Saturday, October 16, 2010
My doula journey takes me into people's homes and hearts. I am sometimes a receptacle for their smoldering anger or deep despair. I am always honored to help a woman along her path to peace and understanding. Birth trauma occurs when our hopes and dreams go awry. The wounds are deep if we felt unsupported at the moment our plans splintered into a million pieces of sharp glass raining down on us, and the grief process long. This poem is for all the seamstresses out there. The cesarean epidemic has infected our hospitals like a disease causing a disproportionate number of our mothers to begin motherhood disheartened, disillusioned and disattached from their selves. They are all seamstresses.
We sat amongst her disillusionment and despair
piecing together the scattered remnants of her destroyed dreams.
The disarray of her disappointment spread around us
disconnecting her from the fabric of her life.
We sat disentangling the threads of her distrust and disbelief
from the dishonesty of those she thought had cared;
vainly trying to dispel her disenchantment.
The disjointed story spilled from her wounded heart
discouraged tears distorting the lines of her face.
The silver needle plunging in and out
as she desperately tried to repair the damage.
Together we examined the jagged edges of their handiwork
searching for patterns and matching the pieces.
How had this disaster happened;
this horrendous disruption to her plans?
Had she lost all of her abilities of discernment?
__ __ __ __ __ __
Carefully they stitched the edges of her womb together.
Her birth desires disintegrating around her
she lay in disembodied disgrace upon the cold metal of the steel table
discarded, dismissed and dispossessed.
Disheveled and disoriented she lay upon the gurney.
Could they not see the gaping wound they left upon her heart
her life blood disgorging onto the sterile white sheets?
Gathering together the fraying edges of her heart
she pressed discomfort, anger and disloyalty to her breast
bravely trying to staunch the unending flow.
__ __ __ __ __ __
Dislodged from all her instincts
her disordered mind distorting her visions for those first precious days of life.
Distraught she began incessantly working
the needle flashing in and out
feverishly sewing together the crazy quilt of her life.
Would she forever be at a disadvantage
disqualified for motherhood by her disfigurement?
Was there no way to close this wound that would not stop leaking
to rid herself of this terrible disease?
__ __ __ __ __ __
We sat discussing, sharing and disclosing
patching over the disharmony of her soul.
Disengaging from blame or guilt
we discovered a mother willing to sacrifice her body and her dreams.
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I became fascinated with the word and syllable 'dis' as I thought about this piece. First because of the dis-ease women feel with their bodies and their mothering abilities after a traumatic birth. Secondly because feeling they were dissed during the process is a large component of their grief. Third the syllable 'dis' turns a positive into a negative which is what they feel happened to their birth experience.
When I researched the meaning of dis this is what I discovered:
The Many Meanings of Dis
1. lady; woman.
2. Female deity; especially one promoting fertility.
Pronunciation: dis, Slang
1. To show disrespect for; affront.
2. To disparage; belittle.
Pronunciation: dis, Classic Myth
1. A god of the underworld.
As a Latin prefix
1. meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,”
2. having a negative, or reversing force when used as an English formative
Example: to change ability to disability; or affirming to disaffirming
I was stunned to learn Dis was both a female fertility deity and a god of the underworld. Now I see my seamstress as wrestling with these opposing gods; trapped in the depths of the underworld; struggling to sew her way back up to the light.