My friend Em is having a baby. It's wonderful news - she's about the most generous, loving, warm and nurturing person I know. She's a natural. And 4 months deep into this pregnancy she's all glowy and full of cheer (well, aside from an obscene amount of nausea). She and her lovely hubby have asked if I'd like to be there at the birth, a kind of friend and support person for them both (because it'll be a tough time for Tim too, no question). I was over the moon honoured and very excited, I LOVE babies, could kiss their little feet for hours on end and there is nothing in this world like their little newborn smell. But the birthing bit, well, that's a different story. I was present for the birth of both my nieces. In the first instance I was relegated to worrying and pacing around a waiting room while they performed an emergency C section. She had a rough little start, our Harriet, but is a smiling and jumping almost-6 year old that we adore. I remember cuddling on the couch with her those first few months, in awe of her smallness. My niece Daisy was born three years ago, naturally and in a bath. I have never in my life known such overwhelming amazement as I watched my brother-in-law catch her and pull her up to my sister's chest. The midwife was quiet and professional, but otherwise it was just my amazing sister, her hubby, this small wonder, and me, blinking at the seeming ease of it all. I mean, of course there were hours of labour and pain, but within minutes my sister stood up holding Daisy, stepped gracefully out of the bath and walked over to the bed like it was nothing.
I know the experience is different for every woman, for every mother. Pregnancy seems a long way away for me, so it's hard to know what to say and how to support Em. But I recently read Emily's post about her birthing plan and between all the laughter, I think she expressed it beautifully, intelligently, perfectly: 'be yourself, and do the very best you can'.
So, Em, dear friend, just be yourself, because I know you'll do the very best you can xx
* Daisy and a blonde me, the day after her birth...