“Birth is a creative process, not a surgical procedure. I picture dancers on a stage. Once, doing a pirouette, a woman sustained a cervical fracture as result of a fall; she is not paralyzed. We try to make the stage safer, to have the dancers better prepared. But can a dancer wear a collar around her neck, just in case she falls? The presence of the collar will inhibit her free motion. We cannot say to her, ‘this will be entirely natural except for the brace on your neck, just in case.’ It cannot be ‘as if’ it is not there because we know that creative movement and creative expression cannot exist with those constraints. The dancer cannot dance with the brace on. In the same way the birthing woman cannot ‘dance’ with a brace on. The straps around her abdomen, the wires coming from her vagina, change her birth.” –Dr. Michelle Harrison
I woke up this morning thinking about this quote. I’ve shared it on my blog before, but that was in 2008 and so it has been lost in the shuffle of other posts (and many, many quotes!) since then. My ongoing thought process actually didn’t have much to do with the quote, though my recent labor pictures post illustrates the idea of freedom of movement throughout labor according to my own body’s messages, rather than assisted with anything else. However, thinking of dancing and birth made me think of the pendant my husband gave me following the birth of our daughter. He actually gave it to me for Christmas first, but since he gave me four other pendants for presents, I gave this one back to him and told him to save it for a post-baby present! Given how I then felt after birthing her, it felt like a perfect present. I love how this exuberant goddess is dancing for joy. And, how her upswept arms form a heart-like shape. I was so happy to have MY BABY. When I wear this pendant, I remember that feeling of relief and happiness after giving birth to her. Every night when I look down and see her there in my arms I feel lucky and also this continued sense of surprise, almost, to have her here with me. It all seems so magic.
I was talking to my husband about this last night (well, quietly croaking, since I’ve had laryngitis for several days) while on our nightly walk. We’d noticed that Noah’s tulip tree actually bloomed! I told him I hadn’t been sure it would actually survive (clear parallels here), but look, now here we are and look at this baby who is here with us while the flowers bloom. We looked quietly for a minute and then I said, “remember how we almost decided not to try again?” I feel like it was brave to try again. I was brave.