The Words We Don’t Say to Our Children
written by Rachel E. Bledsoe
I remember the nurses and doctors gathering around me in the birthing suite. The ceiling opened up and lights came down. It felt like a spotlight shined directly on my most intimate of areas. All eyes were on a place that couldn’t be kept modest or dignified.
My own Mommy tried with all her might to teach me to be a lady. She taught me to cross my legs when I wear dresses. Always wear undergarments; slips belonged under dresses so no one could see through them. She said it was always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an event.
Three years ago, no matter my upbringing or raising, I simply could not be a lady and also give birth. My feet found their place into the freezing cold stirrups and I didn’t feel one chill. I couldn’t feel much of anything as a failed epidural led to the hospital staff administering a successful spinal. Medication may have stopped the pain but it couldn’t cease the flood of emotions.
I laughed my way through childbirth. I hackled and howled with glee and anticipation. Inside of me, I had harbored a life. For almost nine months, I fed and talked to and played music for the life growing inside of me. He had been given the greatest protection I could ever offer him; my own body.
The doctors and nurses marched almost uniformly into the room and told me, “We’re going to begin pushing. Don’t push too hard and we’ll take breaks in between.” I tried to understand the words they were saying but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to take breaks. I wanted to push. I wanted to deliver. I wanted to meet the life I had only witnesse through ultrasound machines. I had only felt his rapid acrobats in my stomach along with the late night cravings and the constant kicking. Although I had held a child inside of my expanding abdomen, I wanted to hold him in my arms. I wanted to see into his eyes and I hoped he would see into mine. I hoped he’d remember my voice above all the noise in the overcrowded delivery room.
They placed him on my chest. I spoke in a soft tone, “Hello, I’m your Mommy. I’ve waited a very long time to meet you.” I stared at the newborn babe. My eyes became locked on the amazement and wonderment of a new life entering this world.
Just like I didn’t know how to be lady and give birth, I also didn’t know the proper introduction for meeting my child. There are no words for the moment when life is pulled out of your body, and they cut the cord which bound two lives together. Even though our bodies were no longer together, immediately came the joyful crying sensation and I wanted to tell him: I will do my best. I want to be the best mother on the planet because you deserve the best. I won’t let anyone hurt you. I will love you with my entire being until my last breath.
I didn’t tell him those words. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken those words to him in the three years since I first held him in that sanitized birthing suite. I’ve told him how much I love him: “More than the sun. More than the moon. More than the trees. More than the ocean. More than the stars. More than the grass. More than all the things in the world.” I’ve taught him howif someone grabs him to scream, “Go away! Don’t touch me!” I’ve taught him how to sing his ABC’s. So many other words have entered our days.
Mothers try to teach their children the right and proper ways to act and survive in the world. Like my mother tried diligently to raise a proper lady, and at times I know she thinks she failed, but I don’t think she did. I still remember all those words.
In a birthing room a little over three years ago, two people were born: a child and a mother. As a mother, I hope to teach my son a great amount of knowledge. I hope to teach him how to be polite and kind. Most of all, I hope he will always know how much he is and was always loved.
Those are the greatest words he could ever know.
Rachel E. Bledsoe is an Appalachian Mama and Misfit. She writes about her adventures, heartaches, and details her life’s journey on the blog, The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. She also enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies, and Marie Antoinette biographies. Be sure to follow her by visiting The Misfits of a Mountain Mama’s Facebook page or join her on Twitter @MisfitMtMama.