Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A note to the menfolk......

Once upon a time I was a radical lesbian feminist.  I’d come to that position from having indifferent, dodgy, and invisible connections with men in my childhood, having been molested as a child, and probably partly being really pissed off that my dad had left me and died when I was 7.  After being brought up a fundamentalist Christian, I rejected the concept that men were better than me because they had a dick.  And when I birthed my first daughter I realised that there was a whole lot more to this mother/birthing/woman thing than I’d been told.  I read ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ and Mary Daly, Barbara Walker, Alice Walker, Dale Spender, and a host of other feminist writers, and got really really mad.  Furious that my lineage of strong women had been kept from me.  Enraged that men had taken over the world and turned it into warfare and cruelty.  Brandished the word ‘patriarchy’ as a bludgeon, and attended women’s groups.  Not long after my re-education, I had a fling with a woman and slowly but surely morphed into a lesbian feminist that teetered on the edge of separatism.  I seriously entertained the notion of living a life surrounded by women only, to give my energy to my sisters who had been so oppressed.  I read books on lifting the curse of menstruation, coming to terms with the crone of menopause, and understanding the backlash against feminism in the fashion and cosmetic industries.  I learnt about ancient strong women who had been crucified for their difference, and many a treatise on the ancient matrifocal role models that needed rekindling.  I knew that fat was a feminist issue, and abortions and child care.  I heard about the glass ceiling and the tall poppy syndrome and read books about how the science of gynaecology was rooted in the barbaric acts of footbinding, sutee, the burning times, and genital mutilation.  I knew about equal rights and equal pay, how contraception was a feminist issue as well.  In fact, I learnt that everything to do with a woman and her sexuality were feminist issues – except birth and motherhood – unless it was about throwing off the shackles of them. 

Men were the enemy.
They were shallow and aggressive and abusive and rapists and liars and adulterers and threatening and sexist and privileged and everything that was wrong with the world.  There were always a few men that I considered to be ‘worthwhile’, but they always had to endure my rather pointed opinions about their gender as a ticket to my world.  Listen to my conversations with my sisters about the state of the world, with liberal doses of the use of the word patriarchal sprinkled on top.  And I knew an incredible amount of little anecdotes about amazing women who had been fucked over or ignored by men.  If only the goddess would come back and put women in their rightful place as the bosses of everything, then we’d all be a lot happier.

Much to my dismay, I soon learnt that the women’s utopia I’d leapt into wholeheartedly wasn’t all that groovy afterall.  I saw just as much alcoholism, abuse, hypocrisy, gossip, backstabbing and power play as I saw in all the other minority and mainstream groups I’d been a part of.  My relationship broke down, and I had some flings with women and men for a while, and then decided to leave the place where I’d paraded a lot of my different uniforms and badges.  I started off fresh in a different place to try and work out what I really thought about it all.  And one of the first things I realised was that I’d never really had brothers, fathers, or men friends, cause I’d kept them out for years after realising they were all fucked. 

And then I met the love of my life. 

The first man I’d ever come across who treated me with the utmost respect even though I was ‘easy’.  Who wasn’t afraid of my strength and sexuality.  I was in love.  I went back home and decided I wanted one just like him, but not him cause he was far too damaged.  So I wrote about our time together.  And when the book was done I took myself off on a trip through the desert in January, in my beat up old Gemini that couldn’t go faster than 80km’s an hour or it would overheat.  And I met men and father figures and brothers the whole way up, made peace with my father, and discovered my feminine side, that I’d never felt safe enough to explore before.  I had a cleavage!    And sometimes it proved very handy when it came to getting help and advice from the opposite sex. 

On the way home I bumped into my love again, our love story started weaving itself through our lives, and I determined to find out more about how I could love and trust men again.  One of the first things I did was read ‘Manhood’ by Steve Biddulph, and it taught me a lot.  I’d never before pieced together the perception that after the industrial revolution, boys had lost their fathers, brothers, uncles and grand fathers, as they’d all gone off to work.  And in the vacuum of role models they saw in their immediate experience, had to put together these cardboard cutouts that were a pastiche of movies, and books and magazines they read, rather than actual experience.  Whereas women had mothers, sisters and grandmothers showing them everyday how to be a woman.  Which I’ve got to say right now, is often how to emotionally manipulate, withdraw affection to get what she wants, steer things in an unnoticeable way, and create a supportive gossipy network of other women to keep fingers to the pulse of their worlds.  At the same time as exploring emotional depths, learning how to keep men happy whilst hiding bits considered unattractive, and creating a supportive network with other women to make sense of the world.  (Please understand that I’m talking in broad generalisations here, mixed with my personal experience, and I’m not suggesting this is always the case for women or men, and I’m also talking about myself as well) 

When my love and I really seriously got together, we would neither of us have thought we were sexist….yet  I was definitely more pro woman, and he was definitely a bit snarky about women and the way he felt branded as a rapist just cause he had a penis.  Both of us had horrid childhoods that we needed to heal and grow from, and both of us started as we continued, with the policy of no secrets, and the aim of complete personal and couple honesty between us.  I love this man more than any other person I’ve ever come across in my life, and he makes sense to me more than any other as well.  He’s warm and hairy, he’s soft and smells better than anything in the world to me, he’s intelligent and witty and has deep deep thoughts, he has a strong sense of justice and equity for everyone and thing on the planet, he gets angry and grumpy, and he was pissed off with the characters available to him as a man in this period piece, and also with a lot of the attitudes he comes across in women just because of his gender.  The theories I’d spouted for years about men and women were suddenly caustic and prone to causing bruised feelings.  At first I gentled a lot of my theories about men and women just to avoid annoying him, and cause I loved him so much I wanted him to feel good about himself.  But then life stepped in the way to give me some experience.

