I was at the grocery store with Sadie a few days ago when a little girl in a shopping cart repeated in an excited voice to her mother, "baby mommy, baby." She was pointing at me. I immediately felt tears threatening to spill down my face. Emotions of love and longing and joy overwhelmed me. The past year of cleansing my body, becoming pregnant and living a pure life all led to a purpose. There was a baby inside of me.
In me. A baby. Life. Such a blessing.
I am at the stage of pregnancy when I really look pregnant - there is no way around it. My belly protrudes into the world. My belly button has popped and fresh new stretchmarks etch my skin. My secret is now open for public consumption.
The child within me is making his mark in the world. His presence affects those around him. Although no one can see his eyes or his fingers or his toes, they know him. His entity is only understood through the round hard shape attached to my form. He is known through association. He lives. He breathes. He exists.
His presence in my womb solidifies my small role in the universe. I give him the gift of life and he gives me the gift of creating. His life, although dependent on mine, is separate. From the moment I will release him from my body we will begin a dance of separation. He will grow and push away and then return and push away again until one day he becomes an adult and fully embraces independence. We will cling and we will separate. We will repeat history. We will live.
I'm not trying to be controversial when bringing up this topic. I feel like I need to dim the lights, pull out a pack of smokes, throw them at the table, pour a shot of whiskey for you and me, take a few drags from the cigarette, look at you with concern and then start this topic.
"So, circumcision." I look at you and you look at me. Neither of us really knows what to say.
Maybe you respond, "I hear it's the same thing as female circumcision."
I take another drag. I inhale the smoke and then blow it out. I take a sip of my shot. I stare at the smoke flutter around me.
I shrug. "I don't know. Is it, really?"
Neither of us makes eye contact, we're both unsure.
"There sure is a lot of anti-circumcision talk going around the natural birth community." I look up at you quickly to see your response.
"Well, yeah." You nod at me. "Makes sense, right?" I'm not sure if you're looking at me for approval or not.
I start to shake my head at you. "No, not really. It actually doesn't make sense. Why do we need to bundle natural birth, breastfeeding and anti-circumcision? It's almost like a cable package. You get HBO because you ordered Showtime. Maybe I don't want HBO. Maybe I don't want to support a movement that is so opposed to my religious belief. Maybe by being so damn fanatical about everything you're killing the real heart of the movement."
You start to look at me with amazement. You can't believe I would dare differentiate supporting a woman's right to have an informed birth from what the woman does with her son's penis after he is born.
"Look," I say, getting on a roll, "I don't like the idea of cutting my son's penis more than I like the idea of any sort of pain being inflected on my child. But it's God's wish that my husband brings our son into the tribe by cutting that foreskin." I nervously chuck the cigarette and light another, whiskey forgotten in the moment.
"I am totally 100% comfortable with you choosing to not circumcise your son. But don't tell me I'm a horrible parent for choosing to circumcise my own child. Don't try to make me feel bad or "educate" me about circumcision. Don't try to tell me in a breezy excited voice that your husband is Jewish and he is totally against circumcision. You're one of those people that doesn't get it. Your husband can be Jewish and not really understand his religious connection. And that's okay. That's his choice. But I'm Jewish, somewhat observant and this is one of those things I've got to do. Sort of like not eating crab or pork - that's part of the lifestyle choices God demands of me. And actually, the circumcision part, it's not my commandment, it's my husband's task. Hell, if I wasn't Jewish, I wouldn't do it either. But I certainly wouldn't tell you not to do it if you were going to and I wouldn't decide I was superior to you for choosing to leave my son intact."
My cigarette is dead, ash covers the table. We look at each other, neither of us knows what to say.
"Look, I have a dream. I dream of a birth movement that supports women. A movement that defends the right for a woman to have an evidence based birth. If she wants that elective caesarean, she can have it. If she wants that home birth or hospital water birth or epidural - she can have that too. I dream of a birth experience where doctors don't pull the "dead baby" card to control your labor. An experience where nurses support mothers and don't try to push the epidural the moment it gets painful. The right for women to have vaginal deliveries after caesareans without doctors terrifying them with stories of uterine ruptures. Uterine ruptures happen. Sometimes C-sections are necessary. Dammit, my C-section saved my daughter's life.
I don't want other debates to kill our purpose. Breastfeeding moms aren't better than formula feeding moms. Mothers that don't vaccinate do not love their children more than mothers that do vaccinate. Choosing to not circumcise your son doesn't make you a better parent. There's a time and place for all of these discussions, I don't think the birth movement is the right place. By getting stuck in these "ideas" we are never going to attract the majority of the population. We need non-crunchy-hippie-natural-earthy people to believe in our cause. We need to revolutionize birth in a way that it hasn't ever before. If we come off as disorganized and crazy, we won't ever have the respect we need to change the medical industry. Let's focus on the real issues and not get caught up in individual agendas. And let's not bash each other for choosing a different way."
I look up at you and I hope.
How cute is this entrance?
So, how do I start this? I need to open this blog with a disclaimer before going any further. I am writing a blog for the owner of Bird Rock Massage Therapy in exchange for the free massage I received yesterday. That's the truth.
However, I would have written this blog even if I didn't receive a free massage. That's the truth too.
