On my walk this morning I came across a patch of purple violets. They were the first I've seen this year. The white ones always come out before their more passionate kin. I picked a few and brought them home and set them in that pretty little round vase.
I had not left Lloyd since last Thursday and today I felt like if I didn't get out into the world I might truly never be able to do it again and so I got my house-wifey stuff done, my walk done, and drove to town. First I went to the Coop where there was good news and bad news.
The good news was that I didn't run into anyone I didn't want to run into- i.e., almost anyone I know.
The bad news is that I also didn't get to see Billy because he was busy and on the phone and that made me sad.
After that trip I stopped at the apartment where May and Michael are moving today and dropped off a plant and a card at what I hoped was their back door. I have since found out that it was. I Sherlock Holmed it. Then I drove over to Jessie's house where I handed over some pajamas that I'd gotten for the boys. They came from Costco and were too perfect to leave there. The ones I got Levon had heavy equipment on them and the ones I got August had sloths. He sleeps with a sloth every night. I visited for a few minutes. Vergil is finally starting to feel better. It's been a rough recovery for the boy. And Jessie was getting ready to go to a job interview. She is thinking about working a day or two a week to keep her toe in the water which is wise because if you don't do that as a nurse, technology and changes can get way far ahead of you.
And then on I went to a plant nursery where I bought seed potatoes and seeds. The easy part of the spring garden. Buying them, I mean. Not the planting. I am late with both the potatoes and the peas and the onions. All of them. I need to get busy.
And finally- Publix. This time I did run into someone but she was working there and had her name tag on so it wasn't too hard to remember her and we had a little chat.
When I got home I was so tired that after I'd put everything away I laid down for small sleep and it was harder to pull myself out of that than it had been to get out of bed this morning. But I finally did. Mr. Moon was home but he left soon after to go to a basketball game. This has been a very good year for FSU basketball and he and our friend Tom have been faithful and enthusiastic attendees of all the games. They watch the ones that are not played here on our TV and as I go about my business I can hear them cheering and clapping. They are happy guys when they watch good basketball.
I have been thinking more about the whole childbirth thing and specifically the pain associated with it. I remembered when a friend of mine (the woman who ended up being my midwife for Lily and Jessie) had a baby at the hospital in 1974 or '75 without being medicated for pain. She had used Lamaze and this was such a crazy, unheard of thing here that the Tallahassee Democrat did an article about her!
This is the absolute truth.
That's how deeply ingrained it was in our culture that women absolutely needed drugs in order to do what women had been doing since the dawn of time. And we won't even get into what we were led to believe about our ability to breast feed.
But after my labor with Hank I tried very hard to come up with an explanation of how something so common and experienced by every mother on earth had to be so incredibly difficult.
Was the Bible right? Was Eve so sinful that all of her female descendants had to experience pain as punishment and judgement?
So what was it? Why was it?
The only answer I could come up with (and I have written about this theory before) is that when a woman is in labor it is quite common for her to be so overwhelmed by what she's going through that she can't focus on the baby inside of her. She can remember that the reason she's going through all of this in order to have her baby but the pain is intense and the baby is still a rather vague entity.
However, the second the baby is born, all of the mother's attention snaps to the child.
And the pain usually ceases as if a light switch had been flipped.
And so, in a way, the sight of her baby and the sudden cessation of pain create a feeling within that mother that it wasn't the baby that caused the pain but it was indeed the baby's arrival and presence which caused it to stop.
This makes sense to me.
And of course, not all women experience childbirth as pain or choose to have epidurals which cause the pain to disappear and there are Caesarian births which necessitate the use of an epidural and the mothers in these cases don't have that same pain-ceasing association with the baby. It's certainly not THE thing which makes a mother view her child as precious and miraculous but it may be one thing. One part of the many layers of brain-changes and body-changes which involve hormones and instinct and all of the things we experience that cause us to fall in love with our babies.
I've never seen any research about this at all. But it cannot be simply that human female pelvises are too...something...to allow for the type of birth that we have almost all seen in pet dogs or cats.
I know that for me, knowing what I had been through to get these babies of mine delivered made me want to protect them all the more.
Well, that's my theory. I wonder what Ina May would say about it?
To add a little more thought to this, it was when women began to ask for and receive unmedicated births that a lot of the changes in hospital practices occurred. When I was born, almost all mothers were given a drug called Scopolamine. It didn't exactly eliminate pain but it did erase the memory of it, along with the memory of the birth, from the mothers. They still felt the pain and reacted to it- thus the restraints that used to be on every delivery table.
But once women were no longer wiped of the memories of what they had endured in labor, they were more apt to want to be treated like human beings, not chunks of muscle and meat. And being able to remember the moment of birth rather than waking up from a dream-state with a nurse's reassurance that yes, they had indeed had a baby and that they would be allowed to see it when it was feeding time, changed everything.
All right. That is entirely enough.
Escorting chickens out of the garden.
See you tomorrow.
