Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The business of being born

I had come to Wakefield to visit my sweet sister-in-law, my brother and my handsome new nephew January 2009. Julian was 1 month old and Rohan was about 8 months old. While we were here we went to a local bar called the Black Sheep to watch a movie called 'Orgasmic Birth'. They do that here in the winter time when it turns into a ghost town, possibly to give people a reason to brave the cold and get out of the house!

Anyway, I don't completely remember the content of the movie, I just recall the emphasis on the benefits to mom and babe with a natural birth and our cultures (North America) emphasis on speeding up the process and getting it done in time for the end of your shift. There were several mom's and babies there and at the end of the movie they gathered for a bit to discuss how they felt about the the movie and their own birthing experiences. I just wanted to hide in a dark corner and cry.

I don't talk about my birthing experience very freely. When asked (depending on the person asking) I generally say that it didn't happen how I had intended it to, or if it is someone a bit more trusted or more interested, I may also insert a small voiced 'it was a nightmare'. But, in all honesty I have attempted to my best ability to put the whole experience behind me and appreciate the outcome of a beautiful and healthy child.

Then, a couple of day's ago now, I watched a film called 'The Business of Being Born'. It pinpointed so much of the negativity that I had been holding onto about my birthing experience, and it really opened my eyes to so many repercussions of the Ceasarian section. I would never claim that it is an unnecessary surgery in such cases that the child or mother are in danger, I am truly grateful for it's easy availability in such scary situations. But what about for the rest of us?
I was in no danger, Rohan was just chillaxing in the old birth canal, heart rate steady and normal. But my time in the hospital was running out, it was the end of the day, and Rohan was staying put. That's it. He was facing my hip which might have made it a bit more difficult, but not impossible. He was HUGE, but his head was a pretty normal size...................what gives?

If I was in the right frame of mind I would have demanded to be allowed to push for the rest of the night. I would have done it. It just wasn't an option for me, and that is such a strange concept that the control of my labour, my birth, my body was passed onto the professionals. And to this day I still feel traumatized by the experience, traumatized by the miracle of birth? How is that possible? It is supposed to be beautiful, magical, an instant bonding with this little person that grew inside of me for 9 (10) months. It hurts (oh so bad) it takes a long time, and at times, it can scar you physically for life, mama wounds, I can live with that! But not on the inside.

Anyhow, the movie made me feel an outrage to the system. This feeling of having had something taken away from me is very much faded, but not completely gone. I don't love my child less, I am no less greatful towards all the rewards that motherhood has been offering to me for the last two years. I just feel like those precious first moments were removed from my experience, Drug induced, delusional, almost indifferent to the infant they plopped onto my breast hours later, and unaware of what was happening is not how I imagined it would be.

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