Okay, my next writing exercise.
Describe the day of my birth.
Is this a genuine recollection, a self-created memory that comports with my inner narrative, or a composite of both? What my mother recounts, and what I remember (or think I remember)? I don’t know for certain. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
I THINK I remember the visceral feeling of being unloved and unwanted in the womb. I wonder now if I could have known, even then, that I may not have been conceived in love, but rather in the dutiful compliance of my overworked, powerless, depressed mother who was ever submissive to my father’s dominating personality. Even in utero, I intuited her psychic pain and unhappiness.
I recall having this foreboding of inchoate misery to come. Perhaps a lifetime of it. I balked. I know I did. I realized too late that I did not want to come into this life. I wanted to “go back!” But, of course, that wasn’t an option!
What closely tracks with my inner distress was my mother’s profound physical distress at the time. While in active labor, between contractions, she found herself fighting with the doctor (an unknown stand-in for her regular obstetrician) because she did not want him to administer ether, the painkiller of choice in the late 50’s. It made her gravely ill. This interim doctor was impervious to her pleas and continued to try to force it on her. But my mom is a tough gal, and ultimately, she prevailed.
So, I came out the “natural” way. Natural, before there was Lamaze training, without any support or preparation or pain mitigation. As I said, my mom is tough. She managed the birth unaided. But, it was a rough time for us both.
Mom laughs every time she recounts the story of my birth. How I fought her every step of the way. And when I finally arrived in the world, how I screamed bloody murder non-stop. We both recall with amusement the statement I often made, with indignant exasperation, many, many times throughout my early childhood: I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN!