When I became a mother, I lost my self. The birth was early by 6 weeks, labor was horrendous. My child was in an incubator, and cried non-stop, unless I put on the gloves that reached through, and held him. When he came home, he cried non-stop, unless you put something in his mouth: a tit, a finger, anything… My nerves became frazzled, I was exhausted, and the most punishing depression hit me like a ton of bricks, literally.
My baby was beautiful, though jaundiced, and tiny. But nobody was there for me. My mother, my husband, my friends- all had seemingly desserted me. I think they thought I could handle this little milk-sucker, but really I could not even handle myself…
My whole life I’d been cultivating being in control, and yet this tiny being absolutely slew me. I loved him to bits, the most love I’ve ever felt, overwhelming, heart-rending. But my spirit was broken- my life was no longer my own, he demanded my full attention every second of the day and night, I worked to relieve his pain, and it was never enough. He just cried, and I wasn’t enough.
Nursing, which should have been our big bonding experience, hurt like hell. I smiled at him through tears of pain. My sensitive skin soon blistered and burst. At age 15 months, I finally had to tell him that my breast was broken, first one, then the other. No more nana.
Dignity is holding your head above water, using your two hands to support your chin, fingers touching, and at the fingertips touching. Dignity is looking out at the world, and feeling equal to it, feeling worthy, spine strong and straight, an invisible thread at the top of your head, keeping a slight tilt on the chin. Dignity is an inner thing, that projects outwards.
According to Wikipedia, “Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights…In ordinary modern usage, the word denotes “respect” and “status”, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect.”
As a mother, I was a mess. I found my dignity as I called in support for myself and my baby. Because I was inherently worthy of respect, the disrespectful way the hospital had treated me and my son both, had to be dealt with. Throughout the labor and birth I’d been manipulated and conned, my needs put behind the doctor, who was tired, and the nurses, who wanted to speed things along.
Now things are quite different: water breaks, maybe a mother goes on bed-rest, but labor is not necessarily induced at 6 weeks, as mine was. When a doctor is exhausted after doing deliveries of other babies for 19 hours straight, the mother in labor isn’t given sedatives to postpone the birth. Another doctor would be called. Forceps are now rarely used, and perineal massage lessens tearing, as does a slower more gradual delivery.
When a child is born jaundiced, nowadays he goes home with a machine to do the treatment at home, he doesn’t stay in the hospital for weeks as my son did.
One thing remains the same:dignity needs to be claimed and owned by us all. We are dignified in claiming dignity, doing dignified respectful actions, and in our self-respect.
We owe ourselves dignity, and we owe it to our children.
Everyone, everywhere triumphs
Making a Stand for Peace,,
Enthused, DIGNIFIED Energy,,
Seeking heart connectionss
to innate joy and wisdom..