His birth was unsettling in a primal way.
The archetypes came unmoored,
tectonic plate shifts.
I was floating, untethered.
At once a maiden
(no baby beside me,
husked of baby by cesarean
like an ear of corn, discarded.
no bleeding till later, when i held him skin to skin at a week old.
then it was a gushing flood between my legs,
motherhood rushing)
At once a wailing mother
(my breasts, hot and heavy with milk,
beside his crib in the NICU, 
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry)
At once a crone 
(my arms empty,
the wisdom of trauma gained)
A friend asked, 
"What can I do for you?"
I could think of nothing.
I just wanted my baby.
Everything in me was striving and tilting
turning and wheeling desperately, 
grasping at the mother archetype
as it floated by in the ether of deep meaning,
agonizingly out of reach.
I wrote in my journal, at four days postpartum,
when he was hovering in the door between the worlds of the living and the dead,
"There are powerful forces at work here."
I could feel the energies,
dark and primal.
None seemed malevolent
but some were terrifyingly indifferent.
I was a supplicant.
I felt small,
but my grief and wanting
felt larger than the world.

Cat Ennis Sears is a writer and mother of three in Richmond, VA. She is so grateful to Life in Ten for the gift of such a healing, writing space in our community. She blogs sporadically here:
Photo by Stephanie Jacobson, of Whimsy and Wilderness Photography (

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