“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
One of the fun and unexpected benefits of adding Tanner to our family is that he actually gets to have a close in age cousin. My nephew was born in July and it is exciting to imagine what good cousin-friends these two little boys are going to be! It was also super fun to be pregnant at the same time as my sister-in-law. I didn’t know what a fun connection that would be! My mom, Tanner, and I drove to Kansas to visit them over the weekend. We went with some trepidation as it is an almost five-hour drive and Tanner had been in a car seat exactly two other times before! (One that was a horrible experience with desperate red-faced screaming inducing maternal trauma.) The trip went well, however, with only one real stop on the way (also one short side of the road one just a few miles before our safe Dollar General haven was reached) and even better on the way home.
When we pulled into their driveway, I felt a real sense of having come “full circle.” It was taking cousin-belly pictures together at their house that I first announced my pregnancy on this blog: New Baby! We then returned to wait with anticipation to wait for the birth of Ronan and we took lots of pictures together: Cousin Bellies! When Ronan went two weeks past his due date, we experienced the Lento Tempo of being “ladies in waiting” together. I had to leave to come home to give a final exam (and check in with my family!) and cried as I drove away, worried I would miss the birth and also feeling reluctant to leave the timeless, liminal quality of being at their house full of anticipation. However, I did not miss the birth, but instead was honored to witness my sister-in-law Jenny dig deep into her own strength and resources to bring their baby into the world in a powerful home waterbirth, that then informed my own decision to welcome Tanner into my arms in my own first water birth three months later. After Tanner’s birth, Jenny and Ronan came to stay with us to help provide excellent postpartum care. So, making another trip to see them and bring Tanner to visit them, felt like another round of the circle that began with our overlapping pregnancies.
While there, we joked about the Cousin Power all around us, because both babies experienced developmental leaps with Tanner smiling huge big smiles and “ah-gooing” clearly for the first time (previous smiles were single episode events and not ongoing spurts of interaction and communication) and Ronan rolling over for the first time.
As fun as it was to be pregnant together, it was even more fun to put our babies side by side and watch them kick and smile and look around together!
I do love me some continuity, so I asked my mom to take some more “cousin belly” pictures of Jenny and me together, but now with cousins on the outside instead!
And, then we had to get some nursing cousins pictures too!
“Birth should not be a celebration of separation, but rather a reuniting of mother and baby, who joins her for an external connection.”
–Barbara Latterner, in New Lives