Friday, July 24, 2009

The Pain of Childbirth

According to the Bible, Eve's sin was what brought God to introduce the pain of childbirth. According to the Bible, childbearing pain is a result of sin. "To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."" (Genesis 3:16)
OK... I get that childbirth is painful, and it's something I've been thinking over a lot lately considering I will be encountering that pain in the very near future. However, if childbirth pain is a result of sin, why is it that animals feel the same pain?
And don't tell me that, no, they don't feel pain in childbirth, or that their pain is less real or intense. I've seen goats, cats, cows, etc... give birth. Cows scream and pace around frantically. Goats scream, bleat, and kick at their belly. Cats don't really scream per se, but they do definitely act as if they are in pain as well. The pain seems to be multiplied by the fact that they don't know what's going on. A pregnant goat doesn't know she's going to give birth, so when the time comes, she has no idea where the pain is coming from or that it will soon be over. All she knows is that she's in pain.
All right, this isn't a scientific study. I don't have unquestionable evidence of this. However, if you've been around animals a lot you can figure out quite easily that what I'm saying is true. If a goat is old and has given birth many times before, she won't be as panicked as a first time mom.
So, my question is, what did the animals do to deserve childbirthing pain? What did they ever do to God? Most Christians believe animals are without sin, so why did they get punished along with Eve and every woman after her? And, furthermore, why are animals subject to death as well as humans? If death is also the result of sin, why were the animals punished as well?
Also, I've been reading a lot of posts from other women too, and it seems as if a few women feel no noticeable labor pain, just pressure, and they don't get all drugged up either. How come some women feel more labor pain than others? Why would some women be exempt from feeling labor pains? Granted, the majority of us will report that it hurt like hell, but for a few women it seems they have it easy.
It seems as if, in this situation, the correct question is, "Why, God?"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Rainstorm

Today I did something I rarely do, but enjoy a lot when I do it... I sat outside in the rain. I didn't get wet, because I was under the porch, so I sat out there for a while, simply watching the rain.
I had just come back from doing farm chores, and I was vaguely irritated at the thunder storm for interrupting my plans to go on a walk. In fact, this whole day I've been irritated and crabby, but as I sat and watched the rain slowly build from a trickle to a downpour, I felt myself calm down.
The rain listens only to the simple, unassuming rhythm of its own pattern.
The clouds simply drift, purposeful despite their lack of control, wherever the wind directs them.
The thunder and lightning herald the imminent chaos of the storm, lending percussion to its gentle symphony.
Meanwhile, a wall of rain pours indiscriminately over everything, heedless of its effect.
Yet the green grass, the dark, rich brown tree trunks and green tree leaves, all become more vivid and alive when seen through the veil of water.

My senses are unwittingly soothed by the rhythmic performance of mother nature. I realize that the reason I've been so irritated throughout the day is because I've been bothered by my lack of control pertaining to the pregnancy. I thought it would be best and most convenient to have this baby as soon as possible. Yesterday I had contractions throughout the day and also other labor signs, and got myself all excited about it. And then the contractions stopped, and I woke up this morning still pregnant. I was pretty disappointed, especially when I didn't have any contractions at all today despite my best efforts to get things moving along.

I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have my baby born during a solar eclipse (tomorrow)? And, sometimes the pressure changes caused by storms send a woman into labor. So where is my labor???
All these thoughts and desires made me very disappointed and crabby today. But as I sat there watching the wall of water pouring down all around me, I realized that I was essentially trying to control and impose my desires on a state of being that was never intended to be controlled.

In these modern times, mankind tries to impose as much control as possible on the pregnant woman. Doctor visits are scheduled, and incremental tests of abdominal measurements, ultrasounds, growth patterns of the fetus, the woman's weight, gestational age, pregnancy symptoms, and due date are all carefully monitored and compared against the "norm" to determine when, where, how, and sometimes if, the baby will be born. C-sections are regularly scheduled around people's vacation time, inductions are performed before a woman is even overdue, and routine interventions are, well, routine. :P Even in the "olden days" there was plenty of folklore giving the illusion that women could control when and how the baby was born.

