On any other day she would be considered unkempt.
Her loosened hair is now matted amongst three day old braids. There are fluids staining the back of her blue gown.
She has unbrushed teeth, despite vomiting all the curry from the night before. She’s eaten only popsicles since, and those too, pink, purple and orange, find their way to the bottom of the barf bucket, being transported to her side wherever she roams.
She sucks on a mint once, and only because it was offered to her by someone else.
On any other day she is careless, but this is a woman in the rhythm of early labour.
About once an hour her partner needs to remind her and then usher her to the toilet, where she then screams in his ear. And then he must lift her off too. And she never considers flushing, never stops to wash her hands.
She has growing stains beneath her pits, so much sweat that it is pooling. And still she is uninterested in a bath, despite people reminding her of that option.
On any other day she is foul, but this is a woman in active labour.
And she makes wretched sounds. Some low, more high. She does not hold back, ever. Never considers the person sleeping next door to her, that thought never once crosses her mind. She does not take into account this is the middle of the night. Worse yet, she did this the night before, too, since she’s been at this racket for 24 hours now.
On any other day, she is inconsiderate. But she is a woman in the transition of labour.
And so we rub her back in unison with her moaning in just the place she yells at us to, we squeeze her hands in perfect time. We reward her laboured breathing, and the bags under her eyes are wiped with cool cloths. We put four pillows behind her because she says three are not enough.
We cheer on her every ounce of energy expelled, and then when she tells us to shut up, we listen and respect her wish.
On any other day, she is rude and bossy. But she is a woman owning her power, and this is her birth.
By the end of the 30 hour ordeal she lay exposed on a hospital bed dripping in clear, brown, red and pink liquids. She’s completely naked, if not for still wearing the three day old wool socks with the two pink stripes at the top, the left sock now splattered in her bright red blood.
The room buzzes in response to her, and yet to her, it is purely still. She ignores them all, her purple placenta laying between her open legs.
On any other day this is all too raw, and yet today she is immune to any self-deprecating thoughts.
Because there on her sweating, bloodied chest lays a wet and bloodied baby.
The daughter she made had arrived, with her red hair to match.
On any other day, in any other context, where she lay naked in blood splattered socks she is a mess. But not on this day.
On this day, she became a mother. On this day, she is divine.