Dying To Give Life

by Chris de Serres


She has a hard exterior, perhaps too hard.  She can lull one into thinking that she can deal with any setback.  That she will bounce back.  She is fearfully anxious of being judged, being found out.  Being abandoned.  The loss of a friend can be catastrophic.  Whether that friend was good for her or not doesn’t always matter.  She is incredibly capable and at the same time incredibly vulnerable.

Her greatest moment was the birth of her child.  I was there when it happened.  I saw it.  The locks of hair protruding then receding back in.  Then an incredible physical push and out came this tiny little cabeza and face to match.  This was my greatest moment too.

You don’t really understand what this little thing will become.  They become you.  Reflections of you and her.  I still look into her eyes, like a pool of water, and ask is that me in there?  Is that who I am?

The other day my daughter said,” Badges?!  We don’t need no stinking’ badges!” then she farted on my leg.  Confirmation.  No DNA test needed.

Her mother was sick for 8 long months.  It’s a condition that debilitates expectant mothers.  You are sick every day.  You can’t eat.  You are too weak to walk or sit.  You take intravenous fluids 5 times a week to maintain.  It’s visually indistinguishable from those who are dying.  She suffered through it and I was her caretaker.

Our daughter was the result.

Only the love of a mother would make any woman want to go through that again.  It is in these times when I understand that women are built differently.  They possess a drive that feels impossible or incomprehensible.  It goes largely unacknowledged and under appreciated.  Some call these things instincts.  To me, pregnancy and birthing are miracles of sacrifice.  I will cede that there is no other earthly feat that compares.  To willingly do this with hyperemesis gravidarum is something else entirely.

Yet, she was built to survive.  She only needed me to say yes, let’s do it again.  All that pain and suffering ahead of us felt like a gift from the highest power, to her.  Me too.