I Was Pleased To Labor There
Real talk (because it’s the only kind I want to do these days): There was a moment during my son’s birth when I thought that I was dying, and if I wasn’t, wanted to. I more or less felt the same way for months afterward, and sometimes do, even still. It’s one of the (big) reasons why starting on election day, I was hospitalized for postpartum anxiety and depression for seven days. It’s also why the Women’s March was so meaningful to me.
I woke up and rode the bus into New York City for the first time since moving to New Jersey. I sat by the lone woman with a sign and had the loveliest conversation. She helped me find my way when we arrived at the Port Authority Terminal. From there, I gathered at the Manhattan Temple with new and old friends from three boroughs and three states. One old friend is three months older than my Cora. Another is as old as Claudia Bushman, because she is Claudia Bushman.
From there, our group of women, children, and men moved through the city together to our march point. One moment found us in Grand Central Station. I teared up at the sheer number of people wearing kitty hats, and that sometimes it was a teenage boy and his father, and some other times it was a group of women older than Claudia. And then I felt it: (big) hope. Big hope for the first time in moons.
That hopeful feeling stayed with me the whole day, including as we stood in place for hours waiting for our turn to “march,” even before I understood that standing in place for hours was itself the march. I read funny/inspiring/challenging/tired signs and caught up with dear friends. I watched as a mother of five in my group opened her bag wide and offered to share her snacks. I watched another woman accept. I watched strangers standing shoulder to shoulder open wide themselves, first for a volunteer to pass, and then a woman with her seeing eye dog. I watched patience. So, so much patience. I watched more, and I felt more, including a measure of holiness I cannot forget.
When it was our turn to walk, I didn’t get very far. The body of marchers moved at a snail slow pace (think a quarter of a block in an hour), and my own body told me that I needed to go home and nurse my son. So I did.
Yesterday I did the same, holding his sick and sad body against mine while also podcast talking to five women I admire about our marching experiences. You can hear him, and them, here. I add my hearty amen to Gina Colvin’s last remark: “We were glad to show up.”