Every year as my children’s birthdays approach (both winter babes) I remember this image and a blessing by John O’Donahue.
The silhouette image is of me, heavily pregnant with my first child. Looking back (to 2009) I can see now the precipice on which I stood, the beginning of this wild adventure in mothering. I see the tender bud of a rose that cannot yet conceive of the spectacular magic of being fully in bloom.
I found these words very comforting and inspiring while I was pregnant and I continue to do so. They remind me that being a mother is a magical job and, although they are now big and boisterous, my children will also forever live ‘under my heart’.
Blessing for a Mother-to-Be
From Benedictus by John O’Donohue
(Bantam Press, London 2007: pp.72-73)
Nothing could have prepared
Your heart to open like this.
From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside you
And started to pulse with life;
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes
On its way home to itself.
Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.
It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;
Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed
With every fibre of your being.
Never have you travelled further inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
Unable to reach the fund of brightness,
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.
Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essence
That flow to your child.
You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.
May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.
May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart, so that it can grow with ease.
Expectant of wonder and welcome
When its form is fully filled.
And it makes its journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved, and glad in your arms.