Delightful Interlude

It was a privilege to be with her


see her courage and perseverance

hold her hand and help her scream

to be pushed     pulled     punched

and yelled at

to cry     laugh     and sigh

with her

to breathe through contractions

and pause     in silence.


It was a privilege

to talk her through the appearance

of her baby’s head

like a squashed      wet      tennis ball

then the tiny face     hands     shoulders

and body.


It was a privilege

to witness the first bonding stroke

on sticky red skin

to cut the cord

that had been the child’s lifeline

for months

and to hear     the first splutter

and cry.


It was a privilege to be with her

to share the arrival

of her daughter


to welcome     her own

new granddaughter.


c.  Kathryn Coughran


First published: 1994

In: Family Matters

(Kathryn Andersen)