Unbeknownst to me, a friend decided that I needed some loving up and thanks. I even consulted with her, and others, about whether or not to write this post and then decided on balance that thanking needed to happen!
Feminism is a pretty thankless path to follow and once you add homebirth to it, it’s a potent mix that seems to awaken the most intense responses in total strangers. It’s also the most meaningful struggle I’ve chosen throughout my long activist career and one I imagine is going to continue till I go to the grave.
As the world and her granny know, thanks to rampant media coverage, I lost a baby to stillbirth two and a half years ago. Losing a child, as every other woman in the same boat can testify to, is like a slow flaying of the skin from your body and then a lengthy pressing onto the screaming noise of the universe. It leaves you gasping to get out of your own body because the intensity of the agony is in your heart, mind and body 24 hours out of 24 excruciating hours every day, until it slowly begins to subside to a slow, dull ache that lasts, I suspect, a lifetime. It is an all encompassing pain no words do justice to and one which I fervently wish no other woman had to experience.
I know when people spit hate at me that really what they’re describing is the fear that they too will suffer loss and if they can, by separating themselves from my humanity somehow trick death into visiting someone other than them, that’s all they really want. Most of us are terrified of those liminal spaces of birth and death but the combination is too potent and we can really lose touch with our hearts when we fight to try and avoid our fears around them.So to you I send you love and peace. Fear doesn’t serve us well, nor does hate, and clutching both to your heart will only harm you. I thank you for reminding me that we all carry pain in our own way and that embracing it is my only hope for the future. Fear of freedom is profound indeed.
One in 135 babies is stillborn in Australia. There are seven stillbirths a day. That’s a lot of grieving parents walking this same path with me, and I wish us all much love and nurturing.
So imagine my surprise when the first thing I woke up to this morning was a text from a friend detailing what she appreciates in me. I was so startled by this that I actually texted another friend to ask if there was some secret nastiness lurking online for which I was being bolstered and prepared but apparently, other than the usual, there wasn’t and it was just a gang of amazing women thanking me.
So I have some deep thanking to do myself. Firstly, huge thanks to The Crone, who will be reading the hate mail that comes in as a result of me mentioning stillbirth. I love you.
To all the thankers, bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, more thanks than I can put into words. Own your awesome!
To The Earthwyf: a little birdy tells me this was your idea. Now it’s my turn to talk about you. Your courageous willingness to grow inspires me. I appreciate the love and care and loyalty you’ve shown me, through thick and thin, as it were.
ElleandSam, your continured support from afar means so much to me. Your beautiful commitment to your babe through such a difficult pregnancy was an honour to witness. I felt so blessed to be any part of your journey.
Sazz, you just rock. You’re angry, funny, humble, vulnerable and amazing. It has been so thrilling to watch you coming home to yourself and starting work on the mobile feminist
Odessa, thank you! For sharing the journey and the inspiration, I humbly thank you.
Owlet: I love the glimpses into your world from your beautiful blog, and I think of you and Huz every time I pass a certain necklace on my daily rounds. Your gentle love is very present for me today. Nanna hugs to you both and the babes.
Gloria Lemay sent me a lovely thank you on Facebook so to her I say, thank you for letting me walk in your footsteps and for breaking in the path that I may more easily walk it.
Cybele: You’re one to talk of humour! You often crack me up! I’m looking forward to meeting you soon too. Our mutual friend will be pleased and my chickens would like to say thank you too.
Syrenex: I’m so thrilled by your new venture which I hope is ongoing and fulfilling. Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for sharing your birth stories with the world.