Saturday, February 16, 2008

Herstory Repeats Itself

So I am reading this book on recovering emotionally from complicated birth and I am in like chapter 3 or 4. The author talks about history repeating itself. Or in this case herstory repeating itself. Apparently the idea is that we are inclined to give birth much in the way we were born. Or, in the very least there are common themes. Birth as narrative? Or, we do what we know.

The author talks about rebirthing work. This is where you combine breath work with hypnotherapy and you go back to your own birth. When I was somewhere in the middle of ttc I had the opportunity to do rebirthing work. To this day I still find it all dubious - if that makes sense. I mean, really(?) you can go back to your own birth?! When I went back, I found myself having a hard time being born and feeling sluggish and afraid that I was going to die.

Herstory repeating itself.

My mom opted for a natural hospital birth in 1972. I was her third. She's been through it before. Laboured at home. Was only in the hospital for 2 hours before I was born just after 9am. The night before, labour had started and her doctor told her to have a glass of wine to take the edge off. She drank an entire bottle of cherry liquor. She tells the story and finds it funny. [By the way, my mom is not a drinker at all ever].

So that explains the sluggishness and the fear about dying. I was drunk while trying to be born.

Fast forward to September 2007. I know that just before the general anesthesia kicked in I was afraid we were both going to die. I'm sure when the anesthesia traveled through the cord baby C started to feel the effects and quite possibly thought she was going to die. She was already dealing with thick meconium, and had stopped moving. She came out needing resuscitation.

Needless to say, I feel horrible that she had to go through that. That is a whole other post.

Prior to giving birth, I had done some work in therapy around my own birth memories. But really gave it no thought as I prepared for birth. I had worked on pain management techniques and visualisation. But I never really addressed the way my own birth shaped how I felt about giving birth. I have to say I went into it feeling confident about my body's intuition and wisdom. I also felt confident that baby knows what to do too. My goal was to go with the flow. My plan was a home birth. Perhaps I was avoiding the memories of my own birth. But it never seemed relevant.

This is me reflecting and making sense, coming to terms and making peace.

Now what do I do with this idea of herstory repeating itself? What do I do now that I can link my own birth with C's birth? Can I somehow make it so C doesn't have to give birth the way she was born?

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