- I believe the moment of birth
- Is when we have knowledge of death
- I believe the season of birth
- Is the season of sacrifice.
T. S. ELIOT, The Family Reunion
They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.
SAMUEL BECKETT, Waiting for Godot
I wish I had a memory of that first violent shove, the shock of cold air, the sting of oxygen into new lungs. Everyone should remember being born. It doesn't seem fair that we only remember dying.
The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
SIGMUND FREUD, The Interpretation of Dreams
Man's birth is a lottery; it may be in the pleasant home of ease and affluence, or in the hut of poverty; in either case it may be a stain or an honor. If he is born in poverty, and his future life throws a lustre over an humble birth, the reward will not only be great, but his name will stand higher on the roll of honor and virtue, than he who can only boast of his proud descent.
JAMES ELLIS, attributed, Day's Collacon
Having a baby is like taking your lower lips and forcing them over your head.
CAROL BURNETT, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Humor
By the time we wake up to ourselves, we are little children, and our advent is something that happened an eternity ago, at the beginning of time. We live like latecomers to the theater; we must catch up as best we can, divining the beginning from the shape of later events.
DIANE SETTERFIELD, The Thirteenth Tale
- My mother groaned, my father wept,
- into the dangerous world I leapt.
WILLIAM BLAKE, "Infant Sorrow"
- Men must endure
- Their going hence, even as their coming hither.
- Ripeness is all.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Lear
When I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half.
GRACIE ALLEN, attributed, The Greatest Quotations of All Time
- What is this talked-of mystery of birth
- But being mounted bareback on the earth?
Man alone at the very moment of his birth, cast naked upon the naked earth, does she abandon to cries and lamentations.
PLINY THE ELDER, Natural History
I erupt from the dark, crushing tunnel into a flash of light and noise. A new kind of air surrounds me, dry and cold, as they wipe the last smears of home off my skin. I feel a sharp pain as they snip something, and suddenly I am less. I am no one but myself, tiny and feeble and utterly alone. I am lifted and swungthrough great heights across yawning distances, and given to Her. She wraps around me, so much bigger and softer than I ever imagined from inside,and I strain my eyes open. I see Her. She is immense, cosmic. She is the world. The world smiles down on me, and when She speaks it’s the voice of God, vast and resonant with meaning, but words unknowable, ringing gibberish in my blank white mind.
ISAAC MARION, Warm Bodies
- What, shall such traces of my birth appear,
- And I not follow them! It may not be.
SOPHOCLES, Oedipus the King
The birth of a child is the imprisonment of a soul. The soul must work its way out of prison, and, in doing so, provide itself with wings for a future journey. It is for each of us to determine whether our wings shall be those of an angel or a grub!
WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS, Egeria
- Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
- The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
- Hath had elsewhere its setting,
- And cometh from afar:
- Not in entire forgetfulness,
- And not in utter nakedness,
- But trailing clouds of glory do we come
- From God, who is our home.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die--although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.
ERICH FROMM, The Sane Society
Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.
MAY SARTON, Journal of a Solitude
All children mythologise their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.
DIANE SETTERFIELD, The Thirteenth Tale
What is birth to a man if it shall be a stain to his dead ancestors to have left such an offspring?
PHILIP SIDNEY, Aphorisms of Sir Philip Sidney
He is born naked, and falls a whining at the first.
ROBERT BURTON, The Anatomy of Melancholy
How you approach birth is intimately connected with how you approach life.
WILLIAM SEARS, The Pregnancy Book
I had a Jewish delivery. They knock you out with the first pain and wake you up when the hairdresser shows.
JOAN RIVERS, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Humor
Birth is as safe as life gets.
HARRIETTE HARTIGAN, attributed, The Greatest Quotations of All Time
Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.
ADRIENNE RICH, Of Woman Born
The energy it took to exit mother’s womb is the same force required to manifest a dream ... a different kind of struggle. Push, push, push!
T. F. HODGE, From Within I Rise