by Stacy Barton
In the stages of labor, Transition comes in the moments just before the new life begins to press its way out, to squeeze its greatness from the womb.
Sitting on the backyard porch, I listen to the birds. They weave a medley over my head, from telephone wire, to palm, to merry bougainvillea. The squirrels along the wood fence behave as though something is about to happen. I watch the sky move across the pool and wonder.
Transition marks some of labor’s most intense pain, for the one birthing can only breathe, release and surrender as the force of new life stretches the final sinews, creating the space it requires to arrive.
I step down by the pool and sit on the end of the mat. I breathe and stretch, lean into each position. I allow myself to think…of myself. Not the children, or Todd, or work, or loved ones, or needed tasks. Immediately I cry. There seems so little to consider when the thoughts contain only myself. Have I forgotten all I struggled to learn about the essence of me? I breathe, stretch, cry. I wonder if the world is flat. I breathe.
The new life crowns, and can be seen for moments before retreating in a pattern that seems devoid of progress. Pushing to hurry the Transition only impedes the birth.
Face down, arms outstretched beside the pool, the visceral memories of childbirth Transitions surprise me like a metaphor. I feel the brush of Spirit over my body and remember that if I push this new life—whatever it may be—before its time, I will thwart that for which I long. Waiting and trusting make me frightened, but with four births as my memory, I reach in hope for things unseen.
By its nature, Transition reveals a world between: between then and now; between old and new; between heaven and earth. Transition claims us, demands we trust that the birth will come, that the new life will appear.
Back on the porch wicker, I squint my eyes, the image of tomorrow like an old Polaroid slowly developing in my hand. Today I see only dimly, but the Spirit, like a good midwife, has whispered in my ear that I am in Transition, that all of this is not a march toward death, but the press of new life coming.
Though almost brutal in its incessant press to will us to wait with hope, the force of Transition is, in itself, the new life’s promise that the end of yesterday has come and the reality of the future is near.
Stacy Barton is the author of the novella Lily Harp, the poetry chapbook Like Summer Grass, and the short story collection Surviving Nashville. Her work has appeared in various literary journals, including Gargoyle, Best of Potomac Review, Real South, and Southern Women’s Review. The author of picture books, plays, and animated short films, she is also a freelance show writer for entertainment companies such as Disney, SeaWorld, Ringling Bros. and others.
Learn more about Stacy Barton and her work on her website, StacyBarton.com
Categories: Sister Sirens