Monday, February 14, 2011

That was then, but this is now.


My birthday sunset. Wow.

It was a great birthday day. I worked hard with clients I genuinely adore. One of my clients is a woman so pregnant she's ready to pop at any second. It was incredible to think about my own mother, may her soul rest in peace, going through all that fifty-eight years ago.

1953 can NOT have been a fun year to have a baby in the U.S. Whoa. One thing I'm thankful for is that at least Dr. Gray didn't yank me out with tongs, a common practice at the time. But I'm sure my mother was drugged beyond submission, perhaps with ether - a terribly toxic substance. No doubt she was laid out flat on her back, strapped down. I know my father was also in the hospital with torn hamstrings so my mother must surely have been very worried all the way around.

One of my theories about why we Baby Boomers got into hallucinogens revolves around the idea that most of us were born stoned out of our minds. When we came of age we of course sought a similar state of consciousness. Right after birth, we were held upside-down and smacked on the ass, hard, by the doctor. Is it any wonder that one of our slogans was about distrusting authority? Or that we believed you should never trust anyone over thirty? Hmmm

Breast feeding was "out" during the 50's. After birth we were denied our mothers' milk. Instead we were fed some kind of hideous combo of cow's milk, corn syrup and god knows what else, out of a bottle. We were kept in "play pens" (cages, really). Dr. Spock advised mothers to "allow" their kids to cry themselves to sleep.

Oh man. Is it any wonder so many of us turned on, tuned in and dropped out? Or spent many years in psychotherapy? I did both - of course!

We Baby Boomers are all much older than thirty now, and many of us have given up our old habits around hallucinogens. At least I have. Thank God! I'm outta here early to go work on clients.

Happy Monday, y'all.

26 comments:

Pauline said...

Interesting - I hadn't thought of our 60s rebellions being related to the manner of our births but it makes sense. Those practices were still in place when I had my own first child in 67. I was given so much ether I nearly died. My fourth child was born in the midst of the "natural childbirth" movement six years later and I had no drugs at all. What a monumental difference it made!

glnroz said...

happy Monday to you,, and glad you had a happy birthday. (from a fellow "boomer",,lol)

Dan Gurney said...

Gads! I was born in 1951. Tongs were part of the story. Good post.

Jo said...

PHENOMENAL photos. Wow!

I have no idea how I escaped the "turn on, tune in, drop out" activities of our era, but maybe I was just holding out to do it in my 50's! :-)

The childbirth thing? Don't get me started. The minute my mother sat me down to tell me how babies were born (not how a woman became pregnant), I thought, "How inhumane. Not for me."


My grandmother gave birth to twelve babies at home (including one set of twins), and I had all four of mine at home. What happened to that poor generation of young mothers in between those two generations who got hornswaggled into thinking that pregnancy was an illness?

oops. getting off the soapbox now.

Much love to you today, Reya!

ellen abbott said...

What a beautiful sunset Reya. a great present from the cosmos. that's an interesting correlation between our manner of birth and our coming of age. I had both mine with no drugs. the first in 1977. everyone kept trying to talk me out of it. the nurses told me later that they could not believe how alert my daughter was. all the other babies were listless and asleep, she was awake and looking around. and me, once it was over, I felt great, jazzed and energized. of course later I slept but there was no grogginess and I was 'there' for the whole thing. breast fed them both, when they cried I picked them up. the difference in my relationship with my parents and my relationship with my kids could not be more different.

Vicki said...

What a great perspective! Both of my babies were C-section so I never had the birthing experience through delivery.

Another great post! Peace and Love coming your way!!! Have a great day!

janis said...

Love the sunset! Happy Belated Birthday! Im just getting back in the swing of life and feel so out of the loop and behind.
My birth was 1962 and my Dad's cousin was a nursing student at the time. My Mom consented to have Connie & her fellow students there to watch me come into the world. I always thought that was rather cool of Mom to have a big audience, of course Dad was down in the Father's waiting room.

Hey~ BTW~ A friend of mine is getting ready for a trip to DC. She doesnt travel much & wants to see Gallaudet (her Mom graduated from there). Any suggestions or cool links you can give me to pass on to her of places to see? She loves US History. She's on a budget.. email me if you get a minute. Thanks Reya

janis said...

Love the sunset! Happy Belated Birthday! Im just getting back in the swing of life and feel so out of the loop and behind.
My birth was 1962 and my Dad's cousin was a nursing student at the time. My Mom consented to have Connie & her fellow students there to watch me come into the world. I always thought that was rather cool of Mom to have a big audience, of course Dad was down in the Father's waiting room.

