A Birth Story – Meaghan O’Connell

A Birth Story by Meaghan O’Connell for Longreads via Marco Arment

In doing a little research for the next episode of The Max Frequency Podcast (recording very soon update: the episode is live), I came across this story on Marco’s blog. His enthusiasm for the story encouraged me to save it (although, not with Instapaper).

It’s long (save it), and I wanted to quote almost every part. Here’s one of the many sections that made me laugh out loud while reading it in bed at 1 AM last night…

In typical Meaghan style, it’s refreshingly humane, surprisingly informative, hilarious, and terrifying.

Having read Meaghan’s tale today, I realize that I glossed over Marco’s closing word of “terrifying.” As someone who is about to become a dad in—checks the calendar—37 days (give or take), I’m not sure this was a wise decision. I took multiple breaks in my reading; not due to its length, but due to the overwhelming emotional response of fear, anticipation, and joy that I had. But as strong as my response was, so to was my desire to continue reading. I could not stay away for long.

There were two bits I did want to quote:

We couldn’t see in there; couldn’t access it. This was what I hated most about pregnancy and what I wanted over with more than anything: the opacity of it all. I wanted him out where I could see him.

The entire pregnancy has felt like this to us. I feel even one more step removed since the kid is growing inside my wife’s womb. All I get is feeling the occasional kick. I have never been so grateful to be kicked in my life, but I want to see my daughter.

He didn’t have a name yet, because nothing had felt completely right, the way we thought it would. We wanted, or I wanted, a revelation; a name that was traditional, simple, strong, but that all of society had somehow forgotten; a name that we alone had unearthed. I wanted everyone to kick themselves, wishing they’d thought of it first. I wanted it to be hiding in plain sight.

This never happened.

We do have a name picked out, but it’s a secret to everybody. Landing on her name did feel like a revelation to me. Years of ideas and months of discussion coalesced into a lightbulb moment for our family. I’ll never forget the night we decided.

As thankful as I am that Meaghan shared her story, I hope ours is at least a little bit shorter. And if you too about to become a parent, maybe save this one for after you enter the club.

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