~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course
PROMPT INSTRUCTIONS: Re-write a piece that needs clearer purpose. Identify in one sentence the goal of the essay, then advance that purpose.
One sentence: Convey the sense of abandonment felt during a child-birth experience and the subsequent feelings of failure and self-doubt that arise as a result. (Note: Sally is the midwife)
Sally moves her face back to mine with a look that solemnly conveys, either get this child out, right now at home, or we’re going to the hospital.
I am not religious, but I believe myself to be spiritual. In this moment, however, the delineation between the two is meaningless. Religious or spiritual, it matters not. Life and death weigh upon me, and I call upon every deity, avatar and saint that I can conjure: God, Goddess, All that Is, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Mary, Meher Baba, Mary Magdalene, Infinity…please help me birth this baby. Please offer up your divine powers to help me get this child out.
There has never been a moment when my prayers have mattered more. Yet, as I hear my inner pleas to every figurehead I can imagine, all requests fall flat. It’s as though my words are rote recitations, no substance. I flail to feel some kind of connection to these supreme beings. In the flickers of candlelight, the thumb-tacked, wise-eyed photos of a few, gaze upon me from a nearby wall. All seems a mockery, two-dimensional, paper-thin. I fumble at the door of distant acquaintances, wondering if they ever really lived there.
I am stunned to silence, falling. Fast and certainly, I am encompassed by a void of black nothingness, infinite in its depth, indifferent to my plight. There is no ground in this abyss. Any thought, any semblance of a foothold to secure me, quickly evaporates into empty space. At the time when I need Grace most, I am free-falling into darkness.
If God exists, but is not here with me, than I must be doing something fundamentally wrong. Sally says I’m not pushing correctly, and it seems even my prayers are failing. My utter inability could mean death. I flounder in defeat as the next contraction builds.