Monday, July 14, 2008

A Father

I spoke in church on Father's Day. I talked about my experience with fathers - my own and my husband. When I look back on my father so many things come to mind. Different emotions, different memories... I had a lot to speak about. I was a tiny bit mad at my husband that weekend ;) and I only had about a day to actually write the talk. Nothing seemed to be going right. I finally just wrote a bunch of memories that seemed to flow to me about my own dad. I had some ideas of what I wanted to say about my husband but I felt like when I went to give the talk that it didn't come out right. It didn't seem to really present my idea of my husband as a father. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and I did have some distinct impressions about things I wanted to say about my husband but I got emotional and tongue tied and I was brief - also because they surrounded birth and I didn't want to offend anyone. You say natural birth, or home birth, and people draw their defenses around them. Maybe roll their eyes. You know. I've thought about it though and realized a way I could have presented it and now I'm a little bit sad I didn't take that opportunity. That I didn't try to humble myself and forgive my husband that weekend so that I was thinking happy thoughts about him, instead of just having this confusion hovering. So. Here is what I wish I would have said about him.

As my thoughts about my own father have changed over the years, I expect my thoughts of my husband's role as a father to change also. I expect this and I see how the difference in how he treats the kids as they mature, the difference between boys and girls, babies and 9 year olds, public and private. Sometimes he's a strong father, sometimes he's the funny dad. Sometimes he tries to be the authoritarian, sometimes he's patient and kind. When I think of my own father I smell fresh wood and sweat and think of long talks, certain music, warm and comfortable. When I think of my husband, I always think of a certain experience, whether I think of him as father, friend, or lover. It's an all encompassing feeling and stronger than any emotion or experience I've EVER had. We have had 4 babies. He has held me through 2 of those labors. He worked with me. I know how strenuous it can be to support a woman during labor. He didn't back down. He used all his strength. He was there with his hands on my back, whispering to me, wiping my forehead, giving me drinks, and touching me. We were truly one. As our third baby was born my husband took him into his hands and unwrapped him from a tangled cord. He helped bring him into this world; together we were the first hands to touch our boy. We sat, snuggled together, a new quiet family. I got up after a while and went to clean up. My husband sat on the floor with our baby in a soft warm towel pressed to his chest. I watched him snuggle that baby, in the dim light of an early winter morning. With tears in his eyes he whispered to our new son. They were glowing. Even in pictures taken of that morning they were glowing. This is who my husband is as a father. He is a strong nurturer. He starts out with faith in my body and a natural process. He has knowledge to be involved in that journey and strength to help me through the difficult parts. He was gentle and calm, welcoming this new baby into our home. He was tender, taking care of me so sweetly after the births of our home born babies. The level of responsibility and involvement a homebirth takes really developed these features in my husband and made him SUCH a strong protector and provider in his expectations that our family have something better.

Birth Story

I have attended a few Mother's Blessing ceremonies during this past week. They have been SO nice. Can I say that they sure beat out your typical baby shower?! They are such joyous loving occasions! I was privileged to have had two of them. My friends are awesome! I'd like to write more about them specifically another time, but I really wanted to share a poem that I love. I pulled this out to give to my friends this week. I've found it a couple of places on other blogs and it's just beautiful.

Birth Story

(I'm drowning)

And the midwife holds me in her arms and says
Yes, it's hard, isn't it? You're doing so well!
(I'm surfacing)
And she says you're doing it exactly right
(And I'm drowning)
And she says you're taking such good care of your baby
(And I'm surfacing)
And she says yes this is how it is, you'll live, you're good and strong
(And I'm drowning)
And she says, good, good, that's good!
(and I'm surfacing)
And part of me says damn you, I'm dying here!
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says, Oh God, I am doing this, aren't I?
(And I'm surfacing)
And part of me says leave me alone save me help me
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says this is the most incredible thing I've ever done
I can't believe I'm actually doing this yes yes yes
(And I'm surfacing)

And the baby comes in a long, sea salt waterfall flood ocean of sweat and tears and birth waters and blood and I take her slippery warm wide-eyed amazed and knowing little self against my created~and~moved~the~universe warm and billowy belly and tell her she's wonderful and safe. And I follow her with a red and glorious afterbirth.

And I think "I did it. I am totally incredible!! We want some prizes and news coverage in here." Did you see that? Was that great or what?!?!?”

(And the Doctor writes:
32 year old gravida II Para I presents in active labor. Normal, spontaneous vaginal delivery of a viable female LOA over intact perineum. Apgars 9 & 10.
Uneventful delivery.........)

~ by Barbara Kozlowski, CNM