"When I was thirteen years old I woke up one morning, my thighs covered in blood, like a war, like a warning." - Ani Difranco
That sounds about right. I spent that day in agony, doubled over in pain and sobbing into my pillow, wondering how on Earth I would learn to endure this for the rest of my life. I was an emotional kid. My body never took well to hormonal shifts, and my mental state wasn't too crazy about it either. For me, puberty was a long, painful horror show. The doctors pretty much summed up that my body was rejecting the process, which resulted in everything from ulcers to intenstinal spasming. Ages twelve to fifteen hurt a lot, then when the big day finally came, it brought on severe cramping and migraines.
As you might imagine, I was pretty well pissed off at being born female at that point in my life. I begged my Mom for months to have my lady parts removed. She wouldn't budge, so I soldiered on. As I got older, the monthly symptoms mellowed out a bit, but even through my twenties I would get blasted with bad months where I spent whole work days lying in bed with the lights off, trying to keep my middle section still through the pain.
At some point during this voyage of female discovery I became acquainted with some of the more frightening aspects of childbirth. Things like fistulas and epesiotomys painted a terrifying picture, one that kept me from even considering having kids for most of my twenties. Even after I figured out how much I really wanted kids, birth still scared the crap out of me. I wanted a baby enough to close my eyes and jump, but I pushed the idea of birth as far out of my mind as I could. Inside, I was just as scared as ever, and doubted whether or not I really could do it.
So this is how scared I was of birth. I was stupid scared, mind-twistingly scared, shudder-at-the-thought scared. That is, until I got pregnant. Somehow that fear lifted as soon as I felt the fullness of another life in my guts. I don't think there is a single thing about this pregnancy that has surprised me more than that.
Sometimes I think it might be that I was so scared of not being able to have a baby at all that when that happened, all other fears were zapped with laserbeams. Other times I wonder if it isn't just the steady flow of pregnancy hormones supressing how terrified I actually am. But then I search inside myself, looking into every little nook and cranny, and no, I just don't find that old familiar fear. It's left me, and now the last thing I seem to be worried about is whether or not I'll be able to deliver this baby.
Instead, I feel this unexpected flow of confidence. The only explanation I can find for that feeling is maternal love, another surprising aspect of pregnancy. I can't believe how much I already love the baby, how protective I am of her, and how much I need to feel her there every time she moves. Sometimes I look at Scott and wonder how he must feel. Can he possibly feel as much as I do yet?
I would do anything for this little person in my belly. I'm her mother. So if that means enduring hours and hours of extreme pain, so be it. I can deal with pain. I can survive it, and it won't last forever. Somehow I know I can't break. I can't fail. There's just no other option.
Besides, if we weren't built to do this, we wouldn't all be here, would we?
Of course, maybe I'm just naive, and maybe in the heat of the moment all that fear will finally turn up and shake me good. You know what though? I'm not even scared of that.
This oxytocin is some good shit.