She told me to think of the Great Mother and ask her for what I needed, and I thought, I must be crazy. Groin aching, belly bigger than life, and the only thing that filled me was fear. I’m sure there was some amount of love, but faith, I had no more. How the hell was I to channel the Great Mother when I didn’t even know her?
“Picture her,” she said. I closed my eyes, attempting to drown out first born’s tantrum from the other room and concentrate on the voice coming through the white wires of my headset.
“Yes,” she said. “Breathe in slowly and just let your mind be.” I inhaled awkwardly so the Reiki Lady would know I was following directions.
Is this really going to work? Oh shit, she probably knows I’m not picturing Great Mother.
“Do you see her?”
Fuck, she knows I’m not doing it. “Yes,” I respond. Then suddenly, as if on queue, I see a light. Forced, but it was a light. And yes, my eyes were closed.
“What do you see?”
“I see light. Lights surrounding a figure. There are blues, and whites. More colors. She’s flowy.” Speaking slowing, I’m trying to come off at meditative. Connected. Like I know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t.
“Good,” she says.
She looks like a groovier version of the Virgin Mary, I think. Thank you Jesus and Father Bernie.
I cried to the doctor that I would rather have a c-section than drugs. He looked at me like I was crazy, especially after handing him a two-page birth plan that screamed, if my paper could, NO DRUGS. OFFER THEM, AND THE NURSE DIES. I was adamant about this. After all, first born was born at home. And yes, it was planned.
The doctor somehow understood me as he nodded and handed me tissues. I barely knew the man, but he knew me.
“You’ll do fine,” he’d say in his charming Swedish accent, as I carefully maneuvered myself off the table.
Turns out I did need Great Mother. And it turns out she does visit hospitals and will stay with you all 12 hours of labor, bright lights shining and all, when your husband, doula and nurses aren’t letting you get an epidural because your birth plan shouted NO DRUGS.
I had enough. The pain was more unbearable than I ever imagined. So frightingly so, that throughout the labor I asked for drugs several times and was lovingly told no from the nurse, of all people. Little did I know that my dear husband, doula and maybe even the great mother all stood behind me with fingers waving and shaking their heads no, instructing her we’d make it through. And that I did.
When doctor man finally came in to the cramped, cold, music blaring operating room at the golden hour – the pushing hour – I looked at him from the most compromising position ever and said, “I want a c-section.” Not taking me seriously, he simply smiled, patted my leg and said we were going to get started.
I repeated myself more firmly this time around, hoping someone, anyone, the deciding man would finally take me seriously. Doctor man then looked at me sternly and told me I’d be okay. I think I started to cry. Just a little. And that’s when She came. Least that’s when I think she came through Annie, the nurse. Leaning in, she whispered into my ear, “I know this isn’t the birth you imagined, I know it’s different than it was with Thad. But this will be fine. You can do it. You will do it. And it will be amazing.”
Surrounded by 10 strangers, my husband, my doctor and my doula, tears streamed down my face I held her hand tightly.
The babies came. We were fine. I was fine. I couldn’t believe we made it through. I couldn’t believe I carried them for so long and delivered two large (for twins) and healthy babies.
Annie, the Great Mother, was right. I could do it. I did it. And I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.