- Murat Ertürk
Almost three hours of pushing had my body trembling with exhaustion. Finding the strength for one more excruciating effort was simply beyond my reach. The nurse, smelling of ammonia and spent perfume, held my hand while my husband, stood on the sidelines cheering, “You Can Do This!”
Tears swelled my eyes and fell down the side of my face, I screamed through clenched teeth, “I can’t! It’s too hard and I’m just too tired!” The drear of the hospital room felt cold but the fire within me kept my body drenched with sweat. Voices in the far distance were muffled by the dense, heavy sounds of my labor. If the possibility to escape myself existed, I would have taken off running. But the brief silence before the next push helped reclaim my sanity.
It was then that something cracked open inside of me, not unlike a watermelon, refreshing and soothing and sweet. Graced with a calming stillness my daughter who stirred within me connected. “There’s nothing to fight,” said the unheard voice, “it’s not a battle.”
Its been said that in the hours before an earthquake the winds steady to a hot breath, the clouds lay low and the birds fall silent. The power of nature, quite sure of its own strength, will announce itself with barely a whisper. Diving to the depth of myself, I salvaged my last bit of inner strength and transformed it into a tsunami. Only recognizable from within, my baby was the first to know.
Instantly we began working together, in our final moments as one –– simultaneously moving with the rhythm of life. My last push was visceral, permeating from someplace I never before felt; it was as if my daughter used my power to fuel her own and together we made it to the other side.
There are defining moments in life when everything changes, when we suddenly become different than we were the second before. A brief instant when time ceases to exist and we’re suddenly suspended somewhere between what was and what will become.
In that timeless space we see ourselves completely exposed and raw, simultaneously staring at inner feelings of omnipotence and insignificance. Two contradicting worlds collide and separate as they embrace and release in a liberating dance.
It was in this frozen space of liberation, I met my daughter for the first time.
Tenderness graced my spirit, my eyes softened and I transcended, moving into an existence that imploded with profound meaning. Feelings of euphoria flushed my senses, shedding the person I had just left behind. Self-centered, my ego knew no bounds and all obstacles fell by sheer force and will, never bending to circumstance or trusting in forces larger than myself. But at that moment everything that mattered was held in my arms.
I was humbled with a new authenticity –– softer, kinder, and infinitely vulnerable. Life emerged as something fragile and delicate. Everyday decisions were no longer routine; existence went beyond myself and although my life held more value as a mother. I’d give it up in an instant to save my child. In the same breath I hoped for more time. I wanted more years, no longer to accomplish my own dreams and desires but to nurture and watch my children accomplish theirs.
Seven years of motherhood have passed, and everyday brings humbling new lessons. It is a continuing journey of self-exploration expanding beyond my comfort zone to face issues otherwise ignored or pushed aside. I’m forced to acknowledge, dig deep and explore. Being reduced to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cubs, knowledge suddenly becomes real power.
Not only do we need to know how to become better parents and individuals, we need to expand our base of awareness to include social and environmental issues, and political injustices. Matters as close to which foods to avoid to as global as which toxins are in our environment. Constant self-examination of our own faults to the shielding of our children from hate breeding beliefs in our community, all become part of the child-rearing playing field.
Building a generation on principles based on connection, love, and equality form the solid foundation necessary for progression.
Which leads me to the recent debate that has flooded the media –– contraception. When we highlight archaic discussions in modern times, it appears as though we’re taking two steps back as a society. But rather than looking at it as a downfall, maybe there’s a dormant issue at play that needs addressing. Somehow I find gratitude in distasteful comments like Rush Limbaugh’s because without them we’d continue to be complacent in our thinking –– never to challenge our sometimes corrupt and self-limiting belief systems.
The undertone of this discussion is about inequality and man’s relentless need to control women.
Since the beginning of monotheistic religion, men have been in constant pursuit to oppress women. By degrading the self-worth of women, men have somehow managed to use
women’s bodies for their best interest. The one significant thing men cannot do that women can is bare a child. Man’s insecure, power-driven ego must control even reproduction and women’s bodies, are means of reproduction. We live in a post-agrarian society where children are no longer just farm labor. It is time that we understand that there should be more adults than children, to properly care for those children. Consider the places in the world that are most violent, erratic and destructive they’re generally places where there are many more children than adults.
Through centuries of oppression women have come to internalize feelings of inferiority to the point where it becomes perfectly natural to allow a man to dictate our bodily functions. Almost convincing ourselves we aren’t smart enough to make our own choices about what is best for our sexuality, our bodies and our minds.
Let’s dare to teach our daughters their value in society by helping them reclaim their bodies for themselves. Recognizing that their inner strength is more powerful than a society of men who needs to oppress in order to feel success.
Helping our daughters gain their self-worth by giving them the tools to rise above the self-limiting comfort zone that has been imposed on them is our duty as mothers. Let’s give them the courage to take back what is rightfully theirs.
My dream is to watch my two little girls mature into confident, self-assured women who can sit in the space between what was and what will be. My hope is that they recognize the unifying connection that exists –– between themselves and the universe and stand in the strength of their own power.
But strength increases in numbers and together we are powerful beyond measure with the limitless ability to give birth to a new paradigm: one that celebrates our beauty and treasures it in the highest regard. Like labor we must sweat and push to make it to the other side. Diving into the depth of our womanhood, we can salvage our inner strength by turning it into the power of a thousand tsunamis. With effort we stand united. Without the need to wage war we can collectively move forward with the pulsing rhythm of life, transcending a threshold of liberation.
Editor: Lindsay Friedman