August 4, 1974 8:44P.M., For Unto Us a Child Is Given… 1974 – Dagara Mineral Year, the Stones/Rocks, keepers of stories and wisdom.
I re-member my mother telling me that the night I was born it was storming. Lightening and thundering outside. It was a Sunday, and I was a breached birth. I came into the world the “wrong way” and the doctor had to deliver me through Cesarean section. My mother was told I was to be a boy and to be circumcised, but she put a stop to that immediately when she saw me. I also re-member her having a high tolerance for pain. Mine and my sisters’ births were the physical, necessary pain any woman understands they have to go through if they want children. No questions from family or friends when one complains of birth pains and the process and no expectation of some gradual, developmental process out of the pain and into less pain. The physical pain of birth is real and unavoidable, a given.
So, I wondered this evening about how we process emotional pain, grief/loss and the expectations of its process. There are countless research articles and studies on how one goes through the “stages of grief” (Kubler-Ross and othes) and the societal norms associated with grief. A lot of spiritual, cultural, and familial traditions place certain expectations and demands on how to grieve the “right” way. Whatever that means. Did my coming into the world “the wrong way” set me up for some emotionally traumatic life course? Well, from my perspective at an earlier time in my life, I would have considered this as a viable explanation. That in the midst of the storms outside on that Sunday in 1974, I came into the world in trauma, breach birth, the wrong way. That somehow the “wrongness” of my physical entrance would dictate my life’s journey and development. Yes, I would have believed that. It took me until I was well into my adulthood to accept that there is no right nor wrong way to feel pain, to grieve. I could re-member (meaning put back together, a re-telling, putting the pieces together for myself) my birth journey as an indicator of my desire to BE HERE, breach and all. To complete my journey through the physical womb as the strong girl the doctor expected to be a boy. My mother’s joy at seeing her third child, not planned nor expected pregnancy, to arrive the same day as her older sister (who is 12 years older by the way). Maybe my physically “wrong” way of entering the world placed me in the right position to observe, absorb, and reflect the emotions and re-membering of emotional pain. That I have grown into this knowing that my emotional expression of pain is just as important and necessary as my emotional expression of love. And there’s no correct way to go about it. This expression of feelings and re-membering started during the storms, started with the head turned the wrong way coming down a narrow cavity and making my voice heard in the world. Crying, healing, re-membering the stories that brought me and others to their life’s work. The dark (k)night brought intelligence and wisdom in its density that made room for me to transcend, to ebb and flow in the emotional waters of grief and feel safe there.