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Over the years, my self-image has changed her style often. If I had any consistency at all it was that the girl who wore the many dresses was just that, a Girl. That much about my Self I knew. That was until I saw the second pink line on the Ol’ Plastic Messenger. The moment I knew I was pregnant my self-image shattered and in the place of the Girl stood a Woman. It felt good to unexpectedly think of myself as Woman, albeit a naked and terrified one. That pregnancy shook my entire world. I had always thought of myself as strong but now I realized that I had only been hard. Strong and hard are two different states of being. Hard is easily broken and strength is gained painfully while learning the difference.

The pregnancy was incredibly tough on me psychologically. I never wanted children, I wasn’t sure I wanted their father and as in every metamorphosis I wasn’t ready to let go of my Self. I could not fit this new dress onto the landscape of my life. When time came to birth the baby I still wasn’t ready to let go. The pain that comes in labour is from the contracting of the uterus and the opening of the birthing tunnel. I did not embrace the pain; in fact, I was tight as a mussel. I did not want to open myself to the terrifying life that awaited on the other side. After 30 hours of labour my cervix didn’t progress past 3cm and I was rolled into surgery to have a Caesarean section. I was a failure and a coward. A women’s gift is to bring forth life through her own powerful cunt but I had allowed fear to rob her and myself of that power. Friends would exclaim that I had given birth, whoa. But I didn’t feel I’d given birth. I felt my sweet baby boy was surgically removed from me because I was too weak to face my own life.

In time I began to shed pieces of my old self, sometimes gracefully; others grudgingly, and slowly I grew the new and foreign appendages of a Mother. I had ten months of letting go and growing before learning that I would have another chance to give birth.

“OK, you’re due May 13th so we’ll book your section for then”, the Doctor told me, writing herself a reminder. ”What? No,” I said, “I’m going to have this baby naturally.” She looked at me flatly and said, “No, you don’t have to. You’ve had one section you can have another, no problem”. Standing up I told her I’d have no such thing. On May 10th, Mothers Day, I gave birth to my daughter, vaginally. Just me and my clam, working together.

During labour, part of my labia tore and the resulting scar is a small sphere of flesh; a pearl. Early in my relationship with my children’s father he would say to me, “When I’m through with you, your box wont going to be good to anyone”. I knew that where he comes from it was just a vulgar way of saying “this is going to be some wild sex”, but I never liked it. After giving birth I thought about it sometimes and that maybe he was right, my vagina really wasn’t good to anyone anymore. But I have grown and sustained two human beings in my uterus and brought life into this world. My war wounds are well earned. I haven’t been intimate with anyone since their father and I separated last year and I am still a little nervous about what a new lover might think, but this is me now after all. My scars are the manifestation of wisdom gained and pains taken. I have earned well the pearl of my metamorphosis.

 

-Pearl butterflies