Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

quote- babies: possibilities and reality March 16, 2014

Filed under: Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:15 pm
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My daughter was born on Good Friday, and Easter Sunday found me in the hospital chapel.  The pastor was speaking about change.  I sat in the back and bawled.  I didn’t know exactly why I was crying, but I was overwhelmed with post-partum hormones and the realization that my life would never be the same.  This conversation between characters Claire and Jenny reminded me of that time in my life.

“I’ve thought that perhaps that’s why women are so often sad, once the child’s born,” she said meditatively, as though thinking aloud.  “Ye think of them while ye talk and you have a knowledge of them as they are inside ye,  the way you think they are.  And then they’re born, and they’re different—not the way ye thought of them inside at all.  And ye love them, o’ course, and get to know them the way they are.. but still, there’s the thought of the child ye once talked to in your heart, and that child is gone.  So I think it’s the grievin’ for the child unborn that ye feel, even as ye hold the born one in your arms.”  She dipped her bead and kissed her daughter’s downy skull.

                “Yes,” I said.  “Before…it’s all possibility.  It might be a son, or a daughter.  A plain child, a bonny one.  And then it’s born, and all the things it might have been are gone, because now it is.”              

                …”And a daughter is born, and the son that she might have been is dead,” she said quietly.  “And the bonny lad at your breast has killed the wee lassie ye thought ye carried.  And ye weep for what you didn’t know, that’s gone for good, until you know the child you have, and then at last it’s as thought they could never have been other than they are , and ye feel naught but joy in them.  But ‘til then, ye weep easy.” 

(Diana Gabaldon in Dragonfly in Amber  p. 549)


14 Responses to “quote- babies: possibilities and reality”

  1. beijas Says:

    Yes, perfect!

  2. Cassie Says:

    These books have literally – LITERALLY literally – been life-changing for me. I discovered them by accident a month or so ago, and have been steadily devouring them since then. I cannot get enough. My husband is Scottish (like, for real Scottish. Born there, lived there, accent and kilt and everything), and we had a long-distance relationship for quite some time early on in our romance — so much of what Claire and Jamie face personally reminds me of our struggles, and each book finds me falling more in love with the two of them, as well as my husband. THIS GOT LONG. I just wanted to say, YES, to both this excerpt and to Diana Gabaldon getting it so right, so often.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your accident, but glad that Outlander is proving a solace for you. How lovely to have all the genuine Scottish connections to relate to!

      My editor nagged me for a couple of years before I finally ordered the first as an ebook from my local library fall of 2011. I wasn’t too far in before I downloaded the next two. Then the next three. Then the last two. I re-read each book 2 or 3 times before it expired. I finished the books and was devouring everything I could find on Diana when I realized that she came to Surrey Writers’ Conference. I had attended in the past, but not seen her there. (It’s huge). Of course, the day I made the connection and looked it up, it was the Sunday the conference ended for that year, but the following June, on the first day of registration, I registered and booked an appointment with her. I have now seen her many times, and she has offered many kind, encouraging, and inspiring words on my writing. What a wonderful lady she is.

      I now own paper (many autographed) and audio copies of the whole series, and I have wallpapered my dining room with an old copy of Drums of Autumn I was given. 🙂 60 days ’til she’s here for Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival! 🙂

      I’m not sure you’ve seen this poem that I wrote for Diana last summer. I still chuckle remembering her husky giggle when she brought it up at our last meeting. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your healing goes well!

      • Cassie Says:

        I could not think for the life of me why you would have thought I’d had an accident until I read how poorly constructed my sentence was — I discovered the books ACCIDENTALLY would have been a much more clear way of stating it. Ha! I am fortunately very healthy at the moment, but thank you for being so kind, anyway. 😀

        I love your stories about the series! And how wonderful that you’ve met her and been encouraged by her. I always feel like part of her must reside in Claire — given how many moments of profound wisdom there are in the series, I’d say Diana must be at least as much as wisewoman as Claire is. I’m off to read your poem now!

      • Oh dear. Well, I am glad you’re in good health! 🙂

      • erbiage Says:

        wallpapered my dining room? please share that. May we have a picture?

      • Here you go, Eric. The dressing of the space looks different since the table has been re-oriented and the kids’ portraits have been replaced with different paintings, but the wall is the same. 🙂

      • erbiage Says:

        What a great idea! Thank you

      • No problem. I’m not sure how long I’ll leave it, since it really doesn’t play particularly nicely with the adjoining living room (I suppose I could find another book and keep going?) I do wish I’d had the gumption to invite Diana Gabaldon in to see it when we drove by, but she’s seen pictures and said nice things.

  3. I don’t know this author but I must surely now seek her out. The excerpt states so well that feeling of loss and gift after the birth. I recall, particularly with my first, feeling sad at the loss of my bump. And tears there were plenty of too. Even while I was in awe at my baby I was a bit of a wreck in those early first few days. I think it is a beautiful explanation for what might possibly be going through our minds and hearts at that time. Thanks for sharing this. I will now go exploring. 🙂 x

    • Considering that her novels are being made into a series being filmed in Scotland right now, you definitely need to check her out! Historical adventure romance novels set in Scotland and later in the Southern US. Quite fascinating to see how Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed attempt to reclaim the throne impacted North American settlement.

  4. erbiage Says:

    Reblogged this on erbiage and commented:
    My god. So much in here. this moves me so.

  5. erbiage Says:

    So I’ve been stewing on the concepts in the quote and finally got some words together about it. It got way more selfish than I intended but it just started flowing.

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