

Today, I was especially grateful to have had a daughter. Sons are a source of incredible joy. But when my boy’s partner is ready to give birth, I doubt I’ll be as included as I am with this girl of mine. We now share this ultimate female experience. She could not be more different from me in her lifestyle and choices, and yet, we are bound by DNA, biology, experience. A bond like no other.

On the top half of the sandwich – my mother is doing much better. Yesterday evening, we had a long talk, and I could hear renewed energy in her voice. She was regaining her sense of humour. “Mum,” I said, “you’re back!”

Health health health – health, and love to and from family and friends and an occasional crabby pussycat. That’s all that matters.

P.S. I will resolutely ignore the news that my front steps are being devoured by termites. Yes I will.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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