As I look at the woman's journey towards unfolding her Self, the milestones are many, but three major ones could be the initiations or blood mysteries of menarche, pregnancy and birth, and menopause.
This piece was written shortly after the birth of my son, who is now 17. It tries to capture some of the otherwordly feel of being a new mother, the transformation out of 'time and space' and into some new symbiosis with an infant.
She likes to look at that picture of herself and Julien, at three months. Despite the dark circles under her eyes, or perhaps because of them, her eyes have the wide open look of the newly born, a freshly washed liquid stare, so open, all barriers washed away in the flood of waters released when the sac was broken. After the mucous plug was removed the child had no more reason not to descend, not to engage in the passageway, the light not seen yet at the end of the tunnel but close, so close, only a few dancing stomps and drumbeats away. She had put on Paul Simon’s Graceland, some African rhythms to dance a child down. But a whole night of useless contractions later, in the morning, pitocyn drip, waters broken, back labour, and finally it took an epidural and rest before she could push him from her body.
Anyway, that washed look in her eyes, that was what she still marvels at. After such a long journey, the birthing and hard work, the sweating and sucking on ice chips, all the veiled looks in her eyes, the hidden selves are gone. Having lived the greatest mystery, a body dividing itself in two, she has now no more mystery about her. When she looks in the mirror, she sees her transparent reflection, her baby looks back from her face – she can hardly tell the difference between him and herself. She sleeps with her arms wrapped across her chest, in fœtal position, curled on one side, enfolded in that same body-snuggle way the nurses taught her to wrap him in for security. She wakes when he wakes, sleeps when he sleeps, unaware yet of the luxury of having only one child’s rhythm to follow. The first step of initiation, the burning ring of fire around her vulva that finally stretched to let him pass, has brought another self into being. Something she will discover slowly, as she wakes.