6.06.2013

the secret of childbirth.


Sometimes I look around on a subway car and think to myself, "Everyone on this train was born!" And then I think about all of the subway cars on the train that are swarming with people and about how each one of those people was born too. Then I think about how the world population is currently 7 billion. And all of those people were born. They didn't die. They all have mothers. And then I think about all of the people in the history of the world who were born and just aren't alive anymore.

Why is childbirth something so secret? It wasn't until my second trimester, when my belly really started showing and I forced myself to watch childbirth videos on youtube that I began reading and reading and reading about all of these secrets of childbirth. I've learned so much that I just had no clue about before. But it strikes me as odd that this fundamental act of life that's happening all day everyday is something that you've got to take some real initiative to decode. We pay money for classes, band in our special interest groups, join discussion boards, and read, read, read. All for this primal knowledge that's only ever existed; it's a force that will continue regardless of what we know about it.

One of the books I loved reading best about childbirth has a ton of naked birth pictures in it. I just had to pass it around the office to get some reactions. Someone started talking about how weird all of the new mother's boobs look. Guys, it's true. When you're pregnant, your areolas get bigger and bigger and bigger. But the fact that this was weird to this girl at work really struck me as sad. She knows exactly what crazy-supermodel-airbrushed-tinynippled-womens'-boobs don't even really look like, but she has no clue about the reality of how her body might change if she carries a child someday. I didn't really either. Not before it actually happened. And I thought it was weird too.

We're just so pasty-white-sterile-medicated. It makes me think of the book "A Brave New World" where sex is encouraged, but babies are grown in bottles.

It's an old rant, but it resonates more and more with me: We don't know what our meat looks like before or during the slaughter, we don't know how our grains are grown, how our clothes are manufactured, how our plastic gets molded, where our energy comes from, how our babies are born. It can start to feel like all of this specialization and technology has left us in the dark, even to our own bodies and their functioning.

The great news is that learning about childbirth and being pregnant has made me feel more connected to the natural world and more grateful for my body than ever before. My sense of self is so much less tied to some unrealistic idea about the perfect fake supermodel boobs that I should have. My body is capable of bringing new life to the world. That thought leaves me awestruck.

2 comments:

Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

Laura! I'm in love with this post! YES YES YES!! I myself have often wondered where our poo goes after it's flushed. I remember a midwife who spoke at a midwifery conference I went to in Eugene, and she said when she was in labor with her first baby, she was absolutely awestruck at the amount of power surging through her! It was nothing she created or knew how to control, the surges just went all the way through her little body, and she realized her connection to nature. She was the vessel that allowed nature to do its thing. I don't know why your post reminded me of that. Just that she wasn't concerned AT ALL about how her body looked. She just felt like she'd found truth and felt honored to be such an important part of the earth.

Whitney Shepard said...

So good.