This baby probably doesn't know when he's coming, but when the time is right, he will come. When my body is ready to give birth, it will. Pregnancy is the single least predictable life-changing event I have ever experienced. Thunder storms are more predictable to me, because I've at least experienced lots of thunder storms during my life and I can sometimes know what to look for. And yet, I can't do anything about whether or not it rains when I want it to. Why should I expect that I can do anything about when this baby gets here? At times it seems as if I am completely at the mercy of my own body- a feeling I don't especially like at all. I like to be able to control myself, to make plans and change them according to my will, not according to whether or not I'm throwing up, being "moody," able to think clearly, or in labor. Like the storm, the baby will probably just show up one day, heralded, or not, by other signs. My trying to speed things up isn't going to throw a wrench in nature's plans. Nature will simply do what she needs to do regardless of my wishes or efforts. And that's perfectly all right. My body was designed to be in control at this point in my life, not my head or my will. Like the clouds, nature has a purpose, although no real reason. And either way, the result will be spectacular. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So While I'm Re-Examining My Life...

Lately I've been wondering why I chose to live way out here in the middle of agricultural Wisconsin. Mostly because phil asked me that question and I never really thought about it. (Thanks, phil) :P Living on a farm had always been a childhood dream of mine... well not necessarily a farm... anywhere with lots of space, wildlife, room for animals, etc... mostly because I enjoy the company of animals. And I'm not really sure why. Maybe because they're more predictable than people? For the most part, they are no more and no less interested in me than other people. Like people, they tend to either ignore me completely, beg for handouts or favors, or run away in terror. Few seem to actually enjoy my company unless they're being fed or petted. (Not unlike human beings.)

You'd think that humans, having a deeper capacity for rational thought would differ more in behavior from animals. But no, the most startling difference between animals and people is that people are often embarrassed or judgmental about perfectly natural things, like defecating and fucking. Which, I guess, is a perfectly understandable reason for me to prefer animals. I like to live in a world where what shoes I wear, who I choose to fuck, what profane or nonsensical words come out of my mouth, whether or not I'm clothed, etc... doesn't matter in the slightest. I could do chores completely in the nude and the animals wouldn't give a shit. (But, alas, the neighbors would, which saddens me greatly because I often like to be nude. Oh well.) There's a definite freedom to being able to swear and kick things when I'm angry, or go out to the garden and pick some lettuce or raspberries when I'm hungry, or just sit on a hillside and swat at mosquitoes if I have the masochistic urge to do so.

Or light a bonfire. Or shoot a gun. Or throw knives. Or set up a tent and camp out. Or practice martial arts in the front lawn. Or drive on the lawn. Or listen to really loud music.

Oh yeah, I forgot about all those reasons.

I guess sometimes I take my freedom for granted. Not surprised, since everyone pretty much does. The truth is, I think I could adjust to life in the city pretty well. I pretty much hated Rochester when I lived there, but there are some things I miss. Like access to hobby-type stuff like martial arts, art, theater, stuff like that. I don't really mind driving 45 minutes to get to a Wall Mart or movie theater or resteraunt, but I do feel frustrated that there are no martial arts studios within reasonable distance, or with reasonable membership fees. Since there's no one around to dress up for, I don't often pay particular attention to my appearance. Who really cares? Then again, when I do something fun with my appearance such as color my hair or put together a nifty outfit, there's no one to show it off to. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on... whatever it is people do in the city. Drink? Attend fancy parties? Go clubbing? Text each other about the drama in their lives? Swear at people in their car? Go shopping?
I guess.
Yay for all the social interaction I'm missing out on... :D And since I feel out of place in most social settings, I think I'd get depressed pretty damn easily in any other setting but here. Nothing a little booze wouldn't fix, but I don't drink, so... that pretty much settles that. Oh I guess I'm getting better about socializing. I don't run to a corner and curl up in a fetal ball and snarl at anyone who comes near me... anymore... so I guess that's an improvement. Still, it exhausts me. I always feel like I'm being put on the spot, even if I'm not. Something I'm working on. But either way, my present life suits me just fine. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Love Healthy?

So I keep having this fear that my marriage will fail. In January, I married a man whom I had been living with for 3 years, we are madly in love, I am having his baby, we bought a house together, everything seems hunky-dory. However he has been married and divorced before, and he is 18 years older than me. He claims that he was never really in love with his first wife, he just got married because there was social pressure to do that, and she was a cool person until she had kids. Then she "completely changed" and it all went downhill from there. Understandably, I have the fear that once I have a kid, I will "completely change" and things will not work out between us. I can't promise that I will never change. I consider myself a constantly changing person, and even the simple fact of my falling in love with him has changed me WAY more than I ever thought possible. In a good, or bad way? I don't know. All I know is, I'm not the same person now that I was when I first fell in love with the guy.

