Well, crap. I just read Dooce's "Labor Story Part Three" and I'll admit, I cried. Not because it was so beautiful -- although it was, yes -- but because, and I don't even know how to say this other than to say it: my experience giving birth was not transcendent. In fact, it wasn't any kind of adjective deserving of those kind of italics.
I know it's not a competition or that there's any one right way to do things, but it's still weird. I am not a monster, I swear, but the earth didn't shake and the heavens didn't open the moment my daughter came into the world. And I don't think any amount of meditation or visualization would have changed that (though for the record, as you'll read in my own Part Three, I did my fair share of mooing. Who knew?).
So before I get to the rest of my own pedantic (take THAT, transcendent!), albeit breezily elegant labor story, I just want to say that I am choosing to even bother telling it because I owe it to myself.
Because it was just plain.
It was just my own, little experience. It was interesting to me, and had its funny moments and it had its scary moments and it had its really awesome moments, but it just kind of happened. And yes, I suppose my life is changed forever but it doesn't actually feel any different than it did a few months ago. Yes, I love my daughter and think everything she does is really cool, but I would not describe what I feel as being "in love" with her. I cannot wax poetic about what it felt like To Become A Mother because frankly, I have no idea what it feels like. It just is.
I've read a lot about being a new parent, starting about nine months ago and ending with Dooce's post, and I've been surprised at how little I have to offer in the same vein. I'd hoped that having a baby would unleash all sorts of emotionality in me, but I've barely even cried. I have no gut-wrenching metaphors or tear-stained language to offer about the gloriousness of my child's birth. I just have my own, simple, non-transcendent story.
And even without the fireworks or gravitas, it's worth telling. Because it's real, and I love it.
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This honestly is not about me "comparing" myself to Dooce, but rather a response to SO SO SO much I've seen and read regarding Amazing Birth Stories. Heather's story tipped the scales for me, but I didn't write this post until I read a several-page-long "article" today about why breastfeeding is better than bottle feeding. It was reportedly from a medical source, but the piece was mostly opinion, extremely judgmental and relied on "you will be in love with your child" sympathies to prove its point. And I couldn't NOT write something in response. (Despite that I am, actually, breastfeeding.)