While there is an abundance of information, support, and education available for those of us about to give birth for the first time, whether from grandmothers, mothers, sisters, friends, books, midwives, doulas, doctors, and the internet, just to name a few, there is very little to prepare us for the labor that begins the day we get home from the hospital. I am calling it 'The Second Labor'.
'The Second Labor' has no time line. It has no approximate end date, although I see it as somewhere between 2 and 15yr old.
'The Second Labor' doesn't really have a gestation period; no ramping up with time to get my head around what's ahead of me, that was fully used by the first labor.
While everybody was getting ready for the birth of my new baby, no one thought, or knew to tell me that immediately after and without much notice I would go into this second labor for an indefinite amount of time, give or take a year. No one told me that while in the midst of the biggest learning curve I might ever encounter, (becoming a mother), I would have to live in perpetual labor as I gave birth once again, only this time I was giving birth to myself.
There were no classes where I could learn to breathe deeply and push harder, all of which could shorten the pain as well as the labor. There were no how-to videos, e-books or pamphlets.
The question, 'who am I and what have I done?' became my mantra to which the answer always seemed to be; you are still YOU, and YOU are now a Mother.
What does that mean? A question I now had to answer for myself. I had left the shore called me, and officially set sail on a boat called postpartum , crossing a river called 'becoming a mother', on my way to a land called Motherhood. Did I now even have to row the boat, navigate, feed and entertain the crew, read the weather, and get some rest all by my self, and all at the same time?
For those you who have a husband or partner in this process, the journey is often but not always a whole lot easier, and if mindful enough, an awesome adventure of a journey, however, since they're often busy trying to make sure there was a boat, and that the boat stayed afloat, the ride we all often take to motherhood is for the most part a solo one that lies in the realm of the feminine. We have to do all the pushing if we are to birth ourselves into the mothers we are meant to be.
Where are the midwives to guide us through? Who will tell us to breathe deeply and convince us that we can do it? Who will boil the hot water to make tea and pass the towel to catch tears? Who will help us to cut the chord between who we once were and who we have become. Who will be there to catch us when we arrive in this new place?
'The Second Labor' is not to be taken alone.
Our friends, our sisters, our aunts, our mothers, and grandmothers are all midwives throughout 'The Second Labor'.
Invite them on the journey before the journey begins.