Thursday, April 9, 2009
There is a culture of sharing birth stories among women that I think is fascinating. I smile, because a pre-child me would have winced at the thought of talking freely—no, writing online—about mucus plugs and placentas and amniotic fluid. Now, I love hearing and reading other women’s birth stories and love telling my own—but only if you’re willing to listen to the long version (as opposed to the polite, 30-second synopsis). Sharing stories and creating a vocabulary around childbirth is a way of celebrating motherhood and recognizing our bodies’ reserves of strength and endurance—miracles that Allah swt blessed women with. Maybe I'm sounding like a hippie, or a feminist, but then again, I’m happy to be a little bit of both.
I started writing a post called “Birth”, but I hit a dead end before I even started writing. Can’t seem to find the arrangement of words that would capture the exhaustion, thrill, intense pressure, and emotional freefall. Writing out a birth story creates a sort of anticlimax for me, much as I love reading other women’s birth stories—telling it, it can always be retold, but writing it is too final. In the midst of contractions, I wished with all of my being that it was over—didn’t care about the baby, just wanted it out. And afterwards, the further back into my life the memory slips, giving birth becomes this explosive, out-of-body experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
The high of those few peaceful hours immediately after birth is indescribable. A new, baby wheezing, hiccupping, wet against my chest, eyes closed tight, fists curled. Nurses quietly bustle about the room, cleaning up, bringing pillows and warm blankets. All I have to do in the world is rest my head back on the pillow, soak up the baby in my arms, and thank Allah (swt) for His blessings and mercy.
Closest thing to heaven.
Posted by UmIman at 4:56 PM