Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Business of Being Born

What an interesting a provacative movie on birth and the cultural norms surrouinding our understanding of the birthing experience. I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and it sparked something deep inside of me and I had to write about my own experience. This is a deeply personal view of my heart and I am totally comfortable sharing this here... it is simply my truth and it is poetic in every way. I am sharing it here because we women need to talk about the reality of birthing more truthfully. Our birthing experiences are foundational to our view of ourselves and our understanding of they mothering world. If I believe that and state that, I need to supplement that with my very own voice... so here it is.

I am five plus years away from my first birthing experience and it is only just now, as I have evolved as a woman and as a human being living my life the way I choose, that I understand the fog of the last five years… and maybe a part of that fog started the day I began fertility treatments seven years ago.

And I am angry. It is an anger that is greatly informed by everything that is in my soul. I am angry because I believed that I could not do what my body was born to do. I am angry because I stayed the young person who did not adequately question the status quo or the authorities that were telling me I was broken and only got into the position of being with child because some doctor fixed me. I allowed myself to be stripped from a pivotal and transformative experience that would have aided me greatly as I journeyed into the role of mothering. I am angry that I stayed the good little girl who was scared and incapable of making my own decisions for my body and my child.

I had three medicated and complicated births and each and every one of them was traumatic on some level. And each of them added to the very basic trauma that put me in the position to be able to be a 27, 29 and 31 year old woman who did not understand some very basic truths about where I- my body, my mind, my spirit and my soul- began and other people were not supposed to be able to go. And so I took the conventional way out.

Once on the other side of that, I was then given the message that I was not allowed to mention, let alone grieve and heal from the trauma because I had a healthy beautiful baby in my arms. A message I gave myself first. That right there is the beginning of five long, hard years of depression, repression, and isolation.

My first birth started well… very well. And then it went bad…very bad. I will always question whether the beginning of the interventions were a hidden blessing, or the start of the downward slope into what eventually needed real medical rescue. I can grieve that, but I have to look at that straight on. I have to claim what was my part in the process and what was not. It hurts, at the very center of my being.

My second birth was pure and simply unnecessary pain. I felt my c-section and I was laying on a table trusting two docs that should have heard my discomfort and waited to start surgery. It was not an emergency, but they were not with me emotionally, in the moment I communicated that I was not adequately anesthetized. It is the worst pain I have ever endured, and it could have been easily avoided.

My third birth was complicated. Preterm, transverse, and emergent. We had to get the baby out and safe. I tried to stop labor for five long days and night… I endured a day of active labor, hoping beyond hope, that I could keep baby in for just two more weeks. My grace and mercy were my excellent and empathetic ob/gyn and anesthesiologist .

In all three cases I was safe and I welcomed a beautiful , healthy and safe child. But I was wounded, and I was weary and I was thrust into baby care without adequate healing. That was my fog, three times over.

And then there was my miscarriage, and while it was not birthing… it was letting go of a tiny part of my heart forever. I know that liitle soul soars above me holding hands with my little niece/ nephew. They would both be three had they been able to meet earth, but sadly they will never have that… but those of us who held them in our hearts and in our bodies will always have them and hold them somewhere deep inside our core. I will always remember them.

In the end, I have learned that birthing is something completely human in every way, while at the very same time something not of this earth at all. And that truth is mine… a small corner of creation that I was privileged to participate in for a moment in time. I share this truth with the women who came before me and women who will come after me. I need to respect it and revere it. I need to keep it near me and process it’s truth for the rest of my time hear on this planet.

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