I mean, not only did I have no idea, I didn't even know that I needed to have an idea. But it occurred to me that this baby would need to come out, and I would be the one to do it. Me. This was happening to me. I really mostly only thought of me in those days. Another thing I had no idea about.
Though it wasn't at the time, it is now truly shocking to me that the only real education I received about my body was in school, and there was precious little there. I have no memory of that black and white birth video I hear about folks watching in their high school health classes. Maybe I just tuned it out.
But I do remember the period talks.
And I remember the close-ups of the STD's. We now call them STI's - they are not diseases, rather infections that can be treated. Are they calling them STI's in high schools now? Because disease makes it scarier - more shame that way.
So I knew how to NOT get pregnant and I had aced that. And I knew how to get pregnant. No prereq's necessary for this incredibly massive thing that was happening to me. Just . . . into the pool you go.
The journey that made up the next several months of my life was this strange sort of spelunking for the truth. I could not get anyone to talk to me honestly about how to give birth in NYC. My doctor had her hand on the doorknob, smiling and cheery, during our 6 minute visits. She provided me with no guidance whatsoever. None. As a midwife myself, I wonder now, how she feels about taking care of people she barely recognizes.
One of the parents at the school where I worked was a doula who had been to 3 births. On her way out the door with her kids one day, she told me to find out my doctor's philosophy on birth and see if it matches with mine. "You better find out," she said. Do people even have a birth philosophy? If I had to say something, I guess my philosophy was come out OK and get a healthy baby. So the latter part of that statement was clear. Healthy baby.
But next, I learned what it meant, and what it would take, for me to come out OK.
What I discovered is how few practitioners and people in general use that as any measure of an outcome. You see, my idea of coming out OK, was coming through this experience ready and willing in heart, body, and mind to somehow mother a child, while fully accepting what I had to do to get it here.
To be continued . . .
With all I've got!
About the Author:
Tanya Wills is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse).