Thursday, September 18, 2008

if i cant brainstorm and i have to do all these drafts i might as wll shut down the blog it just aint me

I just re-realized that every single one of the people who tell me to get over it--in reference to shitty traumatic births have never had a homebirth, never seen a homebirth, and have major unresolved stuff about their own births-- or even more ridiculous--no baby at all.

This little thought helps me to understand where people are coming from when it seems they are coming at me. I am stepping off of the merry go round that goes like this:

I was cut in half!
No body helped me!
I was denied then entire process of birthing! The hormonal rush---just kapoot--did not occur!
I have undergone major surgery--isnt that enough to garner some loving care?
I am not pregnant anymore--where is the baby? How can there be a baby without labor or pushing or birthing?
Why do they need me to be so happy? Is it truly weird to be sad when something shitty is going on?

My homebirth renewed and renewed and renewed me, each day a little more. The vast majority of people will never understand this--but for them to take it so far as to deny the existence of this phenomenon is absurd.

We get so freaking loopy about the Olympic athletes---we accept their triumph and their rush and their victories---and all they get is a stupid medal-probably isnt even real gold. But a mother, one who has truly undergone labor and birth, has experienced something so victorious and so triumphant--but that makes people feel weird. Squirmy. Images of naked ladies victorious is just waaaay off the acceptable scale for most people. Because there is a vulnerability in the victorious new mother. and victory as dictated to us by the modern media, entails Independence, vigor, and--yes--clothing and being a male help alot, too.

Being strong, super strong, outrageously strong, move-mountains strong is what birthing Mamas are. Either you have been there or you havnt. Either youve seen it or youve done it or you havent. There is no father at a homebirth who has to be coaxed off of his cell phone because the baby is crowning. There are no dry eyes in a room when a superwoman has bellowed and roared and conquered the oceans of hurricane force waves fpr her fetus/baby/savior. Either youve seen this, youve been there, youve done this, or you have not. I am not sure if there is any more human and normal and natural thing that is so secreted away in all of our civilization. Where do we come from, how did we get here--all a secret. Shhh shhh nice blue gowns...Mommy will be back in about 6 days....the baby came out of her tummy.


Strong and vulnerable protect her space, yes she is naked yes she is turning inside out, bloody, open as you could ever be, baby so vulnerable, also bloody also naked, but strong as hell, the both of them.

The male model of "Strength" we all are so familiar with is what got us Mamas into our blue gowns and our stranded beetle positions in the first place. The men wanted to see what was going on in there. They were jealous and intimidated by the strength, the mystery, the miraculous miracle. Apparently it wasnt enough to go watch the goats or the lambs or the cats give birth---they wanted to see the women, and like an antiquated precursor to Television Viewing, a front row seat with a great view sounded just peachy. Lay her on her back! Demanded the menfolk---no no said the midwives and the Mamas and the friends--they never do it that way--Lay her on her back so we can SEE! ---and then the boys took over. Men, medicine, and the strength of the women, in such a vulnerable time, such an ebbing and flowing and precious and SACRED time--the time of birthing--was severely severely interrupted. Lay her down, stare at her privacy, glare at her, measure her, judge her, monitor her, QUANTIFY THIS EVENT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY GODDAMNIT!...well that was the beginning of the end.

But there are still so few people at least in my sphere that even could begin to get this, and I cant blame them anymore. For the bloggers that do, I love you. For the people that dont, I am sorry for you. You dont know about something that is EXTREMELY important to know about. True Birth.

and I ramble and I hit "post" and I move forward : )


MereMortal said...

good for you, joy, to get this out there with fire and heat and breath of life!
yes, i am there with you. i had the homebirth/transport/c-section. i mourned and grieved. then i had the homebirth and felt the waves of renewal and healing you mentioned too.
primal, unhooked, connected, roaring, big and powerful - all those things!
i am holding your space, keeping blank the pages that you will unfurl with words and voice and tears and healing.
yes, you have twice been denied. i honor that, all the mindfuck that it is.
(yes, we both have healthy babies, and we know it, and we are grateful, and we've never wrapped that issue up in the issue of birthing)...
most people don't know the history of childbirth, which is true as you said (men coming into take over midwives' callings to shift the power scale, burning midwives at the stake as witches, inventing tools to "help" birth along, experimenting on women and babies the whole way...).
stay out of my bedroom, stay out of my birthroom!!!!
my apologies for the rant...this is your space, not mine.
joy, from across the digital lines i stand shoulder to shoulder with you, lifting your face to the sun to say "you are a warrior!".

DoulaMomma said...

This is your rooftop - keep shouting it. I will shout with you. The people who want to hear us will & the rest, they are on their own trip. But we must keep shouting the truth & whispering it in the ears of anyone who will listen.

Anonymous said...

People still say 'get over it' to me, seven years and 15 days later.
I can't. That scar is a part of me, whether I wanted it or not.
I love how you speak your truth.
Despite the two homebirths of my other children. I still mourn and despite the homebirth of my last child. It was traumatic.
I used to seethe. Now I sit and listen. Because everyone deserves their emotions.
Every day is new Joy. Every day brings more. Take it and make it what YOU need to make it! Not what 'others' seem to think you should make it.

Judit said...

