Writing and Motherhood

Socrates is said to have described himself as a midwife, μαῖα, claiming himself to be barren of ideas yet able to help others bring their own ideas forth. It is interesting to consider that criticism does not happen at the same stage or time as creation, which complies with what we are taught in writing classes: to turn the internal editor off during brainstorming. It is also interesting to consider that for a really good idea to be born, one might not best go at it alone, but engage a midwife.
Midwifes can be friends, sometimes they are also our antagonists: without the stress they cause, we would not be spurred to go through the pains of labour. This corresponds, loosely, with the method of maieutics, whereby the truth, which we are all said to possess, if not consciously, is eked out through questions or problems. The method is connected to μαιευτικός - midwifery. I learned of it through Plato's Socratic dialogues. In the Theaetetus, the questions are indeed those of opposition. In the Meno, the questions are friendlier - there to lead a slave to "remember" that which he may not have been aware of in the first place.
It is fun to imagine what kinds of conversations one could have if this was the purpose of our words: to help each other clarify ideas. I think that teachers are supposed to help with this, but our world today is so confused that it is ludicrous to discuss there being a "truth" in public - for the parameters of knowledge, humility and discipline, have been muscled into the back seat.
It is not easy if we want to bring ideas into fruition: it is hard to draw them out, and sometimes we draw them out only to find they do not ring true. The antidote is to keep creating - hopefully with a midwife to guide it. If there is no midwife available - I find myself in want - then one is left to plod along as best as one can. This is the thought that gave birth to this post.
What happens when you feel it is time to bring a work to light? Do you just bare your chest and grin? Do your fears dampen the inherent light that would otherwise shine forth in glory? I feel that the latter applies to me, in that I mostly present my doubts side by side with a finished product. I think this is because of the lack of midwifery: my doubts are my midwife for "next time".
But now I am beginning to feel that my time of so much doubting must come to an end: one must grow, be grown, and accept oneself for the person one has formed into, gracefully. One must have faith that for all the mistakes and problems, there is something worthwhile in what brings forth. How many times have I seen other people, who I consider less aware, less self aware, less travelled, less experienced, shamelessly bringing something of their own forth - even with pride! There is no need for pride, but the lack thereof should not mean one would hide one's work.
When Socrates discussed his midwifery in the Theaetetus, he says that only one who has given birth themselves can become a midwife. I think that one can too quickly want to become the midwife of creation without this first stage, the stage of being a mother. This stage is the hardest of all, because one will see the product of one's imperfections. But I want to underline that one will also see the product of one's gifts.
It is most prudent, if we are to be mothers in life, to accept there will be flaws, but to learn to focus on the good and worthwhile aspects of what we bring forth: it is not a bad practice to sit down and contemplate what we consider our strengths, and focus on cultivating them.

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