Of Meadows and Maternity

A few years ago, I enrolled in a labor and delivery course  in preparation for the birth of my son. The relentlessly optimistic instructor urged each of us expectant moms to visualize a peaceful, inspiring image. This visualization  would be used during labor “to alleviate any discomfort” we might experience.
Though skeptical, I allowed my mind to flit through numerous  images: a favorite family dog (the three-legged one named “Lucky”), a starry riverside camp site, the attic of a childhood friend. Finally, I settled on one of Nancy’s Meadow in the fall, blue sky arching overhead, hawks circling just beneath a thin line of cloud, trees edged in red and gold. While the other images I’d recalled had flickered like birthday candles, the image of Nancy’s Meadow burned strong and steady.

At this point, you might be asking yourself whether I was actually able to visualize myself into a tranquil delivery. The honest answer would have to be absolutely not. In those best-forgotten hours just prior to my son’s squalling entrance into the world, serene nature scenes were far from my mind. In retrospect, though, I find it pretty amazing that the image I chose to visualize was straight out of my workplace. How many people can say that? Does the president visualize the Oval Office in times of stress, or Bill Gates his computer monitor? I doubt it.

My son is four now, and what interests him most about the Arboretum are Miss Allison’s pickup truck, Miss Joanne’s trailer, and the trees that fell in last year’s hurricane. The word “serene” has yet to enter his vocabulary. That’s okay with me. Because whenever life gets a little too crazy in my house, I can always close my eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize Nancy’s Meadow.

by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator


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