i feel as though i am perched precariously, as though i might slip and lose all of this. any semblance of balance feels like an illusion. i feel so much weight resting on my shoulders and i add to it daily with new inventions of self. i am trying to be so many things. i make new roles for myself, set new goals: a photograph sold, a birth attended, a protest organized, a book to be written, the potential for work beyond motherhood. i must be completely insane to consider the possibilities when all is still so fragile, when my relationships are still so malleable, so soft and uncertain. everyday there is tension. it rises and falls and is hidden then obvious, but it is there, whether invisible or not, all is frail. i am terrified that a strong gust might come along and blow it all to bits. and there is also the need rising in my belly, a gurgling to really let it out - to let the air out of this life and let me hang languidly in the sun, waiting to fill up with warmth and a sacred appreciation again, a belief that we are capable and strong. but i feel so incapable. i cannot keep it all up. my mood waxes and wanes and surely all of this must collapse sooner or later. we cannot keep in silences, in half-spoken moments of truth and expect there to be an intimate trust maintained. it is exhausting to feel at one moment able, active, in progress, and in the next exhausted and flailing. i am confused by my life. i don't know which way is up. i am so completely narcissistic that i cannot even begin to know how to interpret silences, or which questions to ask. there is no road map for being supportive. i feel it out and do my best (and truth be told, perhaps much better than my partner were the situation reversed), but if there is no indication? are we moving forward? are we going somewhere? am i just stuck here waiting for the wind to change? i don't know how to do this. i don't even know what we are doing. i cannot know - no words are spoken, nothing is said. i ask daily questions. i get the children up and feed their bellies and try not to be such a failure at feeding their hearts. i try to make plans, to keep the home stocked and ready. i put things on the calendar and get books from the library. i try to engage in lively conversation. i try to think of things. and i think for moments that this is right and this is happening and that i am okay and everything will work out and yet i find myself let down and languishing. i am holding up both halves of colossal impossible structures and i cannot sense their shape. it is all made of balsa wood and will break if breathed on wrong. a great chasm will open in the ground and swallow me up whole if i stack too much more onto myself. and is this all fiction? am i making it up? is it all really so melodramatic? am i not just lazy as always, sitting in front of the computer under the guise of doing some form of work, something that interests me (or more usually just pisses me off)? am i not just reading trash novels and having sex dreams? aren't the kids really just playing on the floor, destroying room after room and my excuses piling beside me, the rain, the wet grass, the inability of me to move my ass from out this chair and into clothes in a timely manner? is it so bad? i am scared. i am afraid of becoming heartbroken. any moment might unleash me in anguish, me so self-obsessed i could scarce recognize normalcy, let alone attain something resembling it. i feel so stupid. i am bad at this. all of this. i don't even make any sense.


i have been thinking of late, due to the shocking number of intelligent, feminist, progressive women i meet who make the most typical, acquiescent "choices" regarding their health care during pregnancy and birth, that birthing at home is indeed radical, that midwifery is grassroots political protest, and that women need to get out of the hospital if for no other reason than to buck the system created and sustained by men for no other apparent reason but to oppress women.

i get so accustomed to my little bubble of fellow homebirthers and advocates of attachment parenting/natural family living that i forget that the rest of the world is pretty much not at all like us. i have had lengthy discussions with close friends who insist that they would never birth at home despite the overwhelming evidence that it is a safer, friendlier option and have in the past dismissed my own frustration by acknowledging that it is their choice. i no longer believe this. it is no more the choice of women in america today to birth in hospitals than it is their choice to spend 80 dollars every time they walk into target or to buy gasoline for their car. there are certainly other options, but they are not remotely easily accessible.

making alternative choices requires first stepping outside of the box, divorcing oneself from the norm, from one's peers, from the status quo. this may additionally require being ostracized and ridiculed. secondly, one must be solidly educated on how to even make an alternate choice, finding out what those choices even are, how it works, where to find it. thirdly, one must pay for that choice either by sacrifice or by additional expenditure in time and money. to make an alternate choice, one must think for oneself, do research, dedicate hours and days to understanding and accepting the ins and outs of that choice.

that first step is a doozy though, and once you take it, you will be taking it for the rest of your life. announcing that you birth at home will forever invite stares, slack jaws, and questions. you may always be radical to friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and how sad it is that normal birth may appear to the outside world as so abnormal. homebirth may get the token mention in a book about pregnancy and birth here and there, but it is mostly misunderstood and misrepresented. even dr. sears, whose own children were born at home, does not give it a solid endorsement for most women.

birthing at home is about taking back one of the most sacred and innate events in a woman's life. it is about reclaiming our bodies as our own and our physiologic wisdom as inherent. it can be about doing what is safest, but i am beginning to see it as a first step in putting the medical model in its place of "only in emergencies" and moving women away from the supine position of inexpert in our bodies and for our children.birthing at home is a quiet frontline of resistance to the continued subjugation of women. march on, sisters.


making dinner, i wanted to be thinking about how being a mother has radicalized me, how all the things i believe in have evolved thanks to having children. instead, as i was flipping through joy of cooking looking for the definition and precise measurements for how one might julienne something, my eldest child started throwing the wooden toppings for the wooden pizza up in the air, barely missing the sauce i'd prepared, and i found myself shouting, forcing his hand to pick the toppings up, not successfully explaining why exactly wooden toppings turned misguided missiles and subsequent giant mess was a bad idea, or at least unacceptable and then i thought, "well how radical is that?" it astounds me how often as i am sitting in my own thoughts on attachment parenting and how best to do it, i find myself stressed to the point of ignoring its primary tenets. but i absolve myself of feeling guilty. the thoughts on parenting increasing my radical tendencies inhabited only a very small portion of my day as my husband is sick and not getting out of bed and my children are insisting on messes and we were out of diaper covers and it is raining and chilly again. so clearly the stressors were unusually increased. barring extraordinary circumstances, sometimes, admittedly, i yell. i am not proud of the fact and i do not accept it as inherent to my method of childrearing, but i do realize that i am human and it is necessary for my children to understand that i have flaws so they can accept their own imperfection when they are older and overanalyze crap like this, surely in therapy, complaining about their mother.