I am still increasingly amazed at how much being in love has changed me. My priorities are all wacky. I used to be very much a "tough girl," outwardly confident with a limitless amount of energy. Inwardly, I have (and probably always will have) self esteem issues and struggle with depression. I used to focus very heavily on martial arts, physical fitness, my art, and writing. Now it seems I lack a lot of motivation for being physically active and things that used to seem so important are just kind of fall-back hobbies for when I get bored. But the most disturbing thing is, I've become DEPENDENT. Dependent on my husband to show affection, and horrifically sensitive to his moods. Sometimes if he comes home after a bad day at work I'll get very depressed and even cry just because of the simple fact that he is feeling bad. I don't even want to go into what my life is like if he is sick! Early on in the relationship, I've even considered breaking up with him JUST BECAUSE I was changing way too much for my own comfort, and wondering if being so intensely into a relationship was just "not who I am." I mean, why should I let any guy define my life, my personality? Or is this shift in priorities and attitudes a natural and healthy thing that happens to us all as we grow up?

And now I'm bringing a baby into this world. I'm assuming I'll love this baby like I've never loved anything else, and that my behaviors, attitudes, and personality will once again shift. But IS THIS HEALTHY? Is such an intense, all-consuming love for another human being a perfectly healthy thing, or does it represent a departure from the self, a mere fulfilling of the role of "mother" or "wife"? Can I truly maintain my own distinct personality while harboring such intense love for both my husband and my child? Or do I become even more immersed in the other people in my life, so much so that I completely change into the woman I DON'T want to be? Will I forever be dependent on these other people to make my life meaningful?

Regardless, I'm in this boat, now I have to paddle it. There's no going back, and I have no wish to. I'm very happy with the decisions I've made in this life. However there's a definite concern as to what kind of person I will be when this child does come, and as he's growing up, and after he becomes more independent. I'm assuming my life will be drastically different, but will I still be me?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Of Eve and Iktomi

Relatively new to this blogging thing. But I wanted to create a blog that is less about my everyday practical shit and more about my musings, insights, philosophical ramblings, and literary references. :P So I shall.
The title of this blog bears a touch of explanation. You all know who Eve is. She was the first woman on this earth, according to the Bible, the first wife, the first mother, and single-handedly responsible for things not being all perfect and heavenly around here, besides the obvious fact that she talked to snakes. People's reaction to Eve is mixed- cheuvanists use her as an excuse to claim that all women are weak and evil, because she led Adam astray. Most Christians do not look up to her, but relate to her... after all, do we not fall into temptation every day? She is sometimes reverenced as the mother of us all (and hey, she's better than Lilith, who I'm a huge fan of, but for different reasons) and sometimes despised as no better than Satan himself. But as for me, I applaud her choice.
I see it as strength that Eve chose knowledge over obedience. Eve was "perfect" (which is actually an impossibility- the fact that she willingly chose to sin either indicates a flaw in the elemental design or a self-creating nature, both of which undermines God's complete ominipotence and perfection, but that's besides the point). But even though she had all she could ever want, she wanted more. She didn't necessarily want more good food, because up until the snake talked to her, she didn't really give a thought to eating the "forbidden fruit." But after it was pointed out to her that God was holding out on her, she started using her brain. Why would a good God want to keep me in ignorance? Why would my creator want to keep me from being wise like him? And so she took the fruit, and defied God. She was essentially the first human rebel.

Most people don't know who Iktomi is. In Lakota (Sioux) mythology, he is a trickster god who was once the god of wisdom but was framed and banished to the earth and became a trickster. (Oh yeah, he's also a spider, my favorite animal) :) He is both the wisest of the wise and the most foolish of fools. He also personifies the Lakota culture, where wisdom is often intertwined with folly. Like Eve, there is a mixed reaction to him. To some, he is just a silly spider who can't seem to do anything right. To others, he's an unfortunate culture hero who was destroyed by both the gods and people, whom he served. As the god of wisdom, he's hardly mentioned, because the kind of wisdom he portrayed is largely inaccessible to common people. It was the kind of "high brow" wisdom which transcends every day life. However as a trickster, he becomes much more interesting, alternating between periods of extreme folly and selfishness and periods where he becomes a living symbol of the unrecognized teacher, a seeming fool who often helps mankind from behind the scenes. Both Eve and Iktomi are rebels. Whereas Eve made a conscious choice to pursue wisdom and knowledge over perfection and obedience, Iktomi evolved from the personification of an unreachable goal (wisdom) to an anti-hero who demonstrates the absurdity of life through his actions and antics.

I find it interesting that the first story in the Bible basically teaches us that questioning authority and gaining knowledge leads to damnation. Iktomi, on the other hand, didn't even make a conscious choice to rebel, and yet he was "damned," but his damnation actually pushed him to evolve.