This week I’ve found myself more and more focused on my body and its ability to birth naturally. My husband and I sat down this morning and looked through some books and documents from classes we’ve attended and talked about a birth plan or our birth ‘wishes’ as we know anything can happen! Sipping our tea and eating our cereal over piles of opening cervix’s and vaginas… illustrated ones obviously… I felt strong and empowered and so did he. Hey, we know this stuff! That’s an awesome feeling.
We went through a cute little work sheet and listed my ‘wishes’. Now I know this sounds like we think birth is going to be like sitting a test in first grade… but this could not be further from the truth. We are both pretty diligent little homosapiens and are obsessed with learning everything and anything (at times to our detriment). We both want to be prepared, this is such an incredible experience for the both of us and honestly, we just appreciate the magnitude of it all. So, we chatted through different options and scenarios and how we would ideally approach them. Cute little morning session chatting about our bub’s journey earth side. Ooooo cuuuuuuute…
Ha this was a far cry from where I was at merely 24 hours prior… the day before did NOT play out like the above at ALL. I was alone at home with my hormones… we’re still not on the best of terms… and well here’s a little snap shot…
David returns home late afternoon, it’s dark, his wife’s silhouette barely visible on the couch. “Hello darling” he says in a chipper little voice (someone played well at soccer) … A crumb cloud erupts as I turn to him from my spot on the couch… the evidence of my afternoon vegemite on toast settling back down around me. My eyes are blazing, watery, puffy and red, tears are rolling down my cheek… he walks over to me, looks at my surroundings, birthing books, fact sheets about medical interventions and my medical folder sprawled out around me like a crime scene investigation show. “What are you doing?” he asks gently. “Just losing the plot” I whisper through the tears and heaving sobs.
You see, before he’d arrived home I’d watched the news (another woman dead at the hands of men’s violence), I’d read up on the incomprehensible new laws in the US, the stifling of women’s rights the world over and our potential morphing into the republic of Gilead (Handmaids Tale). The constant and continuous war the world seems to have against women’s bodies and their autonomy is overwhelming and leads me to this irrational (or not so irrational) thought that if I don’t have my shit together, I may just lose my autonomy in my own damn childbirth experience! David sits with me and wipes some of the tears away. We get my crazy arse out of the house and go for a walk. Reset. Just one of those days.
So yeah today’s a total contrast to the last and why not!? That’s how this pregnancy has me. I’ve also started reading “A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth” by Birth Goddess, Katrina Zaslavsky (link below). It’s a book filled with positive birth stories. Women who are proactive in their birth and focused on building their own autonomy regarding their birthing options.
Reading positive birth stories has really helped me in understanding that the birth I would like could very much be a reality. I am confident in knowing that I will be able to advocate as much as I can for the birth I desire and that any interventions will most likely be necessary due to the safety of me or my bub. I’m confident in my birth partners; husband, mother, midwives. I know them, I trust them, and they know what I want. All of the stories in this book talk to this also, that a woman’s body is her own and she can advocate for what she needs in order to safely deliver her baby.
My body is continuing to make space for this little baby… I have no idea how it has managed to give him as much as it has already! My neck, my ribs, my back, my hips and my pelvis hurt, thank goodness for physios! I feel my body shifting and changing in preparation for what is to come. This body is carrying a life, my son, a child who will go on to live in this world as an autonomous human armed with a blueprint I set for him the moment he was conceived (freaky). I have been gifted with this body; I am the expert. Yet time and time again you hear stories of women being gaslighted into thinking they don’t know their bodies and that their pregnancy is almost something they need to be cured from!
Pregnancy is not an illness. My pain is not something that needs to be fixed, it may need to be subdued but it certainly shouldn’t be treated pathologically.
This is where reading or listening to positive birth stories is helpful. I need these stories. I need to saturate my narrative with stories of women reclaiming their births, of women, whether it’s a natural birth or not, feeling empowered through their birth and their capable bodies. I have struggled throughout my pregnancy to imagine myself being one of the women in this book with one of ‘those’ stories. Part of me is still fearful it may not go that way. But that part is shrinking, and I assure myself that regardless of ‘how it goes’ I will hold solace in the fact that I was educated, that I advocated and that my body carried and birthed a human exactly how it needed to.
Getting so close now!
If you think you might benefit from reading some positive stories and how they achieved them, check out “A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth” by Birth Goddess, Katrina Zaslavsky. It’s a lovely read.
I’m including another photo my sister Sophia took because I’m proud of it. Look at that body! Carrying that baby! Almost bursting at the seams!!!