Giving birth is one of the most magical moments. Experiencing the culmination as a life that has been living inside of you and developing for nine months comes outside of your body is amazing. It is inexplicable. Another thing that struck me about the process of giving birth is the feeling that one has when they look at their child and see how perfect they are. As my daughter lay on me for skin to skin, I was mesmerized as I looked at her and felt her on my chest; every feature, every part of her was just so perfect.
Now, let’s talk about this word perfect. I’m not talking about the kind of perfect as in “perfect is the enemy of the good.” I’m talking about perfect meaning complete. As I experienced with the birth of my daughter, when a baby is born, there is a sense of wholeness.
That feeling of wholeness, of perfection, comes from the recognition that they have entered this world as one of God’s divine creations; it is a feeling of awe of the beautiful divine being before you.
The word for wholeness and completion in Hebrew is “shleimut.” And the word for peace is “shalom.” In Hebrew, there is a concept that the three-letter root of a word shows the semantic relationship between words. Shleimut and shalom both have the three-letter root “shin-lamed-mem.” Therefore, you see the relationship between wholeness and peace. When something is whole, when it is exactly the way it is meant to be, one feels peace. This is the exact opposite of the feeling one has when they feel that something is just not right and it goes against their expectations. When something appears to be different from how we want it, this causes a feeling of tumult within us; we feel pulled in various directions, wishing our reality would be different.
As I’ve written about in the past, I have a strong inner critic, as well as a feeling of inadequacy and lack about how I look, what I do, etc. Recently, I found myself allowing this critic to speak about my daughter. The sense of awe of her being birthed into this world fading away ever so slightly just enough to lead me to forget how perfect she was the moment she exited my body and was welcomed into this world.
My greatest wish for my daughter, even before she was born, was that she have self-acceptance. That she be happy in her skin. If others praise her, that’s all well and good, but let it be a cherry on top, not something she craves or needs.
How can I, how can we, remind ourselves that we were all once that newborn life emerging into this world? Would it help to shmear a gelatinous substance on ourselves and slide down an enclosed tube-like slide? Or perhaps we can do this mentally, since it sounds like that would get pretty messy! By reenacting our own birth, we remind ourselves that we entered this world perfect, complete. And, as hard as it may be to accept, we are still that very being—complete and perfect just as we are.