"The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power." -Heather McCue
Belly buttons are a funny thing. I used to love my belly button. I decided at age 19 to pierce it and a little jewel made its home in my belly button until I was pregnant with Julian. It never quite looked the same after having Julian and I doubt that it'll ever look the same again. Today I looked at my belly button's reflection and barely recognized the now belly button-turned-volcano sticking out of the center of my body. The baby is so low it almost points down. Julian loves my belly button. I think he thinks it's the baby, or some pathway to the baby (which, I guess, technically it is) and likes to kiss it, stroke it, and rest his head on it. Every morning he comes into our room, jumps into bed, and immediately goes for my belly button. "Hi," he says, as though he's been away for decades. After a few minutes of relentless love on my belly button, I say "that's enough" and explain to him that mommy's belly button hurts. We repeat this process multiple times throughout the day. I wonder if he'll understand when the baby is born that there is no longer a baby in mommy's tummy and he won't be mad when mommy's belly button no longer looks like a sun. "Sun," he says and signs to me when he sees my belly button. I love that my son is not afraid to kiss the sun. Makes sense, he is my little ray of light.
Today was my estimated due date. Since it's 8:30pm I doubt he's greeting planet Earth today but that's okay. As I sit here thinking about where we were 40 weeks ago (celebrating Julian's birthday a bit too much *wink wink*) and the journey since, I need to remind myself that we put out trust in the process back then and I need to trust in it now. I've been trying birth-inducing tricks the past few days (walking, spicy food, ankle massage, eggplant parm, pineapple) more out of experiment and jest than truly believing they'll make this little dude come out any sooner. I have to believe that he will come when he is ready because so far this pregnancy, the process hasn't failed us yet
"The knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions lies deep within each woman. Successful childbirth depends on an acceptance of the process." -Suzanne Arms
When did we, women, lose the ability to know? Last saturday my friends threw me a mother blessingway ceremony to send me some positive vibes as I prepare for my second entry into motherhood. It was a beautiful and balancing afternoon for me and I left Kathy's house feeling incredibly prepared- emotionally and physically- for the home birth of my second son. Almost everyone at the blessingway had home births themselves and I look to that group, my dear mother friends, for encouragement and support for my own experience. My friend and doula, Mary Beth, was there and her words of encouragement (among many) were the phrase, "mama knows." Mama knows about birth, her body, and her baby. But, I have to ask, when did we forget?
My last pregnancy I relinquished a lot of my power to "the experts." I read the books, listened to the endless advice, and ultimately gave over the womanly knowledge inside of me that I should have trusted and listened to the whole time. This time around, I didn't want to make the same mistake. I didn't want to quiet the voice inside me, instead I wanted to help it sing out loud and reclaim that which I lost. I feel that through this pregnancy I've accomplished that and while we wait these last few days for our son to make his arrival, I know I did everything I could do to have the pregnancy, and hopefully birth, that I want and deserve as a woman. Only time will tell now and I will rest tonight, patiently awaiting his arrival with my open heart.
Here is a photo my friend, Amanda, took at the blessingway. See the belly button? :)