Those of you who know me know that my mother and I are quite close. Upon reading a title like Finding my mother, your first reaction is probably “I didn’t know you’d lost her.” Well, neither did I. Or, to be more precise, until this weekend I didn’t realize quite how close I had come to losing her.
Here’s the full story…
The story of my birth is a bit of a legend in my family. I was a couple of weeks overdue and my mother was ready for me to come out thankyouverymuch. When her water finally broke, she called my dad whose response was, “Shit, I just started eating a sandwich.” Lest he seem like a total cad, he was one of the on-air hosts and producers of the WGBH auction (the public television station in Boston.) He’d been on the air for many, many hours and hadn’t had any sleep or any food. He finally sat down for a sandwich and my mom called. Not an auspicious beginning for either of them.
When she got to the hospital, the doctors gave her Pitocin to move things along. Unfortunately her body wasn’t ready so she went into hard labor and the … *ahem* opening … wasn’t opening.
She’d been in this state for an extended period of time when things started going downhill fast. They attached a heart monitor to each of us and at some point we both flat-lined. They rushed us in for an emergency c-section. (That’s the end of the relevant part of the story, but there is much more to it – including the fact that no one in the hospital would let her see me for more than a day so she was afraid that someone had taken her baby.)
Back to present day – I’ve done a fair amount of reading and learning about birth trauma experiences and how they affect energetic patterns and personality traits. Everything I’ve read lines up so completely with my experience that I’m convinced that the literature is solid.
Here’s the thing – I’ve always studied the subject from the point of view of my experience. My mother was a bit of an adjunct to the whole thing – her presence in my birth story was simply as the vessel through which I was born. I never really thought about what happened to her body.
Until this weekend. During a conversation with Mom and some friends, it suddenly occurred to me how incredibly close I came to losing her. To never even knowing her. How unbelievably fortunate I am that she didn’t have a stroke – because from all that I’ve heard, that would have been the more likely outcome. Frankly, if we’d been anywhere but the U.S., chances are good that the outcome would have been very different.
In the space of about 45 seconds this weekend I went through the entire emotional journey of realizing how close I came to losing her, how different my life would have been without her, and coming back to find her sitting right next to me – as solid as ever.
I feel like I found my mom again. It’s not exactly that I lost her…it’s more like there’s a part of her that I’d never seen before. This weekend I saw it.
I’m so grateful to have that piece of her – and of myself – back. It feels like a profound healing.
What was your birth experience like? Do you think it had any impact on who you are today?