Yup, back to basics. It's really simple; but you really have to have gone through the rite of passage, or else have extraordinary powers of empathy, to understand. (Sure, it's wonderful and happy for every mom to finally hold every baby she ever carried. But that just changes the freaking subject, doesn't it. It's been a long time since I read something about MOTHERS where we don't wonder off topic along those lines.)

I'm wondering, did you find anyone at Eska's birth who gets it? (Besides Steve obviously.) Or trying to? Or acknowledging that there is something to get? A nice nurse or something?

Jill said...

And this right here is why I love you. You go inside my head and gather up all these thoughts that I can never successfully bring to life, and you deliver them with such raw fuck-the-taboos force that I'm just blown away. At least that's how it feels to me when I read one of these powerful entries. You are a poet. Those with cushy trauma-free lives will never have the passion to lead the revolution.

And I so agree, a good, nay, GREAT birth really does transform and empower you. IT'S TRUE. I don't care how hippy-dippy-tree-hugging-daisies-in-my-hair it sounds. To deny that this does happen or minimize how awesome it is, is just another slap in the face of birthing women. Just continuing to rob birth of its power so women will see it as just an ordeal to be "delivered" from. FUCK THAT.

Paula K said...

Love this post!! Put your fingers in your ears while I let out my own primal scream along with all of you who "get it"! ; )
I'm trying my best in my own small corner of the world to make sure all the women I know, can know what every woman should know. You are a fierce Mama and warrior. Never forget it.

Housefairy said...

3 sections now. and yeah, each one was a mind-fuck as Leigh so perfectly put it. Each in its own way.

Love you all...

Chantel Hayes said...

Practically SOBBING reading this and I have not had a section. I adore you. I'm going to cross post this on my blog (probably tomorrow).

Natalie said...


MamaVee said...

Say it like it is. You rock. I love you!

Kelley said...

Your ability to put real thoughts into words is inspiring, Joy. I agree with all these women here. There's nothing blase about birth once you know what it's really about.

Corin said...

Amen Joy! What a truthful and impacting post. Hope you don't mind me linking this on my blog.

Laureen said...

Freakin' brilliant. You go.

Heidi said...

Sing it sister! I have the same feelings about my HBAC.

SheGotHipsLikeCinderella said...

Joy, you are wonderful. Thank you for writing this. I love you.

Becca said...

This is the sound of my head exploding.
Yes! Mama, yes!

Anonymous said...

there's the joy i remember from the archive reading. halla-fucking-lujah to that!

Anonymous said...

As a ob nurse and mom who has had surgery and a csection and suffered horrible pp depression and recurrent pregnancy losses, I can only say:


I am sorry.


Sister.Friend.Mother.I wish you well.

Hang in there.

Nicole D said...

Aw girl! You hit it on the head! I think that, overall, birthy bloggers are getting sick of the pussy footing around and are simply telling it like it really is - and you are right - you either get it or you don't!

Joy - I get it, I understand, I have been on one side as a momma and one side as a sole-support. And I get it. Keep telling it.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister!

Kat said...

I wish I could give you a hug. Well, I will send a virtual hug. Being a mom is SO hard sometimes. Our family is living with friends for the moment and it is tough because it is a small space but it is easy because we watch the kids together and share meal duties and so much more. I don't think we were made to keep it all together ourselves. We need so much support, and our culture isn't always very good at giving it.

The Hubler Fam! said...

This was incredible. Thanks for sharing.
Mommy to Isaac, and Leah, each chemically induced into this world because "they" told me I had to.
And soon to be baby #3 who will be delivered lovingly into this world in the next 4 weeks, with my Midwife and my husband by my side...MY WAY.

Angi said...

Joy-the way you write puts me in the emotion with you. I hope you never try and over censor/edit. The way you write when it's off the cuff is awesome. Thanks for giving us your side of life. You are set up here (by fate/God whether you want it or not) to be able to give ultimate compassion and empathy to other mothers. Harness these sucky experiences and use them in that way! :)

Mie said...

This is one of those things that hurts me or bothers me or I dunno...empassions me about drug-free, intervention free birth. Fewer and fewer people will never experience it and it seems no one cares. As a mommy who had one (hospital, not home), it saddens me that people are fooled into believing that interventioned births are just as good as others. Now, of course, a healthy baby is important...can't argue with that. The truth is though that many, many of the women who are convinced to have a c-section or other major intervention either by "professionals" or by friends or by pure ignorance would have had a perfectly happy birth without them AND would have likely had a wonderful experience with their birth and all the beautiful feelings that go with it. Yes, things happen, and for that I'm grateful that there are medical interventions to help in true emergency situations. But how much of our womanhood and sisterhood and motherhood are we giving up in our culture where we no longer believe that we are "good enough" or powerful enough or wonderfully built to accomplish such an awesome event. That we are somehow too weak or lack power to do something we've been doing for so long. We are women. We are strong. We are amazing creatures. How much of that are we willingly giving up and for what? The "promise" of our own comfort? The false-promise that if we do it our baby will be ok? Ahhh...what a complicated issue. Good for you for writing what you believe in, whatever it is at the moment! It's ok to have mixed feelings and to feel one thing at one time and another at another time. You will make it and continue to be a great mother and woman. If nothing else, how much do you make women think about the choices they make with their pregnancies, births, and caregiving when they wouldn't have thought about it at all!