Meeting the newborn

I had a client about 15 years ago who was planning a home VBAC. She was a clean freak! Her house, children, car and personal grooming were all immaculate. We had several appointments before she broached the subject of a ‘special request’.   

She had seen many of my births on video and was concerned about being handed a slimy, vernixed baby. The thought made her skin crawl. She wanted my assurance that I would take the baby and clean it before she had to touch it.

She had a long hard birth- the water tub didn’t help at all. The only thing that seemed to be effective in helping her was sitting on the toilet in the dark. A few hours before the birth the membranes released and the waters were stained with thick, fresh meconium. Pushing on the toilet produced an edematous (swollen) vulva, and some vaginal tears that were bleeding. When the baby emerged with the Mom standing, he was hard to hold onto because he was completely covered in pasty white vernix, meconium and blood. I’m sure he was the stickiest little tarbaby I’ve ever seen!

The mother grabbed him to her heart immediately, sat down on the floor and began the sweetest caressing of him. There’s something important about the pain and the struggle to give birth. It melts away all our social taboos and makes it so we will love whatever God gives us.

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This little story was first published online on the Birthlove website.  The website has been down for some time but has now been resurrected.  Check it out for some great reading.

3 thoughts on “Meeting the newborn

  1. ummm…yeah it is a beautiful story that is srsly marred by the racist use of the word tarbaby. so by the end of the story i end up feeling queasy. i love you gloria and i cant stand that word.

  2. Mai’a, thanks for pointing me to info about the controversy about the term “tarbaby”. I have never heard of it being thought of as racist. I googled and found this article
    http://johnstodderinexile.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/i-did-not-know-the-term-tar-baby-is-racist/

    Now, what should I do? Leave my story as is and risk that it will be copied and pasted and sent around, without these comments to contextualize it? Change it and remove our comments? What do you think? I’m open to your coaching. Gloria

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