My mum had a backache the whole day long. She was four days overdue, but that wasn’t stopping her. She went out and about for the whole day, visiting her parents, her in-laws, puttering around the house. But her water broke at eleven that night, just as she was wearily dropping into sleep, and so my parents drove to the old Pasqua Hospital in Regina. She gave birth to her first baby, a little girl, at 6:56 a.m. and, oh, she laughed and laughed. Her young red-haired husband cried, and they took pictures with a Polaroid camera. Those pictures have faded, the frame is nearly empty now, just a ghost-image of the joy of the day remains.
When she had her second baby two years later, labour went very quickly – just three hours. After all, she was ten days overdue. When she checked into the hospital close to midnight, the doctor solemnly asked if she was at all comfortable with the attendence of perhaps a student or two to observe her delivery, no pressure of course, Mrs. Styles. She laughed and invited the entire class of serious medical students to line up in the room, and then she chattered and laughed so incessantly that the doctor finally had to beg her to be quiet and focus. After her daughter was born at 2:13 a.m. weighing nearly 9lbs, the students applauded and they lined up to shake her hand before they left. “Mrs. Styles,” they all said, “we never knew giving birth could be this fun!” She was nearly high with adrenaline and excitement, with her own sense of power and strength. She was made to be a mother. She knew it, her husband knew it, and her girls grew up knowing it.
These are the stories of how my sister and I came into the world. I have them memorized because my mother has spent most of my life, telling us stories of our lives, her own life, my father’s life, my grandparents’ lives, all the way back.
Read the rest of this post over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s site. (I love Lisa-Jo. She’s the real deal and I’m absolutely honoured to hang out at her place as part of her beautiful series on What Mama Did.)