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I found her under a gooseberry bush, which is a euphemism of course for a labour so painful I really-actually thought I was going to die.
I did not find childbirth spiritual or beautiful. Instead, it found me, violent & terrifying; a trauma so gruesome that under any other circumstance you’d be given a week in bed, flowers & an appointment with a therapist. But this is an everyday trauma; sitting in cafes, I stared in wonder at all the other women who has been through the same. A room full of car crash victims, pulled fresh from the wreckage and handed a tiny, helpless being to care for, even before the bleeding had been stemmed. Everywhere, these incredible strong women, carrying on.

He asks me, sometimes, will we have another? And I laugh this funny laugh that doesn’t even really sound like me, and say, sure, but it’s your turn this time.
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To split yourself in two is just about the most radical thing you can do, & I’d be lying if I said I understood it, even now. But I understand that mothers -whatever their story- are fierce, & awe-inspiring, & just a little bit magical.

So happy mother’s day, mamas.

11 Comments

  • Little Jam Pot Life

  • June 23, 2015

I love your honesty in this Sara, Birth is tough work and definitely tests your strength. Thank you for linking up with me xx

  • Sara

  • March 15, 2015

I like very much the idea of becoming more resistant; I definitely don’t believe it just magically ‘gets easier’ like they say. Yes to the fairy tales, yes to the primal fears – for all our bright lights and medical gear we’re just frightened animals in pain. I hope you’re right about baby number 2, & I hope I’m brave enough to find out.

  • Sara

  • March 15, 2015

Thank you! &, I’m sorry… x

  • Sara

  • March 15, 2015

You are so right when you say that we’re shamed into silence. It’s such a well-it’s-done, get-on-with-it culture, and it isn’t helpful. Yes, I’m glad my baby is healthy, but I quite liked *not* being made half crazy with pain, and really had hoped for both. Why is that too much to ask?

  • Sara

  • March 15, 2015

brilliant! I understand a c-section is painful and difficult in its own way, but I can definitely process the idea of that pain more than another ‘natural’ delivery. Hope your 3rd went as hoped! x

  • Sara

  • March 15, 2015

Though I am very late responding to this comment, I read it quite some time ago (before I understood about replying to comments, in fact!) and think of it often. It makes me think, sometimes, maybe I could. Thank you for sharing, and sorry I never replied! x

  • Phillipa

  • January 06, 2015

I completely agree 100%. Beautifully put. And it irritates me that people conveniently forget childbirth was (and still is in some countries) the largest cause of death for women. It is terrifying. I felt broken in for life by my first birth (not traumatic delivery), or perhaps I should say broken in for motherhood. It’s not that it gets easier, rather I’m a gazillion times more resistant, you have to be (thus second delivery recently, which was traumatic, i coped fine… I think!). Hence renewed love for the dark fairy tales of old because birth and motherhood tap right into a lot of those primal fears I think. And yes it is the best thing ever being a mum but the labour and pregnancy is a major ordeal. All I can say to reassure you on baby no 2 is it’s faster and you are tougher!! Xx

  • Rachel

  • October 10, 2014

Agree to every last word!! X

  • Jo

  • August 31, 2014

I’ve only just seen this because I’m mooching your blog for cake instructions…! So now I’ve been busted because it’s impossible not to comment.

This is such a beautiful pain-filled piece of writing. I think, if we’re honest, hardly any women have the birth experience they really wanted or were persuaded to expect. And there’s this *obsession* with ‘at least you have a healthy baby’ – a comment designed to shame and silence all in one unhealthy blow.

The trauma we’ve experienced shouldn’t be negated by the presence of a healthy baby.

I’m glad your wrote this post. These experiences shouldn’t be kept secret, whispered about at support groups or in therapists’ offices. They should be addressed in all their honest brutality.

Thank you.

  • teacakebiscuit

  • July 19, 2014

I had an awful first birth, a c-section for my second and it was the best decision i made. having another c-section at the end of september for number 3. i’ve been there, worn the t-shirt, fistpumped the air for womanhood and all that, i don’t need to do it again. can’t wait.

  • Meredith

  • June 28, 2014

Have you heard of the Birth Positive movement? It sounds like you experienced quite a traumatic first birth. I would highly recommend finding a meet up in your neighbourhood if you do decide to have a second baby, to help ensure that your next baby’s entrance into the world is gentler for both of you.

Good luck!

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