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March 1, 2019

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We Birth More Than Our Children - by Sarah Showalter-Fuillette

"When babies are born, so is the mother" is a common phrase among birth workers. While that's true, it's also a somewhat incomplete and limited reflection. Here our client, author, Sarah Showalter-Fuillette, expands on that idea as she shares her birth story and beautiful insights of her own birthing experiences.

We Birth More Than Our Children

 

The birth of my first child, my daughter, Clover, in 2015 was a long, challenging, and wholly transformational experience. She was born at home in San Francisco after 55 hours of labor. The long and short of her birth was that, well, it was long and not much about it was short.

 

I had prepared for the home birth with my husband, my midwives and doula, and internally with my own mind. I worked hard to stay present in the experience, long and meandering as it was. (I distinctly remember my midwife observing me at the 50-hour mark and declaring I was still in “early labor.” I contemplated punching her.) And I spent a lot of time reflecting on the birth in the weeks and months that followed. Reflecting on the significant shift in who I felt I had become. Reflecting on my transformation because of the powerful act of birthing.

 

The birth itself was a lesson in letting go of control. Of releasing to the experience of birth and, thus, those that come in life. It was a crash course in learning to trust the part of my being that is wholly separate from my thoughts and mind. It was an awakening of a deeper, ancient side of my femininity. It connected me to the billions of women who had come before.

 

Birth released my dormant, inner power.

 

After birthing my daughter I wondered why we women even bother trying to prove we can make it in a man’s world, as this now seems like child’s play. Climb the corporate ladder? Obviously I could do that. DID YOU SEE THAT I JUST PRODUCED A HUMAN WITH MY OWN BODY?!

 

It took awhile for me to understand but I now see the day of Clover’s birth as also they day I birthed Sarah-as-a-mother, it marked the end of an era of being focused on my individual-self, and the day we began the journey to a new family unit.

 

Overnight, I felt my priorities shift from my previously nuclear family, in which I had years of participation as the little sister and daughter to my new nuclear family where I was, more firmly, a wife and, most notably, a new mother to this perfect little being.

 

When it came time to prepare for the birth of my second, two-and-a-half years later, I felt ready. Now living in San Jose, I had to find new birth providers. I had to prepare for another homebirth which takes logistical, physical, and–most importantly, in my opinion–mental preparation. I spoke to the doula I’d had during my first birth and she charged me to remember t