Jill of Keyboard Revolutionary wrote about how birth impacts a mother, a lengthy response to my earlier post Thinking, no conclusions yet. A few excerpts:
I'm not sure on which side of the fence I fall. I guess like in most things in life where there's a fence, I straddle it. Birth, to me, is definitely important. But is it THE most important thing in your or your child's life? Not really. And to say otherwise would do women a disservice, because birth is by nature a wild beast that can go rogue with no warning, and it's cruel and petty to verbally beat up women who fall prey to the werewolf (but that's what my next post is going to be about, so I'll just leave it at that). However, to say that birth holds absolutely no meaning isn't necessarily true either, at least not in my opinion.
I think the problem with these two lines of thinking is that they both seem to believe that only a "good", i.e. natural/drug-free/vaginal/home/water/etc. birth is capable of being a life-changing event. The former cling to this gold standard, and the latter reject, nay, outright abhor it, but vilifying something is still giving it power.
I believe that EVERY birth has the potential to transform a woman and offer her many lessons she can apply throughout her life, instead of just being one day of empowerment and awesomeness (or trauma and suckitude). Take for instance the births of my two children. They could hardly be more different. One, a Cesarean after a long hospital labor with "the works." The other, a VBAC waterbirth at home. Both have taught me countless things that have shaped who I am, not only as a mother, but as a woman and a human being....
I also learned what it felt like to be IN THE MOMENT. I think I coped with a lot of what happened before, during, and after my Cesarean by going outside my body and watching passively from afar, a trick I honed to near-perfection from a traumatic childhood and adolescence. I detached myself far away from the moment. But when Jacob's head came out of me and into my hand in the water, never before had I felt more alive and RIGHT THERE. For the first time I did not need to detach myself to survive. No, the only way to get through was to throw my whole self into it, with every fiber of my being....
Both of my children's births were profoundly important in my life. But they are hardly the axis that my or their lives revolve around. Although I still cuddle Jacob and think of him as my VBAC baby, I don't look at Jameson and think of him as my Cesarean baby. I suppose the potency of Jacob's birth might fade eventually - the pain certainly has! - but the power I gained never will. And what I learned from Jameson's birth set me up to receive it, so those lessons will always be with me.
Next, a lovely birth story. A few paragraphs that resonated, since one of my sisters is awaiting her fourth baby any day now and, at close to 41 weeks, is trying hard to stay patient.
Waiting is hard. Waiting to look into those new eyes and see that sweet spirit. Waiting to confirm whether it was a boy or girl. Wondering if that painful contraction meant something was happening. Hoping my husband would be home when labor started. Praying I would find the challenge and meet it and be refined.And finally, a giveaway of Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility. I recently received this book to review, and I am really impressed with it. Hope to get the review written soon!
After a few false alarms I resigned myself to surrender to the unknown. Labor would start eventually. There was certainty in a birth and a baby. And there was probably no way I was making it through another week so the certainty was soon.