37th Thread: Strong as a bear, free as a woman
Would you really rather have been born in that time? The gods still lived among men in grand palaces. They ate meat, they drank wine, they didn’t work. They travelled in golden chariots pulled by ten horses. Men in their madness tried to imitate them by forging astounding inventions, by exacting the most absurd luxuries. Women and children had to obey men as they obeyed gods. Doctors and priests would say, no, a woman should not behave this way during pregnancy, this is what she should not eat, that is what she should not touch. They interfered with carnivorous tools at the birth, they shook the child by the feet, they decided whether he was healthy and strong enough to compete with the gods, whether he deserved to live. Most girls were done away with. Women were worthless. But here, my darling, they are all powerful. My mother teaches us, I work, and you love me, my sweet apple, my pinch of happiness. Soon, my mother’s wisdom will serve you well when it is time for your baby to come to us, as she helped me when you were born. Labour begins softly and soon becomes faster and louder. Animals know how, without learning. A ewe or a rabbit might guide you. Or a vixen as your hair is red! But do not become a bird or a lizard, because they only produce eggs that are not real births. When you were born, the bear came to my help. I growled, I ate blueberries that my mother picked for me. I was not afraid, and when it hurt, I roared for the pain to skip me and seize the bear. You came out easily, like a small bear cub playfully rolling out of her den.
Do not think about death. Do not think of blood. During the passage through the life channel, an understanding comes between the child and the mother that nothing can destroy. When you were born, I licked you just as the mother bear licks her cub into shape. Seeing you were a pretty little girl, not a bear, I became a woman again. Instead of fur, your skin was smooth and soft. Instead of a tail stump, you had a small pink button between the legs. I was happy to see you. I’m always happy to see you, darling girl. If you have a boy, you will decide whether you want him to live. Boys grow up to leave, they join gangs, kill, loot. Girls stay and take care of us. I’m going to massage you between your legs, your grandmother has prepared for you a sweet blend, made of ground nuts and braided herbs. Softened, your tender lace will gently spread to offer us the gift of a child. Then you shall sleep, while I pick chestnuts to see us all, my mother, me, you and the new child, through the winter.
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