I’ve been pregnant six times and have four children. My last pregnancy (with our fourth child) ended 6 years, 51 weeks and 5 days after the first pregnancy (with our first child) began. That’s a heck of a lot of intense physicality to put your body through in a short time. But there you have it. Call me crazy.
Pregnancy is a powerful thing, only there’s a whole bunch of it that feels exactly opposite. We are so lucky, so blessed, to have the incredible medical care we do. Many of us would have died on the table without the amazing care facilities and practitioners we have in this privileged society. And yet …
Some of the very best moments of being pregnant have been when I’ve been with my trusted care provider where we have spoken as equals about the care of my child and together searched for the right answers. Some of the very worst moments have been when other carers have ignored my knowledge of my body, tried to invalidate what I knew was happening and cast me as a hysterical female who didn’t understand what was going on.
I am a huge proponent of natural birth where possible and an even huger proponent of intervention when absolutely necessary. My own mother could not have delivered me without intervention. Her body simply would not allow an infant to exit. So a big cheer for C-sections or I’d be dead. But.
Along the way some providers have stopped listening to mothers. And we in our own fear and lack of knowledge, have let them.
When our third child was born, I had already come to learn that my body didn’t dilate until in fully active labor and once at that point, I went super fast. Number two child was almost born in a NYC taxi (yay for me – another cliche avoided!). So with number three I understood. On a crowded night in the triage of a giant labor & delivery unit in one of New York’s top hospitals, I might have well have been talking to a rock instead of the attending OB. I ended up delivering my son alone, behind a curtain standing up in the back of the triage room (with 8 other mothers in various stages hearing every single sound I made). I’d sent my husband to get help, and in the 90 seconds it took for him to go and come back, I found myself cradling my son’s head, screaming for help.
All because one person would not listen, would not acknowledge, would not believe that I knew, that I sensed and that I trusted what my body was telling me.
The team who helped me after the event were phenomenal. Our little boy was fierce and fabulous. As I gave just one push, I grabbed him from my body and held him close, not letting anyone near him. I had my new bear cub and he was utterly divine. As they all are.
Pregnancy has taught me I am powerful beyond measure. I am a co-creator with my husband and the divine, of new life. Pregnancy has taught me to honor and listen to my body, to truly hear its messages and trust it to do its great work in real partnership with me and my carers. Every woman and every child deserves that chance and that respect.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs September 19 to October 16, 2011. A random winner will be announced by October 18, 2011.