Friday, June 29, 2012

Ahu and Hatiti’s new babies (no 53)


The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand. (Missed an episode? Click on Ahu in the labels bar for previous posts.)

The first rains of winter had come and both Ahu and Hatiti were heavily pregnant and uncomfortable. Moana quite willingly did much of the work in their home and was very interested in talking to the two mothers on how they felt. She had been allowed to listen to the unborn babies’ heartbeats when she laid her head on their tummies and she squealed with delight when she felt the babies move under her hand. She also combed the two women’s hair for them.

“Have you chosen names for the babies” she asked.

“Until the baby is born I will not suggest a name“, said Ahu. “I do not want the little one think he is a girl if I choose a girls name or a boy if I choose a girls name, so for the moment I call it little fish, because it wriggles so much. Hatiti has given hers a different name.”

Hatiti smiled “I call mine little shrimp, because I can imagine it all curled up happy inside me and that is what I called Horowai when I carried her too. I sometimes think of this baby as a Koru too, like a fern unfolding as it grows to become a baby. Do you want lots of babies Moana or do you just want to belong to Paikea first?”

“I know babies will come but I cannot imagine being a mother for a long time. Is that wrong?”

“No, no” both the mothers said at once. “First when you are married” said Ahu, “You have to discover each other, to explore and praise and hold onto and not let go until you think you are both the same person. Babies will come when they want to.”

Hatiti nodded as she stretched her body to get more comfortable “It is so good to hold on to someone and to please them and for them to please you. But remember not everyone has this. And it does not come straight away. Babies are beautiful but first you must make sure your husband only looks at you, the more he looks on you the more babies will come along.” 

“How do you bear to share Ahuahu with each other? I do not ever want to share Paikea with anyone.”

Ahu smiled and answered “Nor did I but the time may come when your husband could start to look on other women and perhaps choose one you do not like. Hatiti knows I chose her because we were so much alike and I knew she wanted him so much after he saved her. Ahuahu is very happy with her.” Ahu giggled a little “and we are both very happy with him. He loves us especially now we are both giving him more children, He is very proud of us...”

Hatiti interrupted, “Moana, run to Hoata and the other women I must go for a walk, my baby is coming.”

“I will walk down to the trees with you Hatiti; I will bring a tapa cloth to cover us as it is still raining outside,” said Ahu.

Moana had by this time disappeared and the women walked slowly in the rain through the village. Hatiti’s baby was not long in coming and just as the midwives arrived she was pushing down and the baby’s head had appeared. She gave a few more pushes and a little boy appeared looking very cross that he had been evicted from his nest and bawled lustily over the sound of the rain.

No sooner had she and baby been cleaned up when Ahu now said “It looks as though our work has not finished for the day” and found a sheltered spot and draped the tapa cloth over her head and squatted down.

Hatiti turned and called out “But Ahu, I wanted to be with you.”

Biting her lip as the contractions strengthened. Ahu shook her head “Go home Hatiti I will be there soon. Ahuahu will be very pleased with your son.”

The other women crowded around Ahu as Moana helped Hatiti get back home.

The rain continued and when they reached their house Moana said to the children “Hatiti has had a little boy. Now Tangaroa, for the moment take the other children around to Kamaka and tell him what is happening so we can prepare for Ahu to come home too. We will fetch you when they are both back here then you can see the babies.”

Tangaroa grabbed hold of Horowai’s hand and called the others to take them out of the house. But first he looked at Hatiti and smiled at her as she was wrapping the baby up and she returned his smile and said, “I know you will always look after Horowai for me.”.

Within an hour or so Ahu was also back with her little bundle. Ahuahu had also returned and was speaking to Hatiti when Ahu came through the door with Hoata both soaking wet and said as soon as she arrived “Had it been a boy I was going to call him Iorangi.”

Hatiti laughed “With all the rain we have had to day that would have been good name. If mine had been a girl I was going to call her Hoku. Just as well as there will be no stars out tonight.”

“Ahuahu, go fetch the children now while Hoata helps us to prepare our babies.”

Then just as he was leaving she said “Ahuahu, husband we have given you six children to build your family, we thank you for all the love you have shown us.”

“The gods have blessed us again my beautiful wives, you have both made me very proud.” He went back to each of them and in turn and placed his hand on their cheeks and looked into their eyes but said no more before he left the house.” Hatiti bit her lip as she knew he should not have touched her as she was tapu so soon after childbirth, but Ahu saw her worried look and merely said “It is all right, he has done no wrong and Hoata is here.”

The two new mothers then noticed that Hoata was crying. She wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand and said “There is so much love in this home.

Iorangi   -   Rain

Hoku    -    Little star

Tapu     -   Taboo, forbidden

5 comments:

  1. life goes on and the next generation is well on its way...fun to follow

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  2. Ahuahu is going to have to catch a lot of fish, to feed all those mouths.

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  3. What a beautiful birth story. The strength in this home allowed the women to share in this together.

    I like the acknowledgement of union here, "hold onto and not let go until you think you are both the same person", allowing the rest to flow naturally. Moana is so fortunate to be among these two women.

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  4. There really is a lot of love in that household, even with two wives. They are both very lucky to have had such effortless births, too.

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