I just finished reading a powerful personal reflection by one woman of her son’s birth. I think that it is SO important that women think through the process of childbirth much more deeply than many of us do. It is so much more than we have come to believe, and it is time that we rediscover the rich emotional and psychological potential of one of the biggest events of our lives.
Three great excerpts:
Our collective idea of childbirth is pretty nasty – blood and fluid, panting and screaming, stretched anatomy, the emergent gooey greyish-purple alien… horrible! Remember when you first heard about sex? Remember how horrible that seemed? But sex isn’t horrible, is it? What’s missing – and indescribable to a virgin child – is the emotional element. Sex is a natural and beautiful process, all entangled with love and passion. So too, and a million times more, is birth. In essence, our modern patriarchal institutionalized world has a childish view of childbirth. It can’t imagine that something that looks so gruesome could be anything but a horrendous experience and one that should be shortened and medicated. But childbirth is not a medical procedure any more than sex is.
It is my belief that at some deep level, we all feel that we have been robbed. We pass through our childbirth initiation to become disempowered, disconnected, long-suffering, patriarchal mothers. We tell our horror stories as just that, or we say nothing at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If I ever have another child, it will not be in the same way. And it doesn’t stop there. I will never again blindly place my trust in authoritarian professionals and institutions. I will recognize all capitalist patriarchy for what it is and I will do my best to speak out against it.
I wish that we talked about it. That we could stop reveling in horror stories and better place our fingers on the reason for our traumatic births – not the curse of Eve medicated to by our benevolent system – but the systematic violence that delivers our babies for fear that we might give birth to them ourselves. For in the process we might begin to understand our own strength and find words for our anger. We might begin to disobey.