Tamed: A Poem About Wildness
I am in labor.
And I am scared.
And I am terrified.
And I can’t seem to think
Or stop thinking
about how this baby is going to
have to come out of my body.
I breathe through the contractions
Or the contractions breathe through me.
Control and Surrender
are locked in battle
each with a plan to destroy.
And I tell myself,
I can do this.
I will do this.
The doing is being undone.
And I wait
And I breathe.
And I move
And I cry.
And I feel this volcano
Wanting to erupt
Inside my infinity.
And my labor stalls.
And my midwives are scared.
And I go in.
I dive into the deepest part of myself I know.
And I turn myself inside out.
Nothing is recognizable.
Nothing makes sense because
And then my mother, with tears streaming down her face, screams,
“Think of all the women who have gone before you!”
But I do not need to think of these women.
Because I feel these women.
I feel these women standing around me.
I see a woman, alone, in the woods scared and bloody and in her final pushes.
I feel the woman who did not choose her pregnancy
But is now choosing her birth.
I feel the women who know what this moment is.
And know what it is not.
I feel the women whose quiet strength is lingering in the blood, in the tears
In the waves of the contractions.
I feel them telling me to dig deep.
Deeper than deep.
To allow the volcano of mama earth to part me like the red sea that I am
I look into the eyes of my midwives around me
And they know what this moment is.
And they know what it is not.
And they are telling me to push.
Do not push like a scared girl.
Push like an animal.
Push like the woman animal you are.
And I realize in that moment
How tamed I became.
I realize that this death/life/birth
Is birthing me my animal.
Right here in the blood
In front of near strangers.
I am becoming
All the conversations about this moment
Flash before my eyes.
All the fearful stories of birth
That told me to take a drug
Because the pain is primitive
And the pain is unnecessary
And the pain is unbearable.
And the pain IS unbearable.
I did not know you could still be alive
After being in this much pain.
After feeling this much pain.
After holding this
How is my heart still beating?
Surely it realizes,
this battle is going to be lost.
We are losing.
We are losing this battle.
I cannot know anything
In this moment.
This moment is empty
And dark and uncertain
And infinity, again.
But in this dark of dark
When I have no more thoughts
In this dark of dark
When I’ve lost all energy for clinging.
I start to feel that this pain
Is my only teacher.
I start to understand
This pain is not the pain of death.
This is the pain of life.
This is the pain of life
Opening me into itself.
Holding me in the curves of her breast.
Alone we are together in this moment of
I realize that I have never known anything
Like I Know this moment.
And I am not scared.
I am fierce.
I am fiercely becoming.
I realize that this moment
Means I can never go back.
I will always now see the tamed.
And I will not be able to un-see it.
I am split open wider than the moon.
I am split open wider than the grand canyon.
I am split, itself.
I am vaster than split.
As I part
Into this love
Break into this pain,
I look around
And nothing has ever been this clear.
I look around
And nothing has ever looked this Sacred.
And I look down.
And see my son.
And I know where miracles are from.
I look down
and see my life.
And I want him to know.
That the taming
Is the death.
And that the pain
Is not the enemy.
And that I do not wish for him a painless life.
I wish for him a wild one.
And in the brambles of his wild life
I want him to meet his animal.
And to know he doesn’t need the drug.
Because although he will not give birth
He will give life.
And I wonder why no one told me?
Why did no one say?
That the pain of birth
That the pain of birth
is nature’s wisdom.
Why did I only hear about the pain?
Why did they only know the pain?
And I wonder about later,
About when a women is asking me with scared eyes
is it …
I will take her seriously.
I will sense if she is really asking.
If she is really, truly asking me
And if she is.
I will tell her.
I will not tame her.
And we will be split wide open,
Split wider than the sky,
To infinity and back,
Photo taken minutes after the birth
Note from Elisa:
I wrote this after the birth of my first (10 pound) son. This poem is not a moral stance on “epidural” or “drug-free” birthing, but a description of what I experienced and learned about myself and my son from that particular birth experience. My second birth was different (and also matched the energy and spirit of that baby) and I did choose to have an epidural. I am thankful I had the option and was blessed to experience both “types” of birth. They each taught me important lessons. Every woman, baby and birth experience is Sacred and unique regarding the Soul lessons that are working out.
The last thing women need is fundamentalist and rigid belief systems on what is right or wrong for their particular unique bodies/births/parenting. What we do need is more open space for all experiences to be welcomed and felt. I share this poem with the intention that as I share my own story it will allow others to do the same. I know that lack of support around the variety of birth experiences and birth trauma is incredibly painful. To begin to heal we often need to grieve the loss of our perfect or imagined birth and open to the Soul lessons intended to shape us into a fierce and holy state of Love.
I also share this poem because I find that the spiritual Soul birthing process (the embodiment and conscious incarnation of Soul) very clearly mirror the natural process of physical birthing (the Early, Active and Transition phases). This is true for both women and men. I look forward to writing more about this in the future. As we study and remember birth we remind ourselves that we are capable of more than we can rationally understand. It is always darkest before dawn.