Thursday, December 8, 2011

All hail the matriarchs

I've been thinking about my mother a lot lately, in part because I attended a birth a couple of months ago. That experience reminds me that everyone arrives on earth in the same way, through the mother. Even a "good" labor and delivery is strenuous and a little freaky. I am in awe of parents everywhere for having the courage to go through with it.

My mother endured labor and delivery five times - FIVE, holy cow. That was during the age of heavily medicalized childbirth so she was drugged, strapped down and made to give birth as unnaturally as possible. I'm very grateful she was so valiant! But oh my, I wish she hadn't been forced to suffer so much.

For the first time in my life, I sat with an infant the other day, just for 2 hours. Afterwards I was wiped out, even though everything went well and she didn't even cry until the very end. I can't imagine what it must be like for parents. As for my babyhood, well, I was the 'bad' baby. I had terrible colic, never slept, got sick all the time with hideous ear infections. I was a hot mess. They told me the only way I would sleep is if they ran the vacuum cleaner while simultaneously playing Bach on the hi-fi. It's not my fault, but my god, can you imagine how many things they tried before they found the right combination? I can't imagine how exhausting and frustrating it must have been to try to make me comfortable. As an infant, I was inconsolable.

It's not mother's day, but I'm in a mood to salute the mothers of the world. Y'all are bad asses! I am in awe.


jeanette from everton terrace said...

Thanks Reya, appreciated for sure. It took months to figure out how to get Meghan to sleep. I was soooo exhausted. I must say, when I babysit at this age I realize how much harder it is now that I'm older (I'll be doing it tomorrow night for friends so think of me). Physically, it was easier in my 20s.
Bill is one of 7 children. Don't know how my mother in law did it either.

Reya Mellicker said...

I will send you a steady stream of energy tomorrow! And much love. You will prevail, but omg.

Carolina Linthead said...

I have so much respect for mothers and motherhood! Even bad mothers...I mean, come on, this is such a tough job! Some do it better than others, but omg, not something I want to take on. Thinking of you, Reya and sending love, always. Oh, and I LOVE that first pic! Very North Carolina with those pine cones :-)

Steve Reed said...

Bach and the vacuum cleaner?! That's awesome. Were you really sleeping, or were they just drowning you out, I wonder?!

I don't know how parents do it, either. Our dogs have consumed my life over the past couple of months. Whenever I get stressed I think to myself, good grief, this is nothing compared to a baby!!

ellen abbott said...

yeah, birth is pretty awesome, to have that living baby expelled from your body. we are most fertile when we are young for good reason.

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve - ha! Maybe they were drowning me out, who knows? People do wht they have to.

It's the time of pushing and transition in the process of labor that blows my mind. The willpower and force that the delivering mother musters - usually after many hours of active labor - well, it's the stuff of superheroes! When the baby arrives, all attention turns to welcome the new person into the room. I'm going to be a doula again in February or early March. Wow.