This weekend I went for a weekend of study of yoga for pregnancy. This was one of the required courses that I must take toward my advanced certification in yoga teaching.
We had 28 women in the class and all wore pillows and specially designed pregnant bellies and practiced yoga together, learning modifications and precautions for pregnant women doing yoga.
Our teacher had just had a baby 6 months ago and was still very much processing that experience. She shared how she had problems with feeling badly during pregnancy, with the birth itself, with healing, emotionally from imbalanced hormones, and with pain during breastfeeding.
One woman in the class had had two children many years before and was very pro-birth. She offered another perspective, but then she went so far as to say she was afraid that the teacher sharing the negatives of her experience would scare some women off from ever having their own kids.
It sat with me wrong that this woman who had just been through a rough time was shamed and silenced in a room full of women as she shared her traumatic experience.
Birth is so revered. Everyone reinforces this "but you are very happy about your baby" to every new mama who is really in a very precarious state. Nobody has room for the mama to be anything but thrilled about being a mom. Forget that she is exhausted, perhaps bewildered about how to care for a baby, maybe without support emotionally or financially. She is just thrilled about having this baby. No one wants to hear anything different.
I think it is time that women stop being silenced and shamed for being human. Some women have a great situation and have an easy time giving birth and breastfeeding and all that. And some don't. I want to hear them all tell their stories. Once we tell our stories, they can begin to transform into more empowered stories. But if we feel like we are never supposed to speak about how our experiences really felt, then we stay stuck in the fear or the pain or the shock or whatever. There is a saying in bodywork: "if you can feel it, then you can heal it".
One of the things I really want to see come about on this planet is that women have a safe space to just be. Women are threatened and used and objectified and made to feel afraid and inferior from day one. It is a vulnerable thing to be, to be a woman. But there is great strength in femininity. An endurance kind of strength.
It takes a great deal of power to build and create. It does not take a great deal of power to tear down and destroy. Women are the embodiment of building, creative power.