If my brother is in my Mother’s stomach, then where does the lentil soup go? My Mother had just finished her bowl of hot soup, and I was staring at her swollen stomach. With each spoonful of soup she ate, I winced, thinking of my baby brother swimming for dear life in that cauldron called her stomach.
I knew her stomach was really big, but was it big enough to hold a baby and all that hot soup?
I should never have asked her where I came from. She told me that I grew in her stomach. For a little child, the imagery is full of danger. How do you breath in there? How do you eat? Most of all, how do you get out.
Getting out of the stomach may be the most incomprehensible event. Did the doctor just cut open the stomach, reach in and take the baby out? Even if a Mother chanced identifying the vagina as the exit, there was no way a child could reconcile toilet function with the birth of a baby. Phooey! Gross!
We are still left with the dual functioning stomach – food storage and baby brooder. Fortunately, most children do not ask about the food function. If they did, Mother’s would be required to recognize the possible existence of a womb or uterus, or perhaps, a “special place” just below the belly button. Once another compartment is identified, the confusion can be eliminated. Without some attempt at clarifying the mysteries of birth, a child must wish for their Mother to starve for nine months.
“I hope mommy doesn’t drink a lot today, or my baby will drown.” That night my Mother called me into her room. I came over to her bed, and she pointed to where the baby was kicking her side. Thank God. The baby survived the lentil soup.
Sometimes when I felt the “leg” kick, I was certain that the baby was fighting for life. If the “leg” kick was at the top of the swollen stomach, that meant the baby’s head was at the bottom – right in the middle of lunch!
By the way, how did my Mother know it was a leg and not an arm, or elbow? How could she tell? She couldn’t! It was an educated guess. It may not have been a guess at all, but rather a Mother’s need to answer the unanswerable queries of a child who would believe anything a Mother said.
Pregnancies and birth are unique and memorable events for all except little children. For the young child the magic is gone, because Mothers can account for everything. It is in the accounting that the magic dies and the terror and fear are born.