why we need birthworkers and spiritual evolutions

I wrote my birth story once, postpartum depression riding me to lengths of desperation I could never have forseen. Everything is closing over my head. How we even survive these things.

“What happened to you was assault,” my doula certification instructor quietly informed me seven years later, on day two of the three day training that taught me that my path to birthwork would first take a few sharp turns through my own gut.

Before he raped me- and how like a train, love- before he raped me he’d make me- and how does one adult make another adult do anything? and yet I wasn’t the first- he’d make me smoke and then he’d turn my head down and my ass up- afterwards I’d again patiently explain that he shouldn’t go that far in, framing the matter as a simple misunderstanding- and he’d fuck me dry, hard, and deep; I’d try to shift, twist, simultaneously protect myself and take it, thinking he intended maybe to help me overcome the fear, that maybe this time he (or I) would do something different. But still inevitably his strap-on would slam my cervix, and, inevitably, despite the haze of high and pain and the persistent puppy-hopeful eagerness to appease the monster of him, I would- like water breaking- shatter into high, keening sobs that rolled from head to gut. They stopped him more quickly than, months later, my no or my wrists or my knees or my fists ever would.

May [–]th, 2004, the day my child was born, I told the obstetrician- as I lay knees up, legs spread in a hospital gown- I told the obstetrician- as my amniotic fluid hit the table in waves of shock, my thighs splashed with it, hot like pee, shame- I told her, as she and the nurse rolled me side to side rigid with rage, to place a fresh chuck pad beneath my bare and wobbling ass- what you just did to me felt like rape.

Except rape, I’d say now to my 20 year old self, shivering and nauseous as they slid the needle I’d tried to resist into my spine- except rape does not actually reach that deep.

To my rapist, I’d now say: my cervix remembers the bite of her hook. She slid it past my no, into my womb, pierced the head of my child. She is one of many who prepared the way for you. Some lessons repeat, hypotheses tested over and over in disbelief.  Is no really a word that means try again, slam it in?

Tonight I am 20. My chest is bare, my knees are up, I am a fat spectacle spread on a table under harsh lights. The doctor is sewing my cunt back together. I cannot feel my legs. Blood and shit is all around me. Everyone I see is a stranger in crisp scrubs and moist masks. I can hear my child crying. I am not allowed to hold him. I can hear my child crying. Nothing is touching me but cold pleather and a needle I can’t feel.

Already there are hands on my baby. I am 20 and I’m thinking, jesus fuck, what do I do now?

2 thoughts on “why we need birthworkers and spiritual evolutions

  1. I can’t come here unless I’m prepared to feel. Feel everything.

    I want to take the label “confessional writing,” and wring it out, wreck its serifs. This is something altogether else..

  2. We absolutely need birth workers who understand. Not everyone will get it, not every book or class will prepare one (a worker or pregnant person) for what it means to give birth with a body tied up with trauma. My body did not want to let my baby come out and it was too much for my doula to handle, she was worn out, she was not prepared for such a birth. I wish I would have had a birth worker such as yourself.
    Thank you for sharing this story. It’s powerfully written and needs to be heard. A book of these kinds of stories would be so empowering to many people.

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