Several hours after the induction of labor, I finally stood holding the newborn. It was a complicated delivery, and I couldn’t help questioning what had transpired. Why did the mother have to sustain injury and harm during this experience? Why did the newborn have its cord around its neck? Is this the miracle of life? The first delivery during my obstetrics–gynecology rotation raised questions on life, suffering, and universal truths as the baby surfaced for its first breath. Innate curiosity.
I realized in that moment of reflection that we are all equal in suffering and in the boundaries of need—a basic human faith. We are not born equal—that is, we are not born with equal genetic bequest, or physical or intellectual states. We are equal in the sense that we are born to live, endure, and die. Physicians, who often witness the human condition of naked loneliness, know this better than perhaps anyone else on earth. Physicians will have to help and lead us all, in cherishing and restating that core of human faith.
I have always acknowledged the power of art as an expressive outlet for healing—exploring forms of writing, photography, painting, and digital/graphic design. Medical school has only confirmed my belief that art is medicine, and medicine is art. Innate Curiosity serves as my expressive outlet of inquisitive reflection inspired by the thought processes that occurred during and after the events of my first delivery. Among several subtleties in the painting, the colors represent the incarnadine theme of the delivery, while the umbilical cord forms a question mark, representing the curiosity that is innate to us all.
It is imperative to understand that as humans, we are all connected. We are connected in the sense that we are all equal and, therefore, every life is as significant as the next. Despite the uncertainty I felt after that complicated delivery, despite all of my thinking, as I looked at the newborn, and the newborn looked back at me with curious eyes, all my questions were vanquished. Innate curiosity.
Mr. O’Shea is a fourth-year student, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida; e-mail: [email protected]