I’m thinking today of a woman I saw yesterday, waddling in the grocery store with the gait only a “my due date is tomorrow” mother-to-be can have. This woman plans to birth at the same birth center I labored at for thirty-six of my fifty-four hours and with the same midwife. I wish her Godspeed. Literally, I wish her a modicum of speed and a lot of God, and the original meaning of the word: a successful and/or prosperous journey. I wish for her the natural birth experience she is hoping for by choosing a midwife over a hospital.
The challenge of writing about the karma most likely wound (wound, as in tied up, but also, wound, as in injury?) around my birth experience has brought my writing to a halt altogether, so I’ve decided to let that gigantic topic simmer for awhile longer in the back burner of my mind while I simply write instead about how crazy it is that I am not at all surprised to hear yet another woman I know giving birth ended up having her child by cesarean section. Two in the last week of just women I know, I’m sure there were hundreds more. I’m sad I’m not surprised and, yes, yes, those babies are both healthy, and one of them probably did need to get the heck out of his mama as quickly as possible, but, still, I so wonder about the necessity of that major surgery so often executed. The other woman I know labored for over forty hours, most of it naturally, and so, I empathize with the exhaustion and the simple wanting for the pain to be over. But, really, isn’t it sad how these days I’m more surprised to hear that a woman gave birth with no intervention, no drama, nothing but her own body rather than the opposite?
A friend in Germany posted a question on Facebook the other day asking why women aren’t more outraged about financial inequities in our world; you know, the old deal that women, still, in 2011, aren’t paid the same as men for equal work. I wanted to post back that I am outraged, but also very tired. But I was too tired to post something intelligent. Later, I thought about whether I might feel less tired if I had, indeed, birthed my baby the natural way. If I had felt that power, just for a moment, that “if I can do that I can do anything” feeling. To me, the over-occurrence of c-sections on women is yet another way, consciously or not, for women to remain not equal in our world. For women to not know, (and, yes, for men to hold at bay), their amazing power.
I’m sure mothers who had blissful, even orgasmic, births will argue their babies still cried all night long, or still, at two and a half years old like mine, are sucky sleepers who suck every ounce of energy away from them. But at least they have the memory of that feeling of power, which could lead them to do fantastic things. Me, I have to conjure that power not from memory, but from serious meditation and conscious effort to connect with a strength, which has to do, for me, with God’s power – a universal, innate internal force. “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” as Dylan Thomas said. The force that through the mother births the baby, I say. In other words, Godspeed.
Of course, to conjure that feeling through meditation is spotty at best when my child won’t go to sleep until eleven at night and then wakes at two a.m., and five a.m., and, so on and so on. To not fall asleep while meditating is a challenge, much less find the quiet and space. But I know meditation like that is what I have to do to feel my power, or better yet, God’s power and will inside of me, moving through me, I do make the effort. And perhaps many women who did give birth through their natural places also have to use meditation to get back to that memory of power, which then allows for them to activate for equality, fairness, kindness. Still, for the sake of using memory – especially in the face of exhaustion and energetic children – to more quickly remember one’s internal power, I wish for the woman I know due today with her first child, and all those I don’t know, much Godspeed.