Shana Lemon, owner of Bird Rock Massage Therapy, gave me the best massage I have ever had in my life. I'm 32 weeks pregnant. I'm huge. My breasts are huge. My back hurts 24 hours, 7 days a week. I've been seeing a chiropractor for a month and have received two prenatal massages at the chiropractor's office. Nothing compares to the relief I felt after an hour of Shana's hands rubbing my back.
Let's start at the beginning. I get Logan and Sadie in the car to drive down to Bird Rock with me early Sunday morning. We easily find a parking spot on the main street and walk towards my destination. Shana's studio is located conveniently right next to Starbucks. Seeing that we're 20 minutes early the three of us slip into Starbucks. Logan and Sadie get drinks and I use the bathroom in preparation.
Did I mention how nervous I was for the week leading up to the massage? I'm an honest person. I hate lying. What if the massage sucked? What the hell was I going to do? How was I going to write a blog about a massage I hated? My plan was to find positive aspects of the experience and talk about them. Now I have the opposite problem. How do I write a blog that is short enough to keep your attention and write about all the amazing things I loved about my massage?
Entrance to studio - SUPER CUTE! I especially love the Gerbera daises in the vase on the table. When I walk in I'm greeted by Shana with a lovely smile and a firm handshake. The studio is small and has a spa feel. It's decorated in a very peaceful manner. There are even some bowls of snacks you can enjoy while waiting for your massage. I start to feel better about the exchange. We talk for a few minutes and I fill out the consent form. Then I follow Shana into the massage room. There is a lush green blanket draped across a bed in a room infused lightly with the scent of lavender. I feel relaxed immediately.
I disrobe and get under the clean, crisp sheets. I immediately cuddle the the body pillow practically purring with pleasure. The lovely soothing music lulls me into closing my eyes as I wait for Shana to return. Upon her return the lights are dimmed allowing the lit lotus water fountain to gently illuminate the room. Then the massage begins.
Shana's hands are amazing. For over an hour Shana rubbed every single knot out of my body. She removed knots that have been sitting in my back for months. That spot right under my shoulder blades and above my bra? GONE. No more pain there after months of trying to find comfort. I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed the process. I didn't want the massage to end.
Shana knew exactly the right amount of pressure to use. She was awesome. I don't know how else to describe the experience.
When it was over and I drank my glass of water I looked at Shana with gratitude. This little blog doesn't feel satisfactory as an exchange for the pain relief.
I am planning on calling Shana and making another appointment in the next week.
If you're interested in the most relaxing, enjoyable massage of your life, call Shana Lemon at 858-551-0425.
Here is a link to her website: http://www.thebirdrockmassagestudio.com/
And here are some yelp reviews... do you see the five stars, there is a reason for this people!!!????
A few weeks ago I took Sadie to the park. I don't really enjoy going to the park; however, I noticed both of us feeling stir crazy by 10am and decided the park would be a good way to get some energy out. The park was slammed when we got there. Kids were running everywhere. Moms chatted as their children played. I quietly followed Sadie around. After ten minutes Sadie demanded food by repeatedly telling me she was hungry.
I pulled out a Costco size bag of Pirate's Booty. The bag is almost the size of Sadie and only a fifth full. She walked around with the bag in hand snacking and watching the kids play around her. A toddler about the same size as Sadie approached her for a snack. The little girl is cute, hungry and obviously still figuring out how to walk.
Sadie looked at her and decided to share her snack. As she offered morsel after morsel of food I started to nervously tell Sadie it might not be a good idea to feed her since we don't know her food allergies. I also started to look around for her mother. As the words came out of my mouth the only man at the playground speaks behind me, "oh, it's okay, she can eat that." I'm surprised by the hipster claiming ownership of the little girl. His grande iced coffee and too-cool shades do not fit into my preconceived notion of what parents in the playground look like.
Then he steps up next to me and starts a conversation. I'm already feeling a little uncomfortable. I'm in my it's-too-hot-i'm pregnant tank top and short shorts. I'm dressed for the park and the heat, not for modesty. This means my large ready to start nursing breasts are gloriously displayed in my low cut tank top. I'm also not used to speaking to random men. I have a core group of man friends I've kept over the years. One by one as they get married the friendship understandably cools. They have wives and I'm happy for them. They will always have a special place in my heart. My life is now filled with many women friends - other mothers and wives. I have not made any new male friends since marrying Logan almost three years ago.
We make polite conversation and somehow we get on the topic of breastfeeding. This is when things get awkward. This man is telling me about his wife and her difficulty with nursing and I can't handle it. I think of myself as pretty open minded. I have even been known as "bawdy" back in the day. Marriage has tamed the wild. The moment he mentioned in passing how great the nipple guard was I couldn't handle it. He used the word NIPPLE.
I think my eyes crossed and my heart fluttered and I almost passed out. Thankfully I was able to pull out my smelling salts from my sleeve and compose myself. When I pulled out my fan to cool my reddening cheeks I knew it was time to bid him goodbye and sashay to another conversation.
Well, maybe the last part isn't true. However the conversation did die after the nipple guard came up.
In hindsight I wonder if I was wrong in my obvious discomfort with the conversation. It's just nursing. It's just boobs making milk to feed my child. Maybe I'm the awkward one who sees my breasts as sexual when really they are created for the purpose of feeding my child?
Did I mention last week was World Breastfeeding Week? Here's a link: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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