Guided Writing Sessions

Guided Writing Session Directory

Below, you will find recordings for each Guided Writing Session dating back to August 2021 when the sessions were began.

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Lessons of Pregnancy

There is great mystery in the changing of one body into twoness.  One moment you are yourself, same as ever.  In the next one, you feel confusion. Something shifting.  You are gifted with a state of both/and.  Myself, becoming more.

A bit of nausea, as your body says “I’m changing”.  Digestion starts to speak to you of cravings.  Cravings to be honored, as body wisdom, according to the grandmothers.  Otherwise, they itch at you.  Wantings can trail you, even into dreams.  

Nothing in the process of growing a baby requires thought.  It unfolds, seemingly programmed in your very cells.  Some areas swell.  Your organs get pushed around by this visitor.  Your bladder grows short-tempered.  Your hips complain, while widening.  You move as a waddle.

Skin can darken, in patches, or form a line that divides you down the middle, into left and right.  Sometimes skin hisses through these changes, parched and strained from stretching.  You anoint yourself with oils and creams.  Nightly, you massage your nipples, to ready them for suckling.  You wonder if your belly will return to normal shape.  Things could go either way.

There is the moment you first hear the heartbeat of this mystery forming within you.  As you listen, you may realize this child is hearing your heart beating too.  What wonder!

There’s that first sense of movement, from within.  You can’t control it.  The experience of being kicked internally by something swimming within you is stunning, no matter how many times it happens.  

It can also be annoying, when one is trying to sleep.  Some body-guests have no sense of time.  

At its own pace, your body grows, and as it does, you are named hope by the community, who pat your belly and remember their own tales of baby-carrying times.  Enjoy this charisma, but don’t confuse it with your own.  You’re simply being seen as a connection to the future.

A future that will involve splitting,  into former-you and new-hope baby.  You round into this circle of life.  Your breasts burgeon.  

Cramps may visit you.  That sense of tugging, from within, as energy encounters blocks to its choices of direction.  A rehearsal for real labor.  You find some relief in belly-dancing. Forming spirals with your hips while undulating.  

You tense a little, at the tales of torture you hear.  You know some women don’t come back to themselves.  In the joy of this becoming, there’s the possibility of death.  There’s fear, at your sheer stupidity.  What do you know of birthing?  You look to others.  

If you are lucky, wise women will step forward to share breath secrets with you.  You will notice how breath can carry you over the pulls and tugs of body, soothing your mind with a state of this moment.  Now.  For a second, you stop worrying and just are.  You rest in is.

If you are lucky, you will find birth helpers to be a chorus to the birth, respecting its parameters as they fetch ice chips to moisten your mouth, and help you into squat position.  They will honor this time as yours, instead of slotting you in, between games of golf.  

Ridiculous men, chanting science holds all answers, while not bothering to imagine what this experience is like for you.  You are a problem to be solved rather than an exercise in empathy.  They offer you drugs to dull your senses.  Methods for hiding from the pain, instead of moving through it.  Or so it seemed to me.  

If you are fortunate, you’ll find a doctor willing to bear witness to your labors, while holding faith in you, and in the process of birth itself.  I did.

You are drawn to nature.  You take long walks in the labyrinth of forest.  You settle into your your senses, allowing life to take on hope’s patina, love’s golden glow.  You find yourself engaged in nesting, spinning in circles that cease to be confusing.  Instead, they offer comfort, a sense of home.  

You make a space in your life for the coming.  You fill it with dreams of you loving child, who’s loving you.  You gather the softest cotton fabric, and sew kimonos for its life outside your body.  By impulse, you make one smaller than the pattern.  

You use a knit, patterned with dragon flies.  You pack it in your birthing kit, along with fresh baked sheets for giving birth on, packs of pads, and the Mandela that your husband’s made, for you to gaze on as you give birth..  

Finally, your body finds its annunciation, on the summer morning that is thick with building heat.  Opening the screen door, you spot a dragonfly, and suddenly you know this is the day.  Water spills from you, in a torrent.  You have no control.

For thirty-six hours, you’ll dance with this lack, not wanting it to be.  Your body has become the opening of Teutonic plates.  It has its own mind.  It might kill you. Yet you sense its ancient wisdom. 

You finally release your will, with its owners’ manuals, realizing that this process will take you where it will. Nothing  to do but float.  You sense it’s buoyancy.  Your resistance disappears with this surrender.  You ride the pain, as if surfing. You are balanced between worlds.

It is time to push.  Shulamith Firestone, the feminist,  was right.  It’s rather like defecating a mammoth pumpkin.  As you bear down, you say “No!”, but the sound doesn’t block you.  Instead, it carries you across the chasms to “Ah” as labor ends.  

Babe emerges.  Coated in what looks like cottage cheese. In a miracle of bonding, you and child are linked by the scent of placenta.  The three of you as one, joined as aroma.  

Both/and becomes external.  You name him Noah, meaning quiet resting place.  The kimona fits perfectly, like a glove.

What a beautiful piece, Devon!  I've never heard pregnancy described this way, as a splitting, like a cell in mitosis (but with much worse cramps).  I think you mean "tectonic" plates, by the way.  

Thank you for sharing this writing. It's sensitively and uniquely observed (placenta like cottage cheese).  I won't forget that image!


Thanks Mark.  You are right, tectonic is the correct word.  But the “cottage cheese” reference was to the substance Vernix Caseosa, which sometimes coats newborns.  It’s white, greasy, and patchy in its coating .  It protects the neonate’s skin, while they’re in the amniotic fluid.  The placenta was the container for it all, and has a different function,  look, texture, and smell.  Kind of organ-ey.  I buried mine deep in the garden of the house we rented, and over it a rose bush.  I am an earth mother, after all.  I mislead your image with my reference, which needed more information.  Sorry.