a bend in the path

19 May 2009 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

I am a 34 year old SAHM of 4 living in the Pioneer Valley for just under 6 years. Together, my husband and I have a life overflowing with abundance. That said, our budget is an interesting patchwork that we often struggle to balance. I am a thrifty/frugal/mend it till it falls apart sort of earthy

gal. With each birth I have transformed my entire being. Without the support of midwives I don’t know where or who I would be.
Tomorrow my youngest child will turn two. TWO! I began my mothering journey at the tender age of 21, practically a baby myself. I was so young when I had my first child that I wasn’t completely formed yet as an adult. As such, I didn’t have a clear vision of what kind of mother I wanted to be. I was alone living on the west coast, no friends, no family, and no role models.  Five months along, armed with only one book (“What to Expect…”) gifted to me by my OBGYN, I jumped in with both feet and eyes half open. Oh dear. I was so ill prepared for birth. Though I wanted this baby, I felt victimized by the changes happening to my body. I was scheduled for section because I was a week overdue. I was given no alternative options and certainly my reading material didn’t empower my inner voice. I was embarrassed and ashamed at the birth. They broke my water and immediately began the PIT drip even though I was already experiencing contractions upon arrival. After 45 excruciating minutes and a nurse’s patronizing advice:
“It’s supposed to hurt.
Nothing is wrong.
The doctor will not see you this soon.”

I begged for someone to check me. The doctor casually walked in my room and without warning checked my progress, then proclaimed:
“It’s breech.
We’re doing a section.

There were 8 more people in the room immediately. Instruments were coming out of the walls, gurneys flying, medical terms wielding across the room to each other. To everyone in fact, but me. They spread my legs and clumsily poked about until the rubbery cord inserted itself into my urethra.
“Doctor, she’s catheterizing. Let’s go!”

Off I went.

The years passed. The first year was blissful—thank god for mommies who make milk! I moved back to the east coast and found a supportive group of friends and even some mother’s I could count on for advice. I did not realize the full extent of the trauma, the damage to my self esteem, to my feelings of inadequacy, to how deeply I buried my voice. I learned that I did not have dominion over my own body. No one helped me to cope with the rapid changes to my body (during the pregnancy) , to embrace the transformation of becoming a mother. I became a parent who mistrusted her instincts and hated her body.
I became pregnant again when my first child was 2 ½. Though I regarded the gift of motherhood with great honor, there was a sadness inside that I could not shake. Luckily I found an old copy of Spiritual Midwifery and a new course was set.

I will finish my story this week! Please feel free to add your own stories of birth in the comments.  I welcome questions as well!

Yours in abundance,


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Time Magazine discusses Homebirth Quick link: NYTimes on maternal deaths in Tanzania

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