Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pregnancy: Secrets & Lies

On my Facebook page, I have Laura Stavoe Harm's well-known (to the birth community) quote: "There is a secret in our culture, and it's not that childbirth is painful. It's that women are strong."

Upon reading that, one of my dear friends -- a soulful, humble, graceful, and honest mother of three --remembered something she wrote in her journal during her first pregnancy, about 8 years ago. She dug it up and emailed it to me. Boldly, I asked if I could put her personal words on my public blog, and she agreed (I told you she was wonderful!).

"The big lie of pregnancy is not that it’s easy, but that it’s difficult. Pregnancy is a whole body experience of your power. Like a sleeping giant, your body unfurls unto itself, yielding moment by moment into something amazingly big and then yes, even bigger than you had thought possible. Pregnancy streches you until you think you might burst. But the greatest secret lies in just how big you can become. And I don’t mean physically. It’s as if your body is simply mirroring a spiritual process, one that once you’ve experienced you understand why menstruating and pregnant women in indigenous societies were separated into tents next to burning, sacred fires. To our modern eyes, such practices seemed misogynist. But in reality, they were honoring the power of the divine by separating it from the mundane. The question is not why women should be allowed to be with men at such a time, but rather why men should be allowed to be with women."

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