Friday, 16 April 2010

For the sake of some clarity

I guess there has been concern over my addition to . I've received some worry and honestly, it annoys me. (Anthony, Shanna, you're off the hook as we already talked a bit and I get where you're coming from and I think you understand what's going on.) I am not in some deep dark place of woe over Ray's birth. And if I was? It's not anyones place to dig me out. Unless of course it's really affecting my quality of life or ability to cope with life. Which it isn't.

It made me feel guilty for posting on the site. It made me feel like I shouldn't feel what I do. And honestly? It was a writing assignment. It's like, four paragraphs. There is no way I can sum up the width and breadth of my feelings on this matter in those many words! I don't think there are enough words in the universe. I took a picture of my scar, sat down and looked at it while considering the questions posed by the site, and the words poured out. It was energizing and a bit cathartic, I had not even realized some of these things were still hiding in there until they came pouring out through my fingertips and my tears.

I think I've felt unconsciously pressured, since my VBAC, to be All Better. But a VBAC is not a bandaid or a magical cure all. Were some things healed? Sure. Some questions were answered. I will admit with a bit of a red face that part of my rush for another child was to get it "right". (There were many other reasons of course, Dori has always been desired on his own merits, and we have always wanted kids somewhat close in age.) But along the way I conquered alot of my demons, learned more about Ray's birth, and in some ways, put it behind me. By the time Dori's birth was imminent, it was about HIS birth, and there was not a thought of somehow fixing Ray's birth, only not repeating the same mistakes, and overall achieving a happier, healthier birth for us all. The VBAC was a great birth, but it was really the pregnancy itself that pushed me to process, to grow, to confront my fears and examine my feelings in real depth.

Since I've been reading, I've been doing alot of thinking. Alot of the other stories have elements of truth for me. It's a many-faceted experience in my minds eye. There you can find women who are triumphant, who have wrung positivity out of negativity, still feel the anguish and relish in the joy of their children. I read them and go "No wait, I feel that too!". And what I wrote, is not true all the time. But it is Truth, if that makes sense. I realized after writing it that it's not entirely factual at this time (I lift my flab and poke at my scar almost every time I go to the bathroom now, but only a year ago I NEVER touched it willingly. My midwives urged me to massage it with oil or lotion and I fearfully heeded their advice) but it once was. These were the words that wanted to be written. They do not speak of the rage, the disappointment, the guilt, the sorrow, the shame, the passion and the purpose in their entirety.

I am not just masochistically digging up difficult feelings. They find me and give me opportunities to heal, mend, and mourn. I try to keep my finger close to the throbbing pulse of the birth-blogging world, and when something jumps out at me that I can lend my voice to, I do so.

I am healed, I am healing, I am changing, I am re-discovering, I am mourning, I am rejoicing, I am determined, I am helpless. There is so much to be done to mend birth in our country, and I will not stop shouting about the good, the bad, and the scarred as long as I live. :)


Shanna said...

While we have discussed it, and I told you that I didn't expect you to be "instantly healed" by Dori's birth, I may have had too much of an expectation of "moving on" from Ray's. I appreciate your excusing me from the criticism, but I'm afraid that I might be just as guilty.

I know that you aren't dwelling on it, but I do have concerns that you will feel guilt over your overall bonding experience with Ray being short-changed by things that were out of your control. BUT BUT BUT BUT: You are absolutely right! They are your feelings to feel, and your emotions to sort through, and your journey to embark on. I am your friend and will support you REGARDLESS of how you choose to deal with your own demons, particularly if they are a different method than my own.

Thank you, Stassja, for reminding me that we are not the same for all of our similarities and that no matter how well I know and love you and yours, I am not "experiencing" your situation with you no matter how much I feel like I am. Enjoy your journey! Handle it however YOU need to handle it. And by all means... Feel free to slap my hand out of the cookie jar next time it finds it's way in there!

Live long and prosper, or some such.

Stassja said...

It's not so much guilt these days as just sorrow. It sucks and I'm a little bummed about it. But definitely not beating myself up, no worries.

MEW said...

"Feelings are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong; feelings just are, they exist. You need not, and should not, judge yourself negatively just because you have or don't have a particular feeling.

"Feelings don't last forever. No matter what you are feeling, eventually it will lift and another emotion will take its place.

"When a strong feeling comes, you do not have to act on it. All you have to do is recognize it and feel it.

"The process of getting at your feelings is important. Try not to block it with excessive self-judgment; save that for your behavior, not your feelings and thoughts. Your actions affect other people. How you feel and what you think is no one's business but your own."

-from "I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors" by Aphrodite Matsakis

Baby, you and I are on two different planets. But sometimes our planets seem to be really, really similar, don't they?

Now that the horrendous holiday season is over and some time has passed, all of Sean's family seems to be expecting me to be "all better." So I lie and say I'm fine, because to do otherwise is to invite their obvious disappointment. And then they don't understand why I have to leave dinner at the fancy restaurant early because of a panic attack. The pressure to be "okay" when I'm still NOT is a big source of stress for me right now. More than just saying I'm ok, I have to ACT like it all the time. Really, I'd just like some understanding and acceptance. But that doesn't fit into the black-and-white dichotomy of "either you're totally okay or you're totally eff'd up."

No idea what to do about it. Thought I'd share. Love you.