If you can keep your faith when all about you
Are losing theirs and instilling fear in you
If you can trust in your body’s ability to birth – when loved ones doubt you
And know that this is what your body’s meant to do.
If you can plan a due month not a due date
Remembering babies come at their soul-appointed time
So that at your 41 week appointment
You do not feel pressurised, ‘overdue’, or ‘past your prime’.
If you can wait and not grow tired of waiting
For a posterior cervix reluctant to dilate
And despite two sleepless nights of cramps, frustrating,
Ignore a negative or fearful mental state.
And if you finally transfer in, and are inspected
And find you still have many hours left to go
Can you find the trust and strength to still be patient
And to epidurals and syntocinon, still say ‘no’.
If you can close your eyes and turning inward,
Surrender to that mighty force inside
As it throes you to the edge of your existence
And let perception, bone and sinew open wide.
If you can follow your instinct into positions
Which enable good descent and pelvic space
You’ll have no need for ventouse or obstetricians
To mar the crowning of your baby’s head and face.
If then you fill the birthing room with grace and presence
As your newborn crosses worlds with searching gaze
And with warm and tender whisper guide her gently
To your naked warm embrace with heart ablaze.
And if, from here, you fill each post-natal minute
With sixty seconds worth of loving run.
Then you have honoured Birth and the Spirit in it.
And your journey as a mother has just begun.
By Nadia Raafat (AFTER RUDYARD KIPLING)
I WROTE THIS POEM DURING MY THIRD PREGNANCY