Three very different women darkened my office doorway today, all before noon, bringing stories and wisdom about childbirth. Perhaps inspired by their own history or the need to help in a helpless situation, they offered what they could and went on down the hallway to the breakroom to warm up leftovers or to have a cup of coffee.
The first woman appeared like an opening act for the trio, with the jingling of bells, wearing a red sweater and matching lightbulb earrings that swung with every movement of her head.
“Just bringing the Christmas spirit,” she announced.
“Still here?” she asked. “And you still haven’t delivered that baby?”
It was unclear how she missed the watermelon sized bump resting on my lap. I wrongly assumed that stupid questions came in sets of three, so I waited for the final one before breaking the silence.
I laughed, “No, not yet.”
“Ok, then, hang in there.”
Great advice, thanks, I thought dryly.
Only a short while later, a second woman appeared at the doorway. She wore a turtle neck and a quilted Christmas vest, which was just a slight variation from her usual vest.
“Hey there,” she greeted me and then came into the office without an invitation.
“I was almost a Christmas baby,” she started.
Her tiny eyes peered out from behind thick lenses, neither blinking nor breaking her stare. She had the hint of a wicked smirk on her upturned lips as she continued.
“But my mother was in labor for four days and blew right past the 25th. She told me that every time I came down the birth canal and saw the light, I went back inside and waited.”
“What a horrible story,” I gasped unable to hide my horror. I felt my jaw drop and had to consciously pull it back up from the floor.
“Don’t worry,” she reassured me with her creepy, un-breaking stare.
“She said I was the best baby after that ordeal. My brother, on the other hand, was an easy delivery and turned out to be the worst baby.”
More great insight, I thought.
“Thanks for clearing that up.”
She shuffled off with a nod, happy to have been so helpful.
I was still reeling from the thought of being in labor for four days when the third visitor appeared, the boss of my supervisor, making rounds through the offices. She gave me a warm smile and leaned against the doorframe.
“How are you feeling?” she asked with genuine interest.
“Nervous and ready,” I replied, as a woman of few words.
She nodded in understanding, “This will be something that will change you forever. You will tell your delivery story for the rest of your life. It will change you in ways that I cannot even begin to describe and it is just the beginning, a rite of passage into the next phase of life.”
“My only advice is to turn off your phone after delivery, unplug the hospital phone, and just focus on being with your baby and tune out the rest of the world. You only get to do it one time.”
She winked and turned to leave, but suddenly stopped, “Oh, and send me a text so I know you will be out of work for a while.”