Sage’s birth story is something I always wanted to write about mainly because of all the things that happened that I didn’t want to happen. But let’s backtrack a little bit. I got pregnant at 23 I was still in college which was already not the most ideal environment to be pregnant especially with my body changing, hormones, and being “young” and pregnant and the first one of my friends all at once. Let’s just say pregnancy was extremely isolating for me living on a college campus when so much of my existence before was about how I looked and what the next move was. I was not in the mental space to have a kid. Or the financial or the emotional. I was a mess. I was a lonely mess.
Okay, so that added to the lack of knowledge around pregnancy and what I was going through – the lack of being to connect to and with mothers my age already led to me not feeling the most confident or sure of myself.
Many times at the hospital I was nervous I was scared. I cried more than once at an appointment. The one that sticks out the most though is when I had to get seen because Sage wasn’t turning the closer I got to my due date and it was decided that I would get a C-section. Prior to this I had cried at an appointment because the ultrasound technician had stated pretty bluntly that there might be something wrong with my baby because their was a white spot on her heart. More tests no clear conclusions. At the time I 1. didn’t realize I should’ve asked for a more apathetic nurse and that 2. I should’ve gotten another opinion about having a C-section. But at 23 with limited funds and no health insurance (pregnancy Medicaid came through) I didn’t have many options. But I won’t say my whole experience sucked. Even though the first 3 months I had horrible nausea couldn’t keep anything down – I wasn’t a vegetarian or vegan at this time but I would eat meat and immediately throw up. I remember the only thing I could keep down was packaged ramen (which is pretty damn unhealthy).
I was also put in some pretty uncomfortable situations like squatting at my baby daddy’s sisters boyfriends (yeah) apartment cause there was an empty room and we had nowhere to go as we saved money to get our own apartment. I pushed through. But I think a lot of times I did cause I wasn’t thinking about what was going on I had completely disassociated from what I was going through – I should’ve taken my ass home to my parents house and pregnancy probably would’ve ran a lot smoother I should’ve taken the semester off school and thought about what I really wanted in life and what I wanted to do. But instead I ignored and did what I thought I should do which was basically grow up over night and struggle. Cause when a woman gets pregnant and her life isn’t mapped out to a T it is always seen as a the biggest mistake in her life on TV. And being on a college campus I of course felt and saw all of this when people looked at my stomach and then looked at me then quickly looked away. I wasn’t relatable to the people I knew anymore so I stopped hanging out and I isolated myself more than I already felt.
But like I said it wasn’t all bad. I had an 8 am printmaking class and I would stop at Starbucks on campus everyday and it got to the point where the baristas knew me and would give me my sandwich and juice for free (probably cause of my protruding belly). And if I was late to class my professors never said anything to me cause its like everyone knew I was doing my best.
Having a surgery to give birth freaked me out. I blamed my body for not remembering what it was made to do. I was angry I was upset I was disappointed in myself. Honestly, I was fucking scared. Signing papers to give birth. Laying on a surgery table to give birth. Being cut open and having a catheter stuck up me. I don’t remember much from the actual birth as I was under heavy meds. I remember shaking when they pulled her out and looking at my boyfriend and saying I was cold. I remember the doctor who was their for backup or support or both coming over reassuring my boyfriend everything was okay and laying a blanket over me. I also remembering this feelin of something pulling as they pulled Sage out – much like when a tooth is pulled and you kinda feel it somewhere deep.
That’s all I remember really except the pain the next day. The soreness. Not being able to walk to the bathroom or wash myself in the shower without help. In the hospital I didn’t instantly feel connected to Sage cause good ole disassociation had been with me for months – but I cared. I stayed up at night just looking at her I didn’t get any sleep. I watched the sun rise every morning. I was so jacked up I got a cold sore. But Sage was beautiful she was angelic (cause lets face it every mother wonders if her baby will be ugly) and she was so chill she didn’t have crazy newborn fits or cry a lot probably cause I cuddled her all day and barley let her be in that plastic bassinet thing. She slept a lot.
And when we left the hospital it felt like a little bubble had been burst. It was like okay now go do everything on your own – go cook, go take care of your newborn and yourself and be in a constant state of happiness doing it. And oh make sure you look presentable too cause everyone loves a hot mom. I didn’t know what to feel. And I wish that society wasn’t so backwards about motherhood and was more about community (even though I was stubborn and didn’t want anyone to bond with Sage cause I felt insecure about being a mother and pushed away all outside help from other women) and how its needed and crucial to getting through the first year and keeping your sanity and not just going through the motions and patting yourself on the back cause hey at least your getting shit done and killing this motherhood thing.
I didn’t know how to be a mom or even me or 24 anymore. I mean I don’t suck at being a mom. I know Sage loves me. I sacrifice everyday for her and I think about the future more than I should cause I want to be able to give her things she needs and wants but I wish there was like I don’t know a crash course to all the FEELINGS of motherhood and how as a woman you have to change. There’s a lot of change. There are even more deaths I feel like in womanhood when you become a mother with all the expectations that come with it. I mean there’s already so many expectations of being a woman and add motherhood to that and its like you gotta be on your shit 24/7 and its just not realistic. And don’t get me started on the guilt. It took me months to go out without Sage or hang out with friends and then even more months to go out and not feel guilty for being out. There also seems to be this big separation between women who have kids and woman who don’t. It’s like you somehow have gone down a path of no return or something like their are two separate clubs. I don’t get it.
I know this probably wasn’t the typical birth story but that’s cause motherhood isn’t seen through rose colored glasses over here its the best thing I’ve ever done it has pushed me and pulled me and made me step out of my comfort and therefore grow and get off my ass and go for the things I want. It has humbled me. And for that I will forever be grateful Sage chose me and continues to do so everyday (I mean not like she has a choice lol the real test is when your kids are older and still love you).