Sunday, February 05, 2006

Preconceived Images
It doubtless requires no justification to claim that this is the single most profound event that can take place in a person's life.

At least, to date, it is the most profound that has been experienced by myself and I cannot entertain any notions of it being overshadowed by anything else.

I now understand a great many things I only felt I understood before, and none of those points of understanding can truly be done justice to through words, on which note: maybe this is what the sharing of images is about.

We'd hoped and planned for a 'natural' birth, with images in mind of the warm embrace of a water pool, soft music and low key lighting, the lot. Maybe moreso I hoped for a natural birth and mother was somewhat more pragmatic in her thinking. Men have the luxury of wishing to see nature follow its course as we are rarely dealt so harsh a hand by mother nature as the female of our species often are, be it the onset of menstrual cycles at puberty or indeed the pain inherent in an otherwise overwhelmingly beautiful process, that of giving birth.

Do, if fate calls for a decision, bear in mind that nature is actually a dispassionate force lacking in volition that can and often will manifest itself cruelly. We should respect nature - truly we must respect her if we are to survive as a species - but we needn't always comply with her unspecified wims. Medical science is driven by all manner of volitions and in the best cases will manifest itself with compassion.

After countless hours of touching upon what I could only describe as a manifestation of Hell on Earth we opted to circumnavigate the wims of nature and took the route of medical science. I might actually forget the screams that emanated from my wife's body for hour on end as we sought to avoid taking a route we, or at least for certain I had felt would be the more cold and sterile. I think I am already forgetting the screams and that's why I feel compelled to write this now, before I forget forever. I will however not forget, ever, how she looked once we changed course, the medical team intervened, and the effects of the epidural came into play. From that point onwards we were able to engage in the concluding process of procreation in a manner we might more likely always feel a warmth for.

Certainly in our case medical science provided a far warmer, compassionate and enjoyable avenue than mother nature could that day.

All of it was worth going through though, the pain and the fear included, for the end result. And that's not something that's solely simple for a man to say, mother feels exactly the same.

She is the hero of this tale and baby is living testament to her bravery.

Originally published 20th January 2006, two days after delivery, at baby.grow

For the occasion I used:

An Olympus XA loaded with Fujicolor Press ISO 800 colour negative film. An Olympus XA2 would probably have suited just as well considering the opportunities for focusing with the XA's rangefinder were limited. The Olympus was chosen for its inobtrusive and relatively silent qualities which proved ideal during the initial several hours of full labour.

My digital SLR with a Zenitar 16mm lens attached. The somewhat more unwieldy and noisy camera bore its own particular strengths which came into their own post-delivery.

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