Monday, May 31, 2004

Primal is a Librarian Word

A young man - let's call him Steevo - used to live next door, who spent all day every day working on his car in front of the house. A few weeks after I had my baby, Steevo asked "So, how was it?" After a pause to think, I said, "Primal."

"Oh, that's one of those librarian words," said Steevo, obviously not understanding...

I am continually surprised at myself. My child is now 15 months old, and I still spend a lot of time pondering the birth. What an astounding thing it is to give birth. (Yes, it's a cliche thing to say, but I am going to say it anyway.) My husband calls giving birth 'the mundane miracle'.

I always theoretically wanted to have kids, but we were not planning to have a child when the Sprout showed up. I am such a spoiled brat, and like to have control over my own life, and so I was in such denial over the whole thing. When I was seven months pregnant (and I was BIG), I woke up one morning, rubbed my belly, and said to myself, "Boy, I'm bloated this morning." Now that's denial, boy howdy.

A tiny part of my brain (isn't the brain amazing) still doesn't believe it happened. When Sprout came out, I asked the nurse to put him right on my stomach, and she said, "Oh no, he's all dirty, I'll wipe him off first." I was so relieved that it was over that I didn't argue, but I actually really regret that. I think my brain needed to see him covered in blood and stuff, with the cord attached.

If I was doubting Thomas faced with the Christ, I probably would have had to stick my finger in the open wound, wiggle it around, and ask, "Umm, does that hurt?"

Anyway, am still fascinated by the primal nature of the whole birth process. I wouldn't call myself a hippie, but with the emotional support of Jimbo and our doula, I was able to have an unmedicated birth, which means a lot of grunting, squatting, bellydancing, and howling in the shower. Sounds shocking doesn't it, but it was actually very satisfying. It's astounding to learn that your body knows how to do things that you don't consciously know about.

And I now understand what women mean when they say you don't remember it afterwards. It's true. Your brain gives you drugs that make it all very fuzzy. Of course, I think I would be fuzzy at any rate if I stayed awake dancing for 26 hours for any reason, drugs or no drugs.

In my quest to understand this whole phenomenon which I am obviously not settled with yet, I have just read Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf (that didn't do it for me), and am now moving on to Spiritual Midwifery. I must say that I don't think I ever see myself giving birth in the back of a bus on a commune, but perhaps there's something in the stories from this book that I can take away anyway.


Blogger Carole said...

As is peregrine ;)

Thanks for this description. As one who is past the time for having children (and who never did) I found this one of the sweetest tales of the experience of giving birth.

9:01 am  

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