The mind of a woman in labor is unparalleled in both strength and vulnerability. In this personal essay, I recount how I harnessed my memories about my mother and grief over her recent passing to cope with the isolation and pain of my labor and delivery on June 2, 2020—what became known as Blackout Tuesday—during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a first-time mother, being dropped off at the hospital while in pre-labor and walking through the double doors alone triggered the memories of entering the intensive care unit at the hospital where my mother died—the last time I had been in a hospital. It was a reminder that some spaces have room only for one. With my memory as my companion and labor support until my husband and I were permitted to be reunited hours after both testing negative for the virus, I navigate the meaning and purpose of pain as I push closer to giving life. This essay emerged during my first year of motherhood, out of my grapple with giving life while healing from my mother’s death, to gradually unveil my long-sought proverbial bend in the road.

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