Hey~ BTW~ A friend of mine is getting ready for a trip to DC. She doesnt travel much & wants to see Gallaudet (her Mom graduated from there). Any suggestions or cool links you can give me to pass on to her of places to see? She loves US History. She's on a budget.. email me if you get a minute. Thanks Reya

jeanette from everton terrace said...

You know I don't know why but it has never occurred to me that when a woman gets drugs during her delivery, the baby gets them as well. How silly I didn't think of it, especially when I'm all about what food you are eating while pregnant because the baby is in there. Wow.
I didn't have drugs but not because I was being responsible for my daughter, I don't know why, it was the 80's, perhaps they were out of fashion or something. I'm glad though, quite glad.

Angela said...

Happy birthday, Reya! Have you read Miranda`s last blog post? About how children are being treated in Tanzania, still today? And better, what Miranda does about that?
My mother told her nurse she wanted to be shot during childbirth, but the nurse only laughed. I just wish babies` heads weren`t so big.

The Bug said...

I was born in 1964 & I think my mom wanted to breastfeed, but she was iron deficient, so on the formula we went. And I think I've been searching for mother's milk ever since :)

I never wanted to raise children, but I was always interested in the being pregnant & giving birth thing - like it was an experience I should check off my bucket list. I think I might have considered being a surrogate, but wasn't exposed to that opportunity. And also I'm not sure I could have given the baby away.

Anne said...

Oooh, I love the Reasoning Behind the Use of Drugs in our Stoned-Out Youth. I'll buy it.

Linda Sue said...

Right on target as usual, Reya. Our generation - smacked from the beginning! The 50's were numbing- little wonder we blasted our way through the late 60's and 70's! (and 80's and 90's) I think that we have done a great job!
I had a drug free childbirth, nursed my son till he was four- slept with him when he needed reassurance and comfort in the darkness- never said NO without talking about it first...The only thing that he resented about being brought up by me was that I made him play with "compromised" children- trying to instill empathy- yesterday my son said"that was lame, mom. I hated those kids and it didn't teach me to be empathetic- drop the "em"...that's more like what I learned". Oh well, can't win them all...

Reya Mellicker said...

Pandora, ha!

Jo - I could go on and on, but I won't!!

I'm not against using drugs for pain relief during difficult and/or lengthy labors. I'm truly holistic. Whatever gets you through the experience.

In the 50's though, it was SO extreme!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen I thought about you while I was taking the pics.

Linda said...

On TV, they still want to drug us for every little thing.... with this catch phrase, "ask your doctor if it's alright for you." There was no such thing as counseling for people affected by world war 2 either. One week you are blowing the world up and two weeks later you are reunited with a family you hadn't seen for years and you are building a life together. The world we live in is so much more humane now in some ways. Your reflections are brilliant Reya. Growing up as a baby boomer was a tough life, but still I was spoiled in so many ways. I had more food and clothing given to me than most of the world's people. I was always safe from war and I was loved.

California Girl said...

Happy Birthday Reya. Fun post and I never thought about drugs in that way! Too bad my parents are dead or I'd lay that guilt trip on them! hahahahaha!

Happy V Day too. You sound very happy.

Chris Wolf said...

The end of the Korean war and McArthur wants to take the war to China, and nuke 'em. It's got to add anxiety - no reason not to use ether as you bring another person into this crazy mixed-up world. Our mothers had to wonder, right?

Lynne said...

Happy Belated Birthday Reya!

Your sunset photo looks very much like the colors in my sunrise photo from this morning! Maybe it was just leftover from your sunset!

steven said...

reya i was born in 1957. i haven;t asked my mum how she managed the birth. i know i was a process of three days duration. two false births and eventually arrived. their firstborn. my mum's so small it would have been really hard work no matter the drugs. i like the idea that perhaps that drugged welcoming into this plane causes people to wish to see this place again through the filter of drugs. wow. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Debra it's so cool to see your face!

NanU said...

That sky is hallucinogen enough.
Happy year to you!

Merle Sneed said...

1953? You're a youngster. Happy BD.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Merle!

Whitney Lee said...

Happy Birthday. I love the sunset.

What a difference in the times. I had drugs with both my children. I decided that if they felt what I felt it was better for them if I was calm during delivery. I'm not sure if that's valid, but it was how I justified my choice. Breastfeeding is very much 'in' these days, but I read a statistic recently that said even though 75% of mothers initiate breastfeeding, only 15% or so are still doing it at 6 months. I know that a lot of the women who choose formula do so to avoid droopy boobies. I've decided that's what push up bras are for!

Reya Mellicker said...

It's so complicated, and there are so many demands made on mothers to be. I don't know how you handle it all!