Friday, January 7, 2011

Frailty, Thy Name is Memory

Linda says that she can no longer remember the pain of childbirth – not the hours of contractions leading up to the delivery room nor the pain of pushing. She’s had other women tell her as much (one friend heard that there’s a hormone released after childbirth that causes a woman to forget the pain). Linda regrets that we didn’t take pictures or video of the day and night leading up to Violet’s birth, and she really wishes that she could’ve seen the birth. She freely admits that, at the time, if I’d tried to capture any of those moments on film, she would’ve fed the camera to me. I remember wondering for a brief moment as we were on our way to the hospital, ” Should I get a picture of this?” but then a contraction hit and the thought was gone. It didn’t seem right at the time. I’m not sure how I feel about the idea – pictures or video of Linda kneeling on the floor in pain or doubled over in the front seat of the car or the gory reality of birth. Those moments have their own sort of beauty, but how often would we throw that video in the DVD player or flip through those photos? So we have to rely on our own faulty memories. We both started writing our own versions of that day – neither of us have finished, and I’m amazed when I sit down to write more how much I’ve already forgotten.

48 days old


  1. You experienced the birth more fully not being behind a camera. What matters is that your sweet Violet emerged into your lives!
    P.S. I cannot recreate the excruciating pain of childbirth, of course, but I do remember it.

  2. Anne,
    I know you're right, by being camera-less at the birth, I was way more in the moment - I wouldn't trade that for anything. But I can't help wishing that I had that memory safely recorded somewhere. It's already hazy!