Childbirth & Transformation
…shedding my past life
In the dim glow of a streetlight, a strange silhouette caught my eye. A miniature totem protruded from the trunk of our pine tree. I was looking a cicada in the eye, during the most vulnerable moment of her life.
After between 14 and 17 years eating sap and thriving deep underground, this cicada nymph left the safety of the dark earth to shed her former life. She will spend the last chapter as an adult, with the sole purpose of procreating. She will only live another 3 to 6 weeks, sacrificing her body for her offspring.
A cicada’s only defense is living out of reach underground, flight during their brief adulthood, and camouflage. As I watch her cling to the bark unable to move or hide, she is the definition of vulnerability. She arduously breaks through her former self with shriveled wings, unable to even crawl away. Her brown exoskeleton left behind to reveal her true self, a soft surprisingly light and colorful being. The white, blue, orange and yellow can be seen only this moment, as her brilliance and struggle cuts through the darkness. In hours her brightness will dull to primarily black and brown. Tomorrow to any who didn’t witness her metamorphosis or know of her sacrifice, she will be no more than any other insect.
I think of my own experience shedding my past life to become a mother- my pregnancy, birth of our son, and the slow recovery of my body. This too will be only a moment in my life, but is defining. Like all mothers, only those who witness this cicada’s transformation know who she truly is, and what she has sacrificed for the next generation.
From this season on, I will never look at a woman with children the same way again, or another cicada, for that matter.
Wholeness through transformation.
Love, “Whole Hannah” – inner i art