Saturday, June 28, 2008

A beautiful surprise

Imagine this picture, because I cannot post it: It is a close up of a woman. Her face is glistening with sweat, her hair damp from the efforts of childbirth. She is looking down at her newborn child, who is shielded from the photo by her mother's hands, which are clasping her to her heart. All one can see is the tiny, vernix-covered hand, splayed wide in the surprise of having been born, the bloodied, tiny head, and then the mother's face: the tears, the agony, the sheer joy. She is breaking into newness.

I received this photo in an e-mail announcing the birth of one brand new, beautiful, tiny child somewhere in the Western half of the country. The photo was followed by dozens more of one of the most beautiful, angelic little babies I have ever seen. There was something about this baby. There were photos of the mother, of the father, and of the sister, who was perhaps four. I recognized nobody.

Who were these mysterious people, who had blessed me with the news of their beautiful daughter's birth? They named her two names that mean (approximately) light and little champion. Oh how strong and beautiful. This e-mail came in to me. It seemed to say something. I pored over the list of others CC'd in the e-mail, and came up with nothing. How had this come my way?

The look on the woman's face, I recognized this. I could see something. I read the words again, and my eye caught something else: an allusion to "the world's longest pregnancy". I deduced that this beautiful baby had come from a place of despair. That there was someone else, someone not in the pictures. I ran through all the people I could think of, and came up with nothing.

I replied to the e-mail.

Your baby is amazing and beautiful.Who are you? I don't recognize your name, or anyone else on the forwards... I wonder how on earth I got on your email list. Congratulations.
Birth is an amazing thing, and a live birth a miracle that we should never take for granted.
May your beautiful daughter have a long, happy life

Today, my answer came. This was a woman who, long ago, I had sent an e-mail to after the loss of her newborn son. She was the aunt of my friend, thousands of miles away, and we had briefly connected.

I felt so grateful to her for having included me in her joy, and I wrote back and told her so. I feel fulfilled today, knowing that one more broken heart has been given a chance at new life.

Congratulations, you beautiful family you, all five of you.


Awake said...

How wonderful! Hopefully the two of you can stay in contact and you can benefit from more wonderful photos coming to your inbox.

Meg said...

That is beautiful. You must have really comforted her in her time of need. What a gift. Thanks for sharing it with us, too.

Charlotte's Mama said...

This is the weird thing-- I really didn't comfort her, she just read my article and we had a few 2 line emails. So it really did feel like a gift from her, undeserved, but much appreciated.