I cannot write no more,
unless it’s to you
It is a curse and a treasured blessing, too
I want to tell you everything
Perfect ear, ear of rage, ear of understanding
Ear of compassion, ear of forgiving
War of sagesse
Will you be my manly midwife
my sage-femme turned hom(m)e;
You don’t need to speak in tongues;
I will howl as a vulgar angel
when the time comes.
All you need to do is
praise, protect, provide warmth
and/or at the very least, catch
(it is I who will deliver)
(there will be no doctor)
Next day edit: this is based on the birth of my partner and my’s fourth child. Our other three kids had been born at home with an excellent and extremely nurturing midwife (and hospital backup options in place). (I had informally studied midwifery in my university years after taking a university family development course taught by three professors who were also midwives.)
For the birth of the fourth our midwife was not in the new country lived in and we could not find a doctor nor midwife in that country who would help us delivery our baby at home. I visited the local hospital and had a tour with the resident midwives there, but their practices were outdated and interventionist (for example, each expectant birthing mother must have an IV needle inserted and taped to her hand as soon as she checks in. And mothers are expected to birth on their backs instead of a more natural, gravity-aiding position). I feared the unnecessary interventions and I felt that the risks of those outweighed the relatively low risks of giving birth at home (again, with hospital backup in place).
My husband supported my decision. I mostly laboured alone since I didn’t want to trouble anyone (I had had offers from several friends/family members but they were leery about home birth and I felt they might hinder rather than help me psychologically during the labour), senseless idiot that I was. Later I had such a sad and lonely feeling about the birth (even though it had been spectacularly successful in terms of outcome) and wish I had managed to have our midwife (or a doula, or an equivalent nurturing female-type presence) there by any reasonable means possible. Birthing alone or just with one’s partner, even when you know a lot about childbirth and biology, is hard work psychologically. I don’t recommend it. But to each birther their own way, and depending on the resources available to them at the time.
This poem, which sort of evolved as I wrote it, also played with the idea of book midwifery. Later I had time to further reflect upon it. We can learn a lot from the past.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the kind souls who support. The poem had odd timing.