I have embarked on the daunting task of pursuing my MFA in Poetry- I began to write poetry as a child. It was the years of teaching childbirth education, especially HypnoBirthing that developed my collection and desire to teach the unPregnant woman about birth through poetry. Go ahead Google search Maternal Poetry, it’s not very dense.
So why torture myself with this task of writing poetry in genre that is not fully developed? Because when I discuss birth with women that are not mothers they are engaged, full of questions and aching to know more. Their questions are open and honest not yet filtered by the guilt of motherhood. Women very often have this misguided belief that once they become pregnant, a valve opens with this maternal knowledge that is hidden within our DNA. Yes, hormones aid in this fundamental transformation from woman to mother. But let’s face it, we have no clue what a placenta is, or how a baby comes out, or even what this magically number of 10cm means to our body, any other time in our lives. This is coming from a woman that had no clue where a tampon went until I got my period at 15.
That’s why I love engaging in conversations that are honest, silly, and real when it comes to our bodies and birth because fear is what holds us down, ladies! We fear communicating with our partners, our bosses, our doctors, we give up because we don’t understand how it all works. We are human and we are not suppose to understand tomorrow, hell we don’t even have to quite get today. But we deserve to understand how our bodies work, how it reacts to stress, pain and fear.
While I was at the MFA holiday party, one of my fellow poets a young woman writing an amazing collection on female sexuality asked me, “So what is it you do? Do you go to births?” I was more than happy to answer, because I truly believe it is important to tell women that birth is not SCARY. I had a young professor in Psychology ask me to be her doula because I explained it in away that was so against the grain of everything she every heard in textbooks. So engaging in a group of young female poets, they started to ask about pushing, risks of mortality (something most pregnant women wouldn’t dare ask, bottling up that fear), we discussed why babies have soft spots on their head, that babies are engaged and active during birth, and poop. So we laughed and talked openly about how freaking awesome women’s bodies are and concluded with 3 basics.
First things First-
Your body is made to do this. So let it.
Birth will surprise you, it will take you right out of your comfort zone so be honest and trust that you will listen to your body. So listen to your body when it is menstruating, do you get horny the week before your period, do you love to clean, eat salty and sweet, does your back ache, are you sensitive to sounds and light because this is what you will feel during labor at your future birth.
Take a DAMN CLASS! Medical Interventions have been proven to not be the blessed band-aid for birth “pains.” Education, meditation, self-awareness, learning to become confident and self-advocate all come from EDUCATION. So find a class that will teach you to understand your birthing body not just how to be a good patient, because you are not sick you are having a baby. (one day, or never but you will probably have a time that you really wish you knew what was going on with your breasts and uterus)
And I will be around, to answer those questions or I will help you find them.