Friday, August 21, 2009

Body Memory

Wanna hear about the dream I had last night? (That has to be the worst opening for a conversation ever. The answer is universally "no," and yet people are usually too polite to say so.)

I was out shopping when I suddenly noticed that I was about to have a baby. How lucky! I thought. I haven't had a single contraction, and the baby is crowning already! The store clerks were somewhat alarmed when I pulled off my shorts, right there in the store, and announced that the baby was coming NOW, but I was as cool as a cucumber, confident that I could deliver this baby without complications, with or without medical assistance. Some panicked person called 911 while I relaxed on the carpeted floor, wondering how many pushes it would take.

I'm all done having babies, and that is a decision I made easily, happily, with virtually no trauma or conflict. I have no desire to be pregnant again; I don't miss the baby stage. But all day today, as I've been settling fights and picking up toys, I've flashed back to the intensity of that body memory. The pain of childbirth I can't recall, but the sensation of a baby's head pressing down urgently on my cervix ... My body remembers that.

11 comments:

kgirl said...

I was so looking forward to giving birth to #2 - the first had been such an amazing experience. And then she went and turned in circles and I ended up with a c-section. We aren't having any more kids either, but boy, I really wanted that second birth experience. C-Sections are NOT the same thing.

Bea said...

My experience was the reverse of that. Birth #1 was all intervention-y and frightening (induction, forceps) and my second birth experience was the one that produced that body memory. I had an epidural, but it was a really good one - I could still feel all the sensations, but the pain was manageable. I can't recall those sensations simply by trying to remember them, but occasionally they'll come back to me.

I remember how disappointed you were with the C. I figure at least we got the "good" birth experience once.

Mimi said...

Funny, I've been thinking a lot about the birth lately, and how strong it made me feel, how amazing it was, and how, as it recedes further in the past, how it seems less and less believable that that was me. But then I get a particular kind of menstrual cramp and POOF I'm right back there, 12:30 at night, holding onto my kitchen counter, you know?

painted maypole said...

i dream that my delivery had been that easy. but 48 hours... erg. and yes, I have a memory of that feeling as well. I mean, it lasted long enough.

Subspace Beacon said...

We're done with 2, and the only time I want another is when I hear a GOOD name. But it seems wrong to have a baby just so I can use the name Ephraim.

Or so says my husband.

Bea said...

SSB - I think names are to you as paint chips and the MBTI are to me.

Nicole said...

I think there's a reality show like that about pregnancy - maybe called "I didn't know I was pregnant"?

My first birth was also induced, with the added benefit of incredibly fast labour, no drugs, and vaccuum. And I can't really remember how it felt. I just remember screaming stupid things like "THIS HURTS!" That's insightful, for sure.

Mary G said...

Oh, Bea, me too. My first was all you describe and lasted 36 hours, to boot.
For the second I spit in my obstetrician's face, went to a GP and went the natural childbirth route. I remember the huge effort of pushing out the YD's little round head, but no pain.
And I never carried another one to term, alas.

Mary-LUE said...

I think that was an awesome dream. Such confidence!

Carol said...

I've never been pregnant, but sometimes I dream that I am - and it seems so very real. I can feel the baby squirm inside me, I can feel the shortness of breath from the pressure of its body.

I won't know if it is truly realistic until I experience the real thing, but I suspect that my body holds a genetic memory, too...

the new girl said...

Hey! I hope my second delivery is that easy! I mean, I hope I make it to the hospital but you know what I'm saying.