Photo Credit: Justin A.
Many times before this child was born, I dreamed I went into labor in the middle of the night, drenching our brand new mattress with my with my earthy smelling fluid, and silently, without telling a soul, delivered my baby all by myself in my own little corner of the family bed. In my dreams, my husband and daughter would rise to the cries of our new baby and would be blissfully shocked beyond all belief that the baby had come so quickly, so peacefully. I woke up in the middle of the night for my first labor. But the entire neighborhood could tell you that. I had a team of three women and my husband calling my daughter out. It was not your textbook childbirth. 51 hours of slow progress and back labor. I also had a mountain of a recovery. If anything, my daughter’s labor taught me patience. I wanted it to be a little different this time around. I prayed it would be a little different. At the very least, I wanted an intact perineum after I delivered this new human earthside. I prepared myself with the understanding that anything could happen. I prepared my body through birthing ball exercises, positional inversions, and a daily walk with Junie up our neighborhood hill and back. I nourished it with food and drink. Dates to help ripen me, oils to moisten and expand my folds, teas to strengthen my mother organs. I prepared my mind by releasing all my tigers at the Blessingway, explaining my fears to other women, and was filled with love and support in the process. I listened to guided meditations with my family many times a week to help me strengthen my belief in myself and in the joy of childbirth. I prepared my soul by praying at my birth altar, lighting candles, and reflecting deeply on the very first woman. I also knew I needed to immerse myself in birth. I needed it over and over again. I watched youtube videos. Hundreds of them over the process of three trimesters, in order to normalize birth. To see women powerhousing through, bringing forth joy and love and light again and again and again. One video in particular inspired me to my very core. The mama was mere moments from delivering her child, and she was wildly bright and round and beautiful. Her husband was frantic because the midwife had not yet arrived. He told her “No, don’t push! Don’t push!”, and she replied calmly “I can’t help it, Thomas. I’m pushing!”. Her husband caught the baby. It made him a new man and you could hear that in his voice. He was in awe of his woman. More importantly, however, you could hear the strength and courage in her voice. She discovered her full potential. She was a force of nature. Her body waits for no one. Not her midwife, not her husband. She was not a force to be reckoned with. Little did I know that this video planted a seed in me. A seed that would change the course of my entire life.