The Chanting Women (A Birth Story)

This time, you won’t see two pale pink lines. Instead you will see the word Pregnant flash on the itty bitty screen. 

Your belly will swell slowly then quickly.  A baby sized Poppy Seed. Cupcake Sprinkle. Mango. Watermelon.

Your feet will take you through  many walks through your neighborhood. 

The walks will make you feel like you are swimming on land, almost. You will crave the water where you can float weightless.  In the meantime, you walk.

As your due date approaches, your walks are more waddle, less walk.

Your doctor will advise you to come in as soon as you feel the contractions but when they fade, you tell her they have stopped and attempt to sleep. 

But before sleep, you dip a fresh baked cookie by your daughter into milk and let the crumbs savor your lips.

You will call your mother and ask if she is busy and she interrupts you to Get to The Point!

You tell her to be on stand by,  that you may get checked but not sure.

The OB tells you to pay attention to the intensity of the contractions, not the frequency.

When the pain picks up again, you spring out of bed and yell to your husband you should go in to be safe. He asks for five more minutes.

You don’t have five more minutes. Seconds later, As he screws in the final screws for an ikea bed, your water breaks. You will Yell you need to leave Now! Urgency coats your voice.

The intensity will make you take big whooshing breaths. You know to expect pain. Does pain have a color?

At the hospital you will be given a wheelchair and are told the walk is long. You will zoom your hands through the air and long halls to tell your husband Faster.

When he hits a bump, you will tell him that if pushing wheelchairs was his job,  you would definitely not tip him.

What you will remember the most:

When you make it to the labor room,  you are 8 cms dilated. Your smile slips out as you and your husband exhange a glance. You are almost there!

When you are 10 cms, minutes later, the energy in the room changes immediately when you hear the word Breech.

In seconds, the room becomes crowded. When your doctor says the word breech, you know this is Very Bad.

You trace your lips into a rainbow of sadness. You whisper you’re sad that she’s breech. No one will hear you.

There will be no time to dwell.You will remember the urgency of the women, how when it was time to push they all chanted in unison PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!

How you wondered where all the voices came from, how three voices became fifteen, but the chants of the women will give you strength to push.

How the baby was born quiet and how you asked Is she alive? Once. Twice. Thrice. You remember how relief seeped into you when you heard her first cry.

You will remember the gentle nurses and how they hovered around like frantic butterflies when you were in labor, how one nurse tucked a stray hair under your dupatta as she pushed you to your new room. How you thought you wished you could give her a tip if you could.

45 minutes after reaching the hospital, in the inky black of night, the moment your mother stands on your house doorstep and twists your key into your lock, your husband will call her to tell her your baby girl is born.


“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” Surat Luqmān (Luqman) – سورة لقمان
[31:14-15] – The Noble Qur’an – القرآن الكريم

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