Four Years, Nine Months and One Life / Yoani Sánchez

Just when you’ve forgotten how to teach a baby to walk, you give birth to a blog. A website to help articulate its first words, to warn of dangers ahead, and to show a world that you don’t quite understand yourself. You thought you wouldn’t have another child, because of the housing shortage, scarcities and the civic — and silent — protest of your empty uterus, but it occurred to you to play with the alchemy of kilobytes. The delivery was painful and prolonged, lasting not several hours but four years. With the baby came unstoppable hemorrhaging that absorbs your time and energy; supposed doctors also emerged who question you: Why did you want to get into all this? After an eventful pregnancy, the creature was born by Caesarean, they sewed painful surgical stitches around your life and although you can still wear bikinis, they no longer allow you to enter movie theaters, participate in any conferences, travel outside the country, or leave the city without the constant persecution of those shadows who also arrived with the birth.

You’re the mother of a peculiar and novel entity, in a society where differences are frowned upon. You want to explain to your family and friends that you would have burst if you hadn’t let this autonomous being — that today is your virtual blog — out of you. But many don’t believe you. To attribute to your womb the real authorship of this fruit would be to confess that they themselves have aborted a thousand and one times for fear of being publicly challenged. You just have to tuck in the baby, watch it grow, get used to its face crisscrossed with smiles and scars, listen to your instincts and know that this sprout you have given birth to is what you always wanted.

One day you watch it go out into the world with anxiety about whether it will survive the cynicism out there, the insults and mockery. But, instead of returning distressed, it arrives accompanied by its peers, dozens of stigmatized and demonized blogs, tucked in by those like you who couldn’t stop pushing. So now the child-blog slices its birthday cake and winks at you: you have given it breath, and let it soar through cyberspace, flying to the Internet. But not even being its parent gives you control over its life. It already belongs to the Cuban alternative blogosphere and has no reason to carry on its back those painful contractions you felt on April 9, 2007.