Here's one strange thing I do: I read birthing stories. They're everywhere, you must've seen them, too. The thing is, I tend to navigate toward blogs that read like journals. As a fan of Raymond Carver, Andre Dubus, Lorrie Moore, I am drawn to the inner lives of strangers. That's what I find so frustrating and liberating and terrifying about the Internet: we can know the mundane details of the life of a complete stranger. But, then, does that make them not a stranger anymore?
Cyndi and I joked about running into Nat the Fat Rat in New York last weekend, but what would I have done if I had seen her? Would I have whispered shyly, "I love your blog"? Would I have said hello, or—more likely—just smiled widely at her? Not to speak for the rest of the blogging world, but I think this whole experiment of ours is a way, sure, to catalog the places we're going and the people we know and the life we're creating as we go along, but it's also a way to reach out to other people who are just stumbling along. It's a way of knowing, and of saying, that there are others out there who don't have it all figured out, who bake way too many cookies for an apartment of two people, who wish they knew what to do with their life while simultaneously being glad there will always be something else to learn or know or do.
This is all meandering back to what I brought up in the first place, I promise. I don't remember the first birthing story I read, but I remember being unable to look away. It's like the hushed questions I ask my sister while she nurses my nephew about how much it hurts, how impossible it feels compared to how impossible it actually is, what's it like. All the questions without answers. There is something so incredible about being a woman, the things we're capable of, the things our bodies will take over and just do when we're still fighting our minds. These are the raw bits of us that can sometimes get lost in the worlds we create onscreen, so I'm always pleasantly surprised when I find stories of it there—here—too. If you're feeling brave, I encourage you to read some of these, my favorite birthing stories (that is a weird category of favorites to have): The Capener Caboodle, "Finn's Birth Story"; Documenting Delight, "Welcoming Theodore" (a video, actually); and Erstwhile dear, "the birthing of Joan Bea" (this one happened in my neighborhood!).