That was a slew of errands. So tiring. I had to stop for bread and a prescription on the way home from cards. Traffic was so awful, so much road construction. So glad those are out of the way.ReplyDelete
I always get a huge sense of relief when my errands are done.Delete
I wonder if that drug was what was used to knock out my mother during my birth. She said she came to and all she wanted was a cigarette...Beautiful flowers.ReplyDelete
Bet you anything it was.Delete
I worked with Prepared Childbirth classes for awhile after I had my children and I believe it is important to be open minded and honest in helping to prepare women for childbirth. Labor and delivery is different for different people and situations. I had natural childbirth but I would never tell someone there was no pain. I did feel pain. The important thing is learning what is going on with your body and working with it using many methods that can be taught. And in the end if you need an epidural then that is okay too. Better that then some of the drugs of the past that had a negative effect on the baby. I used the Bradley method of natural childbirth which is similar to Lamaze only it does not use the panting type breathing. I always wanted to do the Leboyer method of childbirth but at the time could not find anyone that would do it. I love the way that method considers what the child is going through in the birthing process. Modern hospital births assault the baby with just about everything totally opposite to what the baby has known before birth. It just seems wrong.ReplyDelete
Yes, knowing what's going on in the body is extremely helpful. I agree. And that's one of the reasons that childbirth classes are so important. I don't understand women who do not want to educate themselves about what's going on in their bodies.Delete
Leboyer had some beautiful ideas, didn't he? He truly considered the feelings and well-being of the babies.
I really do feel as if my son was assaulted during childbirth. He arrived with a black eye and two cuts on his head from the forceps. He was a larger baby, presenting face first, poor little guy. I have often wondered how this difficult arrival affected his personality. He’s a good boy, but hyper attentive to the world. Nothing passes beneath his notice. I wish I could have given him a more peaceful birth.Delete
Interesting reflections on childbirth. My mother gave birth to me in her bedroom without any drugs or even gas and air. The village doctor was present. It was the same with my younger brother two years later. I doubt that many poor women in India have medical intervention when giving birth. They probably just pop the baby out and carry on with their daily work.ReplyDelete
Your mother was lucky! Not because you and were brother were born safely but because no one interfered with her, thus allowing a greater chance of safety for all of you! I have no real knowledge about where babies in India are born but I think that probably most of them are now born in hospitals. And trust me- that popping out a baby and carrying on with daily work is sort of a myth.Delete
Like the stork!
Didn't your father have "the talk" with you, Mr. P?
Sloths have become so hip! I'm always surprised by how many sloth toys and fabrics I see. When we were kids, people barely knew what a sloth was!ReplyDelete
Your theories about the pain associated with childbirth are interesting. I can definitely see that a woman would feel so invested in her child by the time it arrived that it would help cement a bond -- and the cessation of childbirth pain could be a huge element of that. I've actually never asked my mom how she delivered me or my brother, but since it was the late '60s I'm guessing plenty of drugs were involved.
Or possibly a stork?Delete
Sloths ARE incredibly popular right now. It's crazy! August sure loves them.Delete
Your mother probably didn't remember much about her deliveries. And you're probably right about the drugs.
I feel certain, however, that neither a cabbage leaf nor a stork were involved.
I could have been that woman in 1974-although no article was written about my un-medicated birth using Lamaze breathing. Evidently, I was the first patient the doctor and nurses had encountered to do so and they were so shocked that I managed, it was funny--in a tragic sort of way. It was my first birth. I had told the doc previously that, if I could avoid it, I did not want medication indicating I had a high tolerance for pain and noting I had had a root canal without any meds. He was very patronizing, saying that giving birth was a little different. At my six week check up, I told him he was right--the root canal was a hell of lot more painful!ReplyDelete
"In a tragic sort of way..." For sure!Delete
Luckily, I've never had a root canal without drugs but I will tell you that the kidney stone I had once was not QUITE as painful as childbirth was to me. I'm so glad for you that you got through the delivery so well. I am sure that you taught that doctor and the nurses a thing or two! Hurray for you, Mary!
Uterine contractions just hurt. It's a muscle, doing it's job, stretching the cervix. All three kids hurt like hell but Katie's birth was the worst because they did an episiotomy with benefit of freezing. Having your perineum cut with a pair of scissors is the worst pain I've ever felt. She was big and stuck until the last minute and then everything happened at once.ReplyDelete
I love the photo of escorting chickens out of the garden.
Oh, poor you. I don't remember the episiotomy very much from when Hank was born. Of course I never got another, delivering at home. I will tell you that I delivered Lily, who weighed over ten pounds (there was shoulder dystocia) without tearing. The perineum is an amazing piece of muscle.Delete
I truly despise the Eve story that has caused so much misery for women. Like Mary above I was the first woman who had insisted on no drugs that the doctor and nurses had encountered and the nursery nurses were astounded at how alert my babies were after delivery. as for the pain, I do remember transition, so intense that my only thoughts were getting through each contraction to the exclusion of paying attention to anything else but when those kids pop out, it's over. amazing how it stops immediately and I felt so euphoric!ReplyDelete
That's exactly how I felt, Ellen! Just sheer euphoria! I love looking at birth pictures because almost every mother shows that emotion on her face after her baby is born. It's a life-changing moment, for sure.Delete
And somehow, I am not surprised that you refused pain medication. You're that sort of woman!
I was the resposible adult at my mother's goat's birth. It hurt her as much as it hurts a human and she wasn't happy about it! I have had three births and each was different in the miracles that happened and the issues I had to deal with. I would never choose something that would distort the experience, but man the pain was real...ReplyDelete
I think that your last sentence sums it all up perfectly!Delete
I've never seen a goat give birth!
marching chickens. Elegant. Childbirth, whew...and then rushing hormones, squirting milk, holding little god in your arms against naked breast, baby opens eyes and makes a sound. There is nothing more exquisite than childbirth. The pain , if you call it that, can not be described. but it is short lived.ReplyDelete
You're so right, Linda Sue. Say what you will, birth is the creation of life and as such, it is completely exquisite.Delete
Such interesting convos you have here!ReplyDelete