On December 5th, 2009, at 9:36am (GMT +8), Joshua Joel Connault was born in King Edward Memorial Hospital, in Perth. We have been waiting for him for over 8 years, so his birth is especially poignant to us. We have had a long time to prepare ourselves for him. I found, however, that there was no way in the world I could have been prepared for the birth experience.
I thought I understood pain, having had what I call “my share” of it throughout my life. To compare my experience of pain with what I saw Anne-Marie go through, is like comparing water with vegemite, a candle’s light with the sun, or the sound of a pin dropping to the ground with that of a jet plane taking off. I never had the faintest idea of what “labour” meant, I thought it was just “painful”, and then baby was born and it was all forgotten.
I thought I had respect for women. Now, as I reflect back on this experience, I acknowledge that there is no way I could have endured through this, I would have probably requested a total anesthetic during pre-labour! In my mind I imagined the billions of women throughout the earth’s history who were willing to suffer this so that a little child could be born, and the countless billions who were willing to do it again after having experienced it once! How noble! How inspiring! How awesome!
Now I know that most women have a tremendous advantage over most men: the experience of pain willingly taken for the most noble and beautiful of all tasks: the creation of a new life. How much we have to learn from them! I have already learned a lot from Anne-Marie, from seeing her courage, her strength, her willingness to sacrifice everything for our son. I hope I can one day have the same courage.