One of the ways each of us can change birth in our culture is to listen deeply to birth stories, to understand and embrace the postpartum journey through a mother's story. Let's continue.
Within the day or two of giving birth, most mothers are chatting circles-around,or gushing through, their second birth story Gate, the GATE OF RELIEF AND GRATITUDE. This is usually a short, repeating, litany of praise for anyone and everyone who helped in anyway; it is probably fueled by endorphins and adrenalin, as well as genuine and overwhelming relief and joy. In addition, in the early weeks of postpartum, a new mother is falling in love with her baby; her
attention is naturally directed toward learning to care for her baby, getting enough sleep, and hosting a flurry of visitors. There isn’t time for reflection, yet.
For many years I used to be confused when a woman—who had just endured a terrible labor ordeal, often with excessive interventions —would be gushing gratitude and giving fruit baskets. Did I miss something? Why isn’t she traumatized, asking questions, blaming or more upset?!
Unfortunately, hospitals collect patient evaluation surveys from parents while they are still in this Gate of Relief and Gratitude! So administrators pat themselves on a job well done, verified by “patient satisfaction.” I wonder if the survey were given (or given again) three to six months later, if the satisfaction ratings would be the same. I think this timing on the part of administration is probably a combination of not being aware of how the evaluations (i.e., birth story) might/would change over time and convenience: get the paperwork done quickly.
But then weeks, months, or years later, when this mother had time to reflect on what she lived through, she would begin to put the fragmented pieces together, learn more about birth, and question what happened. It was then that her story would spontaneously change, at a time she had the time or emotional reserves to sort it out.
Any Second Gate stories to share? If you were to draw your second birth story Gate, what would it look like?