It's so hard to talk about yourself and share fully all that you do. The truth is, I have imposter syndrome. I never think I'm good enough, have done enough or that I am worthy enough. There, I said it. It's out there and now you know.
I am however working on radical acceptance. What is radical acceptance? It's working to love myself just the way I am now and through all the changes that come my way. It's easier said that done. I know all the lingo, but living that truth is very hard.
It's been a long journey to get to this current state. In February of 2011 my world dramatically changed. Our precious baby girl was born and now we share a birthday. I've come to love having a birthday buddy, but I wasn't thrilled about it at first. It's probably because as much love as I had for her, things just weren't perfect and that was very hard for me at the time.
When we became pregnant, I was over the moon, but my husband was freaked out. He's a caring person and while he was so excited to have a baby coming, he was freaked out about how he would care and provide for his sweet babe since he had been laid off again (twice at that point) and was finishing up grad school. (More on that whole subject later) I was ready for all things baby. Together, we took all the hospital classes, I read books, we prepared much in the way that many American families do.
Then, the big day came. I called my mom and she immediately hopped on a plane to come and to us. After laboring at home in early labor, I just felt like enough time had passed and my mom would soon be there and meet us at the hospital, so we decided to make our way there. On the way, about a block outside the hospital, my water broke in the cab (just like in the movies). Everything went so quickly from that point on, that it all felt like a blur to me. The initial arrival time at the hospital was about 7:30Pm. By 12:01AM, just 4.5 hours later, my sweet baby girl was already earth side.
What I didn't know then, was that my power (my voice) was taken away (or ignored). None of us, my mom included, didn't know what we should have even with all the preparation we did and I walked away from my birth experience traumatized. As a person of color walking around in the world, we are taught from a very young age how to continue on in the face of trauma and not let it consume you, so I did. Even while experiencing 4 out of the 5 most stressful life events that year, both parents changing jobs, a move across the country when our daughter was 2.5 weeks old, the loss of my grandfather on my very first Mother's Day, and recovering from major abdominal surgery (cesarean section) I was a great mom, wife and for the most part appeared normal and happy.
Then, I became pregnant again about 9 months after the birth of my first child. The trauma I was hiding surfaced and I was PISSED. Side story that I'll have to tell more about later - I was talked out of a birth control method (IUD) and then had sex on a day I could become pregnant, and did indeed become pregnant. I was only pissed about not doing what I should have and that I allowed myself to get talked out of what I knew was right for me. However, everything happens for a reason. I don't think loving my son more than I do is possible. He is a gift and my pregnancy and the years that followed helped me along this path.
During this second pregnancy, I knew I wanted to do things differently no matter what. I was not going to allow what happened to me before to happen again. I researched and I walked into Blossom Birth and Family and into my future mentor Mora Oommen.
Blossom and Mora provided me with resources and support, things that I needed to help myself and accomplish my goal, an unmedicated, vaginal birth. Over the next nine months, I did the work. This included counseling, exercise (prenatal yoga and swimming), a VBAC support group, concurrent care with an OB/GYN and a midwife, more childbirth prep classes and lots more reading.
In my second pregnancy, none of the childbirth classes I took were at a hospital. The information provided to me was evidenced based and from people who had seen physiologic birth many times. The classes included Hypnobirthing, Comfort Measures, VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and a private Birthing from Within course.
All the work finally paid off. My sons birth was swift, eight hours in all. I labored at home and when the time came, we called the midwife. When she arrived, I was already pushing (I didn't know it though). She asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said no. She helped me deliver me sweet boy at home.
It was magical! It was powerful and I felt amazing. Only I didn't understand if I could do this now, why did what happened to me the first time occur?
My soul was already stirring. I joined the board of Directors for Blossom Birth & Family one month prior to the birth of my son. Motherhood changed me forever. The journey had just begun.
Read more in my next blog piece. I'll write as soon as I can.