I was there when he was trying to put together tricky irrigation for a market garden, and had a massive tantrum about how he didn’t know how to do it, and how could he go and ask someone for advice without looking like a dickhead?  He spat about how as a man he was expected to know how to fix a car and a house and put together machines and do all these odd jobs and take charge with sex and work to ‘provide’ …….all without anyone ever really showing him.  He felt like he’d always just been expected to ‘know’ because he was a bloke.  And looked down on if he didn’t know how to perform a ‘manly’ task properly.  We had another fella staying with us at the time, and they both had a session about how hard it was to be a man in our society. 

I was there to witness his pain and isolation when as a survivor of abuse from both men and women, he remembered trying to buy a book to help him with his issues, and found they were all addressed to women and agreed that men were the abusers. 

I was there when he was crying and howling and beautifully eloquent about how much he loved the planet in all it’s intricacies, yet was the gender associated with despoiling it. 

I was there to hear his heartbreaking ache that there were no men in his world that he could look up to and admire.

And around then was when I stopped being sensitive to men because I loved my man, and started being sensitive to men because I was seeing things that didn’t add up.  Like how men are portrayed as unbelievably aggressive, dominating and ‘manly’, or totally bumbling buffoons that never quite get anything right, but are lovable nonetheless.  All the hundreds of little ways that men are told that they’re a bit dumb, as portrayed by main stream media in a ‘mere male’ kinda way.  How we’re meant to be a male dominated society, but there’s no acknowledgement of realistic archetypes for men beyond being the provider, warrior, king or hero.  No equivalent of the cycles of maiden, mother and crone that women experience.  Men often don’t have the emotionally deep friendship networks that women have, so when faced with relationship issues, sexual problems, or struggles with identity, they endure it on their own.  How there’s little importance placed on men as fathers, beyond donating sperm, and then going out to work to pay for what it created.   How thousands of men are scared of touching their children, rough playing with their kids, and showing physical love and comfort for fear of being suspected of being an abuser.  And I could never quite get that we lived in a patriarchal society, supposedly dominated by men, yet men who didn’t fit in with the prescribed roles and were feminine, gentle, alternative, anarchistic, or deviated from the very narrow allowances for what men were…….were shamed and given a drubbing as bad as any given to a woman or child.

Where is the representation of fathers in the world of birthing, and why are the fathers often invisible in birthing stories?  Where is the representation of fathers in bringing up children, and how can their importance and gifts go largely unacknowledged?  I’ll never forget reading a description of manhood by Vicki Noble in the Motherpeace tarot cards, that described men living in a tribal situation as the hunters and musicians, the inventors and the crafters, the even tempered conspirers of fun with the children.  And I’ve bounced this concept off men along the way, and virtually every one could relate to this kind of approach rather than that of lord, king and rule maker.  Shrugging off the assumed masculine mantle of power is not a difficult journey for many.   

I started talking about these things with other men, and was surprised by the effusive gratitude they had for a strong woman being kind to their gender.  We were locals in a country pub, and having a drink one day, a fella named Hairy Dave told me to go read a joke on a board at the back of the pub.  He told me I’d love it.  So I did.  There was a sheet of paper, that read “Men are like a deck of cards.  You need a heart to love one, a diamond to marry one, a club to beat them with, and a spade to bury them”.  I thought it was horrible.  When I came back he was already laughing, expecting me to join in.  “What did you think?  Funny eh!” he said.  “Nope” I said.  “I think it’s terrible, and if anyone said stuff like that about my man I’d slap em”.  You shoulda seen the look on his face.  “Really?”  he said.  “You really didn’t think it was funny?”  He couldn’t believe it.  He ended up kneeling in front of me and kissing my hand, he was so overjoyed that a woman could possibly not snigger at the chance of having a dig at men.  Which opened up a great discussion about men and women and all the rest of it.     

And I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ trip.  I think it’s just another brick in the wall of our disease of separation.  And from life experience, I don’t think there’s any difference between the genders (apart from their bodies) that contemplation, honest communication, and deep introspection couldn’t bridge, for both genders.  And that whole ‘if women ran the world there’d be no more war’ thing gets up my nose too.  Tell that to the Amazonians, and Boudicca, and Kali the Destroyer, and Fu Hao of the Shang Dynasty, and the Spartan Princess Arachidamia, and Margaret Thatcher, and Condoleeza Rice, and Bronwyn Bishop, and Australia’s current Prime Minister, and Ghandi, and Buddha and Christ……they were all dudes that said not to kill people weren’t they?  It’s not gender that creates war and the separations between us all, it’s hierarchies.  By their very nature there’s someone at the top, and a whole bunch of disempowered folk underneath, that are ordered to do things they would not necessarily do if left to their own devices.  We could all choose instead the model of the wheel for decision making and creating order from the chaos in our societies…..a wheel where every spoke is equally important and necessary to the whole, and none is above or