The Difference

Birth Stories sometimes pop up in the unlikeliest of places.

I was reading Death: the Final Stage of Growth by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926 – 2004)

On page 120, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is explaining her path to becoming a death specialist, and she begins at the very beginning:

I was born on a warm summer day in Switzerland after a long and very wanted pregnancy.  My parents had a six-year-old son and were very much looking forward to having a daughter.  My mother was looking forward to making cute little dresses and to having someone with her when she did her fabulous baking and cooking, for which she was well-known.

The first impression both my parents had of me was of great dismay.  I was barely two pounds, bald, and so tiny that I was clearly a disappointment.  Little did anyone expect that this was only the beginning of more shocks; another two pound sister was born fifteen minutes later followed by a six pound girl who finally met all the expectations of the new parents.

It is hard to say if my precarious introduction to life was the first “instigator” to going into this field.  After all, I was not expected to live and if it had not been for the determination of my mother, I might not have survived.  She strongly believed that such little infants could only survive if they received a great deal of tender loving care, frequent breast feedings, and warmth and comfort that only home could give them – not the hospital. She cared for the three of us personally, nursed us every three hours, day and night, and it is said that she never slept in her bed for the first nine months.  All three of us – needless to say – made it.

So perhaps the first significant lesson in my life was that it takes one human being who really cares to make a difference between life and death.

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