The Daffodil Project: an essay on birth, beginnings and identity

The Daffodil Project: an essay on birth, beginnings and identity
Posted on Wed 19 May 2021

CPA client and disability advocate Hannah Diviney is currently working on a book about her experience as a woman living with cerebral palsy. Read on for an essay extract about birth, beginnings and identity. 

When people decide to have a baby, that decision comes with a bunch of expectations. Forty weeks. Enough time to watch the swell of a belly as a new human being grows inside, to marvel at the capacity of the human body for change and adaptation. A painted nursery. A name you’re certain on. Prenatal classes, designed to quell the anxious itchiness I imagine every new parent feels, from the moment the two lines come through to the careful precision of that first drive home. 

The moment I imagine, it slams into you that the hospital is going to let you go home and trust you to raise another human being, when you’re fairly certain there’s a neon sign above your head that says, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’.  

That’s what my mum and dad were supposed to get. Time. But they didn’t. 

Instead, they only managed one prenatal class. No clothes picked out or nursery painted. A hazy idea of a name tickling the edges of their minds. That’s what happens when 40 weeks somehow shapeshifts into 28. 

My lungs bloomed in August, among daffodils instead of under jacaranda blossom in November, like they were supposed to. 

What a curveball for two first-time parents who only wanted their baby to be safe. Mum told me once, she’s never been happier to hear someone cry because my lungs weren’t supposed to be developed. And yet I screamed.  

Science tells us, that the womb is supposed to be the safest place for a baby, until they’ve had 9 months of development and are ready to take on the world. But there’s something to be said for the literally cellular deep instinct we have as humans to survive. I like to think that, that survival instinct is what had me pushing the eject button before my lease was up. It’s not my Mum’s fault. Or any medical professional’s.

It’s not some fun twist of fate, for the poetic people who believe ‘everything happens for a reason’ ( a mindset I truly despise). It just is. It just happened. And I guess in many ways, this is the story of what you do with the things that ‘just are.’ 

Hannah Diviney is a 22-year old writer and disability advocate based in Sydney. She is currently working on a book about her experience as a woman living with disabilities.

You can listen to Hannah read the full essay here, and you can also follow her journey on Instagram and Twitter.

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