birth, babies and creativity

What with one thing and another 2013 has been a pretty creative year. By ‘one thing’ I’m referring to my writing, but by ‘another’… well, back in late February I gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing, baby boy (my third!). Actually he didn’t bounce (at least I assume not, I didn’t check) – newborns aren’t really for bouncing they’re for lying around looking very cute, rather wizened and vaguely not-of-this-world. But you get the picture; along came a new life and other things were rather sidelined for a while.

The thing was though, my writing was one of the few things not to be sidelined. In fact, in the weeks after the birth I felt I really needed to write.

For a start, I wrote about the birth. As anyone who’s been there knows, giving birth is an incredibly intense experience, unlike anything else. For me, it’s also a very lengthy business (not for me these ‘over in a few hours’ births, oh no) and one that I take a while to process afterwards. This was my third time and I’d love to report that it was beautiful or wonderful, or at least straight-forward, but it wasn’t: it was a great long, crushing, vomiting ordeal. Nice.

However, it was an ordeal that resulted in one of the most amazing times of my life. In those first few hours after the birth I felt suspended in time; cocooned with my boy in our own little haven. And afterwards I wanted to capture all of it; the raw awfulness and the perfect bliss.

Funnily enough, it came out almost entirely in poetic form. I’ve never considered myself a poet and it’s certainly not my forte, but when I started to write about the birth I found that prose didn’t seem to cut it.

In total I wrote six poems. That’s perhaps not a huge number for any real poets out there but for me, that’s quite a lot! I started with one about late pregnancy and then moved through birth, the aftermath and one about my newborn. Then to round things off I wrote one for each of my other sons – I’ve read them their poems. They laughed. I’ll say no more.

I’ve since returned to prose and stopped writing about babies and birth but I’m really pleased that I got it all down when I did and in the way that I did. Writing was cathartic, enjoyable and – since some of the creating was done in my head in the dark – a nice distraction from being repeatedly awoken in the night.

It’s been quite a year!

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