Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Weight of the Words

I've been thinking. ("'A dangerous pastime.' 'I know.'")

Thinking about a lot of things, and a lot of things about certain things... as I go through my RSS reader one post after another after another relates to what I want to say, and what I want to say gets so big, and I can't contain it or express it.

But I can try. One word at a time, one post at a time.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my link roundups going forward. It was a nice idea to throw them together each week with no thought to theme, but then one week there were too many heavy topics that were too different from each other, and I don't know what it would have been like to read, but just quick scans through the posts were giving me emotional whiplash, as the writer envisioning my roundup.

So maybe as I go through the weeks I'll post up one link here, one there, another couple over there...

Then again, maybe I won't. Being a mother is hard (I have links about that!), and it's more important that I go to bed relatively early each night and make it to work on time in the morning than it is that I write ALL THE THINGS. Or even a few of them.

Even little posts with only one or two links take time.

But I can do what I can do. One word at a time, one post at a time.

Earlier this month, I wrote a draft which included a slightly rougher version of this:

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Just looking through my daily notes to begin to prepare to write the next part of my pregnancy story brings up so much emotion. (9-25-12 Up @ 6 for medicine, back to bed)

Only three bottles? Surely I have more souvenirs somewhere...
The pink and blue belts are for a contraction monitor and a fetal monitor. When you're a regular guest at the hospital for non-stress tests, they give you a set of your very own to bring to each appointment.

The one-year anniversaries of The Beginning are past. September 15 and 16.

It's easy to feel guilty that I haven't told these stories yet. There are so many voices I've heard in my head at different times -- "You're always promising series and not following through." "I know this is important to you, but by now, who's going to care anymore?" "You might as well not bother, you're going to forget things." "How could you take so long? You are going to forget things, and these memories were important!"

...and so on. You get the idea.

Then a doula friend on Facebook linked to "Birth through the lens of time" at Birth Kalamazoo.

Here's part of what I commented when I first read it:

"'Instead, women were most affected by whether they had felt powerful or powerless. Were they treated with kindness and respect or callousness and disregard?' Yes. This explains why my 'birth story' starts with complications weeks before the actual birth (as it continued after birth for the woman in the article and many others), and why it feels so important to tell on my blog. Also, perhaps, why I haven't really blogged it yet, eight months later, just some intro to it -- because it does feel so important, I want to get it right, and perfectionism is the enemy of creation.

I think there were many times I was treated with respect, but powerless? Oh yes. When you're pretty sure you have a condition that threatens the life of your baby if it isn't treated, and which is more and more dangerous the closer you come to 40 weeks, but they can't take the more serious step of inducing labor until a test comes back, which can take up to a week, and then through some mistake it isn't run at all but no one can say sorry or explain exactly what happened because they want to protect themselves from lawsuits, and they still have to run the test and wait again because if they induce and you don't have the condition after all you might sue...

Felt powerless? Yes, for sure. Powerless and furious."
I was quickly validated, other women telling of how long it had taken to write their birth stories or things related to their birth stories.

Well, that's a relief.

Then I said:

"That makes a lot of sense. I had thought at first it was just me being slow, as I often am. Glad (sort of) I'm not alone! I was a little bit worried that as I waited I would forget details, so it was good to read about the women in the birth study remembering accurately decades later. I mean, there are some details I think I'd have trouble remembering exactly now, but that's (mostly) because I was a little bit fuzzy on them from the beginning. It can be hard to remember the exact sequence of external events when there's so much going on, and it's been days, and you're just trying to sleep, or concentrating on not shaking, or not throwing up, or whatever."
And once again, I find myself writing more intro into why I'm telling these stories than, well, actually telling them. Heh. And again, maybe that's why. The preamble has grown into a post of its own, though once again, even when I get into the meat of things, it's hardly even the beginning of the beginning of the story.

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Yes. Even when I stop posting links and explaining why this has taken me so long to post, and why it seems important to share with you -- even when I start telling the actual story, still I will ramble. I have rambled, in the drafts I've begun. It seems it's all I can do to get this story out (though it's beyond me NOT to tell it), and I have nothing left for complicated editing, nothing left to resist the flow of words that try to put off the inevitable by talking about tangents.

So I'm sorry for that, and yet I'm not. I think I won't try to resist, anymore. I see a link that makes me say, "Yes! That's why it's hard and important!" I'll post it... yet another one... before going on with the story. I'll beat that dead horse into the ground, for as long as I need to, however long it takes.

Um. That is not the most poetical of images. You didn't see that.

And I will publish long, long blog posts, too. Screw what I'm "supposed" to do.

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Here. Here is a link that feels beautiful, important, honest, and holy, from Elena at "I think, therefore iambic pentameter." She writes gorgeous poems, many of which I want to share with you, but this one is prose that feels like a poem. She published it last week; I read it yesterday, and began writing this. Its mood has shaped this post of mine a little, I think; I hope so and am glad if it has.

"Songs in the Dorian Mode" is about abortion, but it's also about motherhood. Why would that ever be a surprise? Since I became a mother (and before) I've seen other Christian mothers say things to the effect of, "Now that I'm a mother, I can't imagine how anyone could take their baby's life. It seems even more horrific than I used to think!"

Well... yes. True. But.

I'd never before seen any other pro-life mothers say the thing I've thought, the "Yes, but it's also easier to imagine how anyone could, because I never knew before how hard a pregnancy can be, even an 'easy' one." Even as a woman doing a passable simulation of a responsible adult, with a supportive husband and other family close by, ready and willing to help. Even when wanting this baby with all of my soul.

Does it stain us to admit that? Dear Lord, I don't think so.

And sometimes all you hear are the dismissive comments, the "You think you're tired now? Just wait until the baby comes, haha!"

Not even talking about labor and delivery, yet. Calling a baby in the womb an "inconvenience" is much like calling a toddler an "inconvenience" -- sad and awful, but also one of the biggest understatements in the history of ever.

Don't minimize the child, but don't minimize the sacrifice, either.

Another one of Elena's posts is applicable here, a heartbreaking poem called Rachel.

To think, as Pamela Ribon said, "...every single one of us is here because someone went through this for us. Why don’t we all know what happens to people when they get pregnant?" So many know so little. I include myself in that, at least until it was my turn.

I'll never hear my birth story from my own mother, now. Short of... some kind of miracle, I suppose. She's too far gone to understand the question.

Elena says it far, far better than I just did. With so much compassion, so much empathy and pain and understanding. She does not minimize anyone; not the baby, not the mother.

And she bares her own soul, her own scars, until all I can say is "This," cliché or no.

I would quote from her post, but I don't know where to stop, so I'll just say, go read. Thank you.

Thank you, Elena.

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