Our little Mr I, aka The Dude, was born on Monday 9 May 2011 at 7:57pm in the pool at home. The birth was transforming, as expected, but beyond anything I could have imagined.
There are a few key lessons I learnt from this birth.
First, my relationship with my mum completely transformed. During the pregnancy I was able to identify the fact that I’ve not relied on anyone for a very long time, since I was a very young child in fact. I’ve always been independent and headstrong, and I had some kind of complex about relying on others, probably because I couldn’t be sure they were reliable. No one had shown much in terms of reliability. It wasn’t so much anyone’s fault, it was the situation, the circumstance. My mum, through no real fault of her own, let me down somewhat because she didn’t stand firm with me. It was hard, I was clever and angry and strong and lacked empathy; I’d be so adamant about what I wanted and she found it impossible to stand firm against that, she actually needed to protect herself. So when, during the birth, I lost control, lost faith, lost hope, and was running from the very thing that would bring the baby down and out, my mum did something heroic and unlike anything she’d done before. She stepped up. She didn’t let me escape. She wasn’t mean, she just supported me and she didn’t let me down. She was there, no matter how long it took, and she was prepared to go through it with me and be my rock. And I needed her, I really did.
Second, I couldn’t take shortcuts. All my life I’ve been really good at most things without exerting as much effort as most people. I was always healthy and strong, tall and flexible, clever and funny, and I managed to cruise through most things others would consider a challenge without much effort. When I had to put effort in, it would be half-hearted, and if I wasn’t great at something firs time, forget it, give it away, not worth doing anyway. I didn’t take direction well and would ignore teachers at every interval, from the ice-skating teacher I had at age 8, to the maths tutor I had at age 14, to the flute teacher at age 16, I wrote them all off, did whatever I wanted, scraped through and escaped the challenge. My mum always said, ‘you’re living small’ and that made me angry. I know my dad could see it too, as he does the same thing. But this labour, this was by far the biggest challenge of my life, and I couldn’t escape it! There was a way out; hospital, intervention, drugs, disappointment. I couldn’t do that. I knew that was wrong for me and for baby. So I did it, I rose to the challenge, I pushed through pain a hundred times beyond anything I could even imagine feeling, and I achieved a huge goal. I overcame this without any shortcuts. I don’t ever want that feeling to go away; I want to always remember how it was to beat myself and overcome this, so that I can achieve really great things in life and not wimp out or make excuses like I have in the past.