Posted by: emjb | May 8, 2006

Used to be me

I’m having my normal Sunday night insomnia…I can never sleep Sunday night, even if I’m not working the next day. Leftover from years of late nights rushing to complete school assignments, maybe.

Anyway, I am spending the time crusing around the internet, and started remembering how I would spend similar nights when I was pregnant Googling “birth story”. And how I would never read the c-section ones, out of superstition (oh the irony). Or the medical-emergency ones. Always the happy ones, about homebirths or hospital births that went well and everyone was healthy. Though I do remember always finding more homebirth stories than hospital birth stories. That may just mean homebirthers are more avid bloggers though.

I can smile at myself now, that person looking so hard for reassurance that it was all going to be ok. I had no one to talk to who knew my experience…a few online people, but no one close to me. I know I blogged about that at the time, and it helped, but still. I was too alone. It made me vulnerable, and it got me in trouble. Maybe I’d do better now, having done it before, but really, I’d scramble like mad to get more support around me if I had to do it again. And I’d tell any woman who asked me, don’t do this alone if you have any alternative. A laboring woman needs to be able to be relaxed and confident and feel safe, and she needs her surroundings to be comforting and her supporters to be there to make that happen.

The logical support for a laboring woman is her mother, but I belong to a generation of women whose mothers had the twilight sleep births, the ones where they knocked you out and dragged out the baby (leaving marks on both in the process) and you don’t remember anything about it. What advice could my mother give me when she had nothing to remember of her own births? She was robbed, and by extension so was I, by a medical establishment that saw itself as the white knight rescuing women from pain, and not overly careful about the side effects.

But I’ve said all that before.

Anyway, I found myself Googling “birth story” again, but then surfing elsewhere. That information doesn’t apply to me right now, and might never again. I feel the tug of wanting another baby pretty often, and if circumstances were better, I might follow it through. But they’re not, right now, and I don’t want to put any more strain on us or on the ones who are helping us get through this period. And this period may last longer than the time I have left to try again. The family I already have has to come first.

It’s hard to remember the person I was just six months ago, so full of hope and fear. No, not fear, terror. I still can’t read those blog entries yet, knowing what happened to her, the thing she feared would happen, and a few more things besides. I’m safe now on the other side, scarred but alive, but that doesn’t mean I can go back and relive it all in detail. I have to choose what memories I can stand to look at on any given day. But I’m so grateful to have those entries there anyway, because I will need to weave all of what happened into my life at some point. It’s the only way to keep it from taking me over.

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