The Cocooning of Motherhood
“𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕔𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕡𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕒𝕣 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕒 𝕓𝕦𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕗𝕝𝕪 𝕓𝕪 𝕥𝕖𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪𝕓𝕠𝕕𝕪 𝕚𝕥 𝕙𝕒𝕤 𝕨𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤. 𝕀𝕥 𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕦𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕪 𝕓𝕦𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕤 𝕚𝕥𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗 𝕚𝕟 𝕕𝕒𝕣𝕜𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕤 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕘𝕣𝕠𝕨𝕤 𝕨𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤” ℂ. 𝕁𝕠𝕪𝔹𝕖𝕝𝕝
It is 4 am and I am about to meet you. I have been waiting to see you, but even more to hear your first cry. I wanted your cry to cover all the squeaking, distorting, twisting sounds of the world locking down, pressing down on my heart so deeply. Nonetheless, there was no time for rehearsals nor deep research on where this fear originated from. We had to follow specific protocols meticulously: learn on the go, keep our hearts calm and become an expert in the twenty-second hand-washing matrix.
…but above all DO NOT FORGET TO BREATHE, through it all.
And thus, in your beginning, we had to shut all doors. In most unusual and peculiar times, you came into this world my boy, I thought to myself in between fleeting birthing pains. These “in-between” moments were moments of bliss and becoming more aware of the upcoming “reality”. Life as we knew it until then, had to end. Sweeping alterations were demanded at once while diving into a new and somehow more silent world. “Would the pandemic make it braver?” I wondered among contractions.
Giving birth during a pandemic brought even more pressure on how the first days of your life would unfold. Some days were exciting, others painful, where sleepiness and confusion were mixed with bliss, delight, and radical changes. On some days, the hours were lazy and stubborn to accept their passing, while on other days, time was literally galloping, and tiny magical moments that “just happened” lost their story, as “there was no time” to document them rightfully. Meanwhile, slowly and silently an enclosure was growing around me, feeling like a massive cocoon.
Fair warning my dear, this is not a classical before-and-after Instagram story. This goes further and deeper into oneself, as this was undoubtedly a point of no-turning-back life moment in my motherhood journey. As a child, I was always intrigued and captivated by the story that often is missed and never explained. The state of “in-between”, after the BEFORE and before the AFTER. The time of captivity, quarantine, weakness, waiting, and, ultimately and irreversibly, being reborn and transformed. I often imagined that the caterpillar has a hard time believing that one day the sky will be her home. Does she even know about her transformation, her “becoming”?
“Impossible!”, is the resounding lie she hears quite often, yet the brave heart only sees in this word a new reality: “I’m possible”, breaking the lie and be-coming its utmost opposite.
The book I read to your siblings reminded me tenderly that I “can't go over it. I can't go under it”. There is only one way and that is called “going through”. Growing that cocoon felt captivating and meant accepting all: the poignant exposure, the haunting isolation, the lifting introspection, the enlightening prayer, and the embracing faith. Yet, to abide by the new-found changes there was no need to learn but to unlearn, to forget, get out of my knowledge, to pick out of oneself the weeds without disturbing the core. Unlearning as a mother is for sure one of the most humbling and overwhelming roller-coasters I ever imagined. While all that is visible to the eyes seems still, under the surface, layer by layer, all is breaking. Its beauty could only be anticipated and envisioned by continuous series of leaps of faith.
In that “in-between” state, there was one relentless and unstoppable LIGHT, pursuing me among all shadows. So, I stopped fighting. I stopped refusing the existence of darkness. Then my eyes started to recognize the abundance of light. The dappling and glorious morning light, the caressing afternoon light while holding you and nursing you for hours and hours. I began being grateful for the shadows as they always showed constantly where the light came from. In such “through” states, deep down lies the seed of our own transformation. The uncertainty of tomorrow made today more blissful. The darkness of the night made the first sun rays seem like entangling magic that I was drawn to engrave for years and years to come.
Above all, you were there, gentle and patient flourishing with me. No fear or worry about an unknown future was stronger than embracing our journey and reveling in the splendor of your smile, the delicacy of your fragrance, and the wonder of your healing touch. Contemplating upon our shared metamorphosis, I harnessed the cocooning time as we uncovered delight in capturing all these phases from struggling in the dark, the meltdowns, embracing my tears and failures, to the sudden sound of cracking and the growth of my wings. All worthy to be encapsulated and told to future generations.
Feeling changed and unchanged at the same time, while caring and loving you and your siblings, have brought a new sense of reverence and wonder, a new and deeper understanding of life, hence your name to remind me of this precious time together: Neo Sebastian (New Reverence). My sweet child, you made me listen to the cocoon’s cracking sound, announcing a new altered state of being flying out from the darkness, a hope-filling symphony to the heart.
Adapted from Michael Rosen, “We're Going on a Bear Hunt!”
A shorter version of this article has been published in 2020 in "This Detailed Life" Photography Magazine