The Cocooning of Motherhood
β€œπ•‹π•™π•– 𝕔𝕒π•₯π•–π•£π•‘π•šπ•π•π•’π•£ 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕀 π•Ÿπ• π•₯ π•“π•–π•”π• π•žπ•– 𝕒 𝕓𝕦π•₯π•₯𝕖𝕣𝕗𝕝π•ͺ 𝕓π•ͺ π•₯π•–π•π•π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣π•ͺ𝕓𝕠𝕕π•ͺ π•šπ•₯ 𝕙𝕒𝕀 π•¨π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜π•€. 𝕀π•₯ 𝕒𝕔π•₯𝕦𝕒𝕝𝕝π•ͺ π•“π•¦π•£π•šπ•–π•€ π•šπ•₯𝕀𝕖𝕝𝕗 π•šπ•Ÿ π••π•’π•£π•œπ•Ÿπ•–π•€π•€ π•’π•Ÿπ•• π•˜π•£π• π•¨π•€ π•¨π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜π•€β€ β„‚. 𝕁𝕠π•ͺ𝔹𝕖𝕝𝕝
ItΒ Β  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 deep. Nonetheless, there was no time for rehearsals nor deep research on where this fear originated from. We had to meticulously follow specific protocols: learn on the go, keep your heart calm and become an expert in the twenty-seconds hand-washingΒ 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. This β€œin between” moments were moments of bliss yet also moments of becoming more aware of the upcoming β€œreality”. 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. β€œWould 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 exciting, others painful, where sleepiness, confusion was mixed with bliss, delight and radical changes. During some days, the hours were lazy and stubborn to accept their passing, while other days, time was literally galloping and tiny magical moments that β€œjust happened” lost their story, as β€œthere 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 β€œin 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 β€œbe-coming”?
β€œImpossible!”, is the resounding lie she hears quite often, yet the brave heart only sees in this word a new reality: β€œI’m possible”, breaking the lie and be-coming its utmost opposite.
The book I read to your siblings reminded me tenderly that I β€œcan't go over it. I can't go underΒ it”[1]. There is only one way and that is called β€œgoing through”. Growing that cocoon felt captivating and meant accepting all: the poignant exposure, the haunting isolation, the lifting introspection, the enlightening prayer, the embracing faith. Yet, to abide to 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-coastersΒ 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 β€œin 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 recognizeΒ 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 comes from. In such β€œthrough” 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 revel in the splendorΒ 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.

[1]Adapted from Machael Rosen, β€œWe're Going on a Bear Hunt!”  
A shorter version of this article has beenΒ published in 2020 in "This Detailed Life" Photography MagazineΒ 
https://www.thisdetailedlife.com/product-page/this-detailed-life-magazine​​​​​​​

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