Birth Story / Black Cockatoo

black-cockatoo
Painting by Jenny Boyes, found feather.

 

This time last year I was waiting for my second child to be born, due on Australia day. No one actually expects their baby to arrive when it’s due. I spent the night before lying on a carefully arranged pile of pillows, trying to coax the baby into optimal position, reading articles about Invasion Day and musing over the implication of my own settler ancestors and then, me.

We named the baby Wylah, which means black cockatoo (yellow-tailed, Calyptorhynchus funereus). We saw many black cockatoos that summer around Braidwood, and often heard them calling above the level of the morning mists.

Naming children is a difficult thing. I felt a little embarrassed about the name at first, because giving a name relating to a plant or animal seemed a loaded statement that set up preconceptions about who we are and what we believe in and who even we think the child might become. Over those first few days every member of hospital staff and the health system would ask: ‘what have you named him?’, then ‘what does that mean?’, then pause, and: ‘are you Indigenous?’ To which I would say no, I’m not, and wonder if I was being somehow disingenuous.

When Wylah was two days old we drove home to Braidwood from Canberra. As we came through the aisle of poplars that mark the arrival into town I saw three black cockatoos out my window, flying low and heavy in parallel to our car; a cavalcade, a welcome. I knew then the name was right.

Within the fortnight I wrote Wylah’s birth story. Sharing it here now as he nears his first anniversary – READ ON

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s