“this movie is just ropes & asses!”

My mom and I exchanged Mother’s Day gifts yesterday, before she traveled south to take care of my grandfather for a month. I would have liked to have spent the day taking her out to lunch and such, but she had to get herself on the road.

I had a lovely day today. The first thing my son said to me this morning was, “Happy Mother’s Day”. As I did my computer-thing he called for me to give him some couch snuggles. So, that had to happen.

My Mother's Day So Far

The rest of the day spun out beautifully. Fresh flowers, awesomeness, sunshine, good food, friends, hanging new curtains. The kids caught a frog then charged neighborhood kids five cents to look at it in its temporary habitat, a wagon filled with water and various floating frog-platform fauna.

Frog In A Jar

Treatment center work. I was not able to bike as I seem to have injured my knee, and any biking hills are treacherous. I’m trying to be patient through this. The work, though, was good for me. And I hope, for others. Afterward a man took me aside and thanked me and said, “Good job.” Something or some things I had shared, resonated with him. He shared a little about his most recent DUI and some medication he was detoxing from. He’s off to another treatment center tomorrow – I will probably never see him again.

Home to the summer-warm house and dusk. Homemade dinner by husband, hot bath.

Soon: time for bed.

But now? Time for a silly-arsed B-movie.

I hope you all have a soft and loving bosom to rest upon, or that you find one soon.

My Mother's Day

my punani wears a superhero cape

Recently I was at a group function and I got sandwiched between two C-section Mamas – that is, women who’d delivered their first babies this way and were planning / had planned future births to be surgical ones – who related their experiences. One of them professed a preference to repeat surgery should she become pregnant again, and by partial way of explanation said, “I’ve already ruined this part of my body [gesturing toward abdomen], I don’t want to blow out, you know [gestures toward crotch] … too!” This gave me a giggle, although part of me wondered if a great deal of people really believe your vagina blows out if you give birth through it. I’m picturing something like a tattered fruit rollup or one of those tire fragments you see on the freeway (and in case you were curious, mine seems to have held up rather well – in fact, has even sustained some improvements). I was content to listen for a while without comment – but the “birth choices” conversation carried on long enough that I eventually weighed in with my own experiences and opinions.

One thing I’ve learned from new Mamas is that the subject of birth can be controversial. Even among good friends, the tension in the room can amp up a bit when the subjects of labor, the use of medicine or drugs, safety issues, and pain tolerance comes up. I think this urge to discuss and defend fades with time, since I do not hear too many detailed birth stories from women in my mother’s generation (some of them are quite dismissive that we care as much as we do, damn their eyes). I’m guessing that usually by the time your youngest child is in primary school your birth story / stories have been alloted to a Cliff Notes version and you’ve made peace with how it all went down. But in my microcosm these last few years I have heard birth stories told back to back for hours on end at these functions.

Women aren’t silly, though, to care – whatever differing opinions they may have and however passionately (and occasionally ignorantly) they may hold them. Birth is as major as death and as universal, and how we give birth effects every aspect of how we nurture. There’s also the subjective experience itself. Honestly, birth can feel empowering and life-changing like nothing else (it can also feel like a drawn-out, confusing torture session; a clinical procedure softened by narcotics and culminating in a pink baby swaddled in arms; or a horrible nightmare suffused with deep strains of anger and mistrust). It can feel like you climbed a mountain all by yourself – a spiritual, emotional, and physical ordeal that you kick the ass of on your own terms and under your own power. Not all women are fortunate to have this kind of birth – but I’d like all women to get a shot, a truly informed choice, in the whole business, and our culture is nowhere close.