EARTH/SIDE: FOR GABRIEL is a mosaic of writings from 2020-2021 that I started weaving together after birthing my son, Gabriel, in November 2020. This piece began as a non-linear narrative about the time in my life leading up to his conception, through my pregnancy, and into the post-birthing cuarentena (40 days postpartum) and fourth trimester. As I was piecing these writings together to become a cohesive poem, it took on a more linear shape; this was happening alongside my internal processing of our birth story.
At the heart of this poem is the recognition of pregnancy as a middle-ground or liminal space between the worlds of conceiving (creation) and birthing (guiding someone into an earthly existence). Dar a luz (to birth/bring forth light) is a transitional state between inside/outside of the womb. Through the process of birth, the birthing person takes on the journey of guiding a new being from one phase of being into another. This poem is also about the passage of stepping into being a mama, about the shift in identity from my pre-baby days to understanding what it means to be a mama to a new baby.
As I was writing this poem, I was also thinking about how Gabriel was “transverse breech” (in biomedical terms), and despite my efforts to encourage him to move, he stayed in this sideways lying position (necessitating a c-section). While assembling this poem, I was surrendering the “perfect birth” narrative I had created by seeing that despite things not going how I envisioned, I brought strength to the beautiful ceremony of welcoming Gabriel.