Saturday, February 28, 2009

The cavemanperson in me is alive and well

A good friend of mine is due to give birth within the next few weeks and I have become aware of a very strong need to be with her around about the time the baby comes. It's not the first time I have felt this way since moving away - it happened when my niece was born, in Cape Town, as well as when two of my other friends had their babies, also in South Africa, while I was over here in Ireland.
And this one is even further away, in New Zealand.

Don't get me wrong, I pretty much always miss my friends. I think we make the strongest friendships in our younger years and these are the people I'm talking about; the ones with whom we have grown from girls into women. We have seen each other through falling in love and heartbreak, through marriages, births, divorces and the deaths of loved ones.

It is in these milestone times that women draw strength and support from each other as much as sharing happiness. The term "I'm happy for you" isn't just a pleasantry, we feel genuine joy when a friend finds true happiness.

Childbirth, however, is a time when I feel a much stronger pull than simply missing my friend. It is an instinct, almost primal, to gather around her, make tea, boil water (for the tea, perhaps?)... whatever, just make sure mum and baby are nurtured.
(And husbands, too, I suppose, although they should be well able to feed themselves if they have reached a point where they feel they are able to become fathers!)
But, no offense, this is about a woman and her new offspring.

Perhaps it stems from centuries ago, when communities lived in closer quarters, when men went out hunting for ages at a time and women were left to take care of... pretty much everything else, really. In fact I have a very clear picture in my mind of me, with my closest friends, my mother and my sisters, all hovering around a woman with her newborn child, in our cave wearing clothes made from animal skins, cooking meals over an open fire. It seems to fit in with how I am feeling now.

Unfortunately, I will have to make do with emails and phone calls and digital photographs and SMS messages again. It's a poor substitute, but then again, it's better than nothing, and I know that my friend knows I am with her in spirit.

Say, I am kind of liking that picture of being a cave-dweller; civilization is sooo overrated sometimes!


BazL said...

I'm so happy for Gill - it's uncanny how we lose someone special and at the same time someone new is born elsewhere - she will appreciate your friendship over the next few months. Luv me.xx

angel said...

i think its awesome that you want to be with your friends, i feel the same way at "milestone" moments in my friends lives.

LiVEwiRe said...

Sometimes I think I missed this chapter altogether. But I am all for the cave dwelling. As long as it means that I can still pawn most of the domestics off on someone else. Icky food is still not acceptable and I will still have the internet, right? ;) I can't lie... I'm just thinking of running amok with a I'm glad you have such a close connection. Now you'll have more (little) arms to welcome you when you visit NZ!

Anonymous said...

Cave-dweller...? Naaw thanks - I like my mod.cons. too much. Just think - no hair drier!

Terri said...

BazL - The circle of life and all that

Angel - I think maybe it's a girl thing..?

LiVEwiRe - I also just realised the plumbing might be a bit iffy... may have to re-think this idea.

Mom - No hair drier? Oh well then, that settles it!