Labor And Life

by Patrick Appel

Ta-Nehisi's meditates on the birth of his son:

For reasons beyond me, childbirth--in the popular American mind--is swaddled in gossamer, gift-wrap, and icing. Beneath the pastel Hallmark cards and baby showers, behind the flowers, lies a truth encoded, still, in our wording, but given only minimal respect--the charge of shepherding life is labor. It's work. And you need only look to the immediate past, or you need only look around the world, or you need only come close to losing the love of your small, young life to understand a correlating truth--pregnancy is potentially lethal work.