I dreamed of Jasmine and we found her. Now Michael dreams with her every night. Here is the litter, all nursing, little puppy grunts and sucks – i cannot tell you how my heart is warmed by knowing this little fuzzy girl will be coming to live with us very soon. The finger belongs to the breeder Rita – she’s pointing at Jasmine’s head… that’s my little girl… Their mommy, a bitch named River, is only 18 months old. This is her first litter… six gorgeous little pups – three coloured and three white. All weighing almost exactly the same at birth – speaks of a healthy well fed, nurtured bitch giving her all for the little ones in her belly. They are beautiful, healthy, and strong – you cannot tell the first born from the runt, and that is unusual in a litter of pups. I feel like River has been a surrogate for me, carrying and birthing a child i could not myself. I had thought of being a surrogate – I managed my pregnancies well, and loved the triumph of giving birth – i would do it over if i did not have to financially support, and raise the child – it would be wonderful to have a little life in my belly – and strange as it sounds i would relish the opportunity to give birth again. It was such a powerful and wonderful experience.
Birth in fact has been much on my mind lately – i have told my birth stories to many people and have had as many different responses to my stories – some sit quiet and just wait for me to finish – others ask questions, i have the feeling that these stories have the ability to wake the slumbering awareness of the power of birth in some people – Michael loves it when i tell stories about being pregnant, about the births of both kids, and of what it was like when they were little, breastfeeding, nappy changing, and the sleep deprived mommy zombie that i was…I sometimes feel so sad that i will never do that again, i will never feel a little foot or elbow digging into my ribs, never feel the pull and the urgent need to hold a crying baby to my breast to feed, never rock a little fevered head to sleep, with hushed lullaby’s and my own worry for a child’s recovery. Never learn another baby’s secret language of love and need… although i had all these experiences, is this longing my biological clock ticking or is it something more?
I have so many friends who despite the desire to give birth naturally ended up one way or another having surgical intervention, and i see in them when i speak of the triumph of birth, a sadness, a loss of something, almost as if they had been robbed, but they’re not sure what of… I saw this look on a friend yesterday although she is only six months pregnant, she has no other option but a c section under complete sedation, because of a major spinal injury years ago that left her with a metal rod in her back. She won’t even see her baby born – and i felt like such a shit for talking so animatedly of the joy of delivering my son into my own hands, looking at him, feeling his weight, and pressing him to my chest – the midwife was kind enough to keep her distance, and i was left to do what was most natural, most obvious, and the most beautiful, if bloody, experience of my entire life. From that point on, as a woman you know what you are capable of, you know that you can endure, and even control a pain that most people cringe at the mere thought of. You are woman, you roar, you bring life, and your body holds all the tools and secrets to keep that little thing warm, fed and protected.
An artist I follow on face book calls her page the mandala journey – she did a Caesarean piece which spoke volumes to me – in it the mother is disconnected by a line from what is happening with her uterus with her child.Suspended in an ether sea, far removed from what is really happening. The word spinal block makes me cringe more than the word contraction – Spinal Block – fucking frightening, yet the choice for so many, because it means that you will be separated from your pain, from your uterus, from the responsibility of birth, and the cost will be that you will never know just what you are capable of – you will never know that you can overcome that which you thought was impossible – I’m glad i did it the old fashioned low intervention way I’m glad i bled and pushed and felt my body would tear in two – because it didn’t, and the moment my children were delivered i was free from my pain and worry, they breastfed immediately, i bathed, dressed and came home (the same day). I slept with my children in my arms skin to skin, i learned their secret language, and we were joined in heart and mind, as we still are today – I will not be made to feel ashamed for the strength and courage i displayed in the face of so much resistance to the obviousness of the truth – i am better for having had natural births, i am realised as a woman, a lover and mother – I did not have to suffer the ravages of drawn out labour, because i trusted my instincts, i let my body do as she knew to do, i removed my intellect and became almost animal, i believed in my ability to deliver, and i have been blessed with an overwhelming sense of my strength ever since – i will not be ashamed of this – not any more.