– an excerpt from the book: “Agave Marias – border crossers, boundary breakers.” by various authors.
Giving birth is difficult enough with one woman involved; imagine when it takes ten. We conceived of this anthology in October of 2004. We had no instruction manual to follow, no physician to monitor our pregnancy, check our blood pressure, give us internal examinations or prepare us for delivery. How hard could it be?
The first trimester was easy. With cheeks flushed and eyes bright, we planned the book: cover art, title, contents. We named our baby before we even knew its gender and did what pregnant women do to celebrate; we went out together and ate a hearty meal. When we discovered another woman had already used our name, we reacted badly. How could this happen to us?
The second trimester was challenging. The early signs of life in the womb, the flutters and twinges, became kicks below the belt. We had indigestion, heartburn, insomnia and haemorrhoids. The articles started to pile up; we felt ultra sensitive to criticism. “What do you mean, you don’t like it? What’s wrong with it? Give me a break; I’m doing my best.” We whined, claiming we didn’t know how to set margins, or double space or choose fonts. Why was this so complicated?
In the third trimester, we settled down. We got used to carrying around all that extra weight, the sore feet and sciatica and loss of libido. The end, after all, was in sight. We stopped arguing and started cooperating. We found a copyeditor, a layout person and a printer. Canadian novelist Sharon Butala (with one boy child and fifteen books to her credit) came to Ajijic for a visit and did a little impromptu birth coaching. She told us to be proud of our pregnancy and what we had accomplished to date, to keep our priorities in perspective. After all, the baby will be what the baby will be: boy or girl, genius or average, homely or handsome. It’s the love, the nurturing, the friendship and support along the way that makes it all worthwhile. Prize-winning poet James Tipton recognized ours as a labour of love and encouraged us to keep going.
From October 2004 to June 2005, we conceived and brought forth our firstborn child. How are the ten mothers doing? Well, three went up north to escape for the summer; seven are busy planning vacations or beach houses or their next writing projects. The good thing about having partners in your pregnancy is that you have ten wet nurses, ten nannies, ten women to share your load. You’re not left walking the floor at 2:00 a.m. all alone.
“Why do you need a writing group anyway?” asked my husband. “All you do is complain about them. Don’t you think it’s time you flew solo?”
“Are you crazy? I need their encouragement.”
This past winter the members of the group have met challenges that had nothing to do with writing. We have witnessed one another lose husbands, gain grandchildren and learn of serious family illnesses. As our birthing coach said, what’s important is friendship in writing.
Mexconnect features full-length excerpts from the book Agave Marias – border crossers, boundary breakers.
- First Flight by Gloria Marthai
- The Virgin Dialogue by Judy Dykstra-Brown
- The Wedding by Gloria Marthai
- Going for a Mexican Ride by dory jones
- Maid in Mexico by Harriet Hart
- Three Señoras Named Lola by Gloria Marthai
- The Lady Is a Tramp by Nina Discombe
- The Delivery by Harriet Hart