I went to a movie and dinner with a friend from out of town tonight. Natasha has 3 teenagers, all born at home in water. At one point, she said how “lucky” she felt that she has never experienced the induction/cesarean madness that so many North American women have to endure. That statement of hers led to me asking her “Well, how did you get so smart, at your young age, to know to do it at home the very first time?” Her reply was that she had been working in a job with a young woman who had announced one day that her friend had just had a water birth. When Natasha heard that she thought, “Yeah, that’s how I’ll do it, too, when I have a baby.” She had never thought about it before and she didn’t need any more information than that to start her on the path to a homebirth when she became pregnant. I wonder if the woman who inspired Natasha even knows what a difference she made in the life of another woman? We never know when we share our stories, films, photos, and books about birth with others where that information lands and who is moved by it. The smallest thing can make a difference if someone is ready to receive the information.
Natasha and I got onto the subject of “children who challenged us”, as well. We both had first babies who demanded to be fed constantly and did not fit any pictures of the nice content babies in the ads. We both received all the unwelcome input from others that we were “spoiling”, etc. We both dropped our pre-pregnancy weight quickly from walking the floor, jiggling and trying to soothe fretful infants. After sharing our “war stories” in that regard, we both agreed about the gift of those high needs babies. It was a path to a compassionate heart for other women who have hard to manage children. There’s a real humility that comes from having an infant that has a harder time adjusting to life than others and, finally realizing, they might be your greatest teacher.
From there, the conversation went to her son’s intact foreskin. She told me that he came home from high school recently really shaken up to learn that one of his friend’s was cut as a baby. Her son was astounded that anyone could think that was a good idea. Even though his father’s generation includes many cut men, her son was sickened to think that someone as young as him could be treated that way.
She told me that the little handout I gave her when her son was born, “Care of the Intact Penis”, was kept on a shelf in her kitchen for years and the kids liked her to read it to them when they were little. It got lots of giggles but I guess it gave them a firm grounding in appreciating intact male genitalia, too.
There’s such a comfortable, warm feeling in hanging out with a woman who has been through birthing, breastfeeding, and so many other twists and turns of life with me. Over the years since her first pregnancy, we have kept an eye out for each other’s well being. She makes a point of us “having a date” whenever she comes to Vancouver and I’m grateful that she makes an effort to insure that we see each other face to face. When we were deciding on a restaurant, I told her we should go for Thai food because she had introduced me to a wonderful Thai restaurant and I never go there unless she’s with me. She said “Oh, it’s our restaurant then.” I liked that a lot.