Day 17 — A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Confession: I’ve been reading the same book for over a year. I’m about 12 pages in. It’s not that I don’t love the book, it’s that when push comes to shove…. reading is the first thing I abandon. Not out of desire, but necessity.
Words are my weakness, and I don’t put books down. I read them exhaustively until I’m drowning in sleep deprivation and the sorrow that comes from a good book ending.
I think every book I crack open, changes me or affects what & how I think. That’s why I think reading is so important, and why I word vomit on y’all. I drown in dialog and would much rather read a text message than talk on the phone.
But if I have to pick one book, it would have to be Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin.
I read Spiritual Midwifery when I was pregnant with my firstborn. It was WAY too hippie fabulous for me and I put it back on the shelf and suffered through a long, drawn out birth in the hospital. I took it off the shelf when I was pregnant the second time and my husband shook his head no at the idea of a homebirth and put it back on the book shelf. I had my second unpleasant hospital birth. Incidentally, I’d driven to the next city over this second go-round, in hopes that a different hospital would have different results.
I put that beautiful midwifery treasure away and made peace with my marriage ending and so also the end of my childbearing years. I didn’t feel “done”, but I didn’t have a partner and I didn’t want any part of that scene.
I met Superman when his sister introduced us. Spellcheck had been one of my closest friends and she knew we’d hit it off. We did. He started talking about babies before commitment and I was done for. I talked to my doctor, who warned me that I may not be able to conceive after having an IUD for 8 years. They removed the IUD and I got pregnant 2 days later.
I pulled my old favorite book off the shelf and called to make my first appointment with the midwife of my dreams, to attend the homebirth I’d always wanted.
My firstborn was 2 weeks early. My second was 4 weeks ahead of schedule. I wasn’t expecting anything different, only to have the Dumpling arrive 3 days late. Birth, as Ina will tell you in the book… is different with each baby. 36 hours with the first… 6 with the second… and 1 hour with the Dumpling.
Instead of being poked, prodded and strapped to a bed… I weeded my carrots and shaved my legs in the early stages of labor. Instead of being afraid and wishing I had an epidural, I filled my bathtub up and greeted the tiniest love of my life in time for the evening news.
Now I will absolutely admit to telling the midwife I’d made a huge mistake and wanted all the drugs. I always do. Out of my 3 natural deliveries, I’ve bemoaned the horrible torture of unmedicated birth, every time. I never felt the magic or power from conquering that pain, until my home birth.
Also… there are NOT WORDS to describe the unspeakable joy of being tucked into YOUR OWN BED after delivering a baby. Falling asleep staring at your newborn from the comfort of your own home, is worth all the soul-stomping labor pains you could ever imagine.
Thank you Ina May Gaskin, for telling me from the time I was 18 that I could do it. It took me until I was 37 to believe you, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough.
Home birth: the greatest normal thing I ever did in my life & all thanks to that magical hippie book that will sit on the shelf until I give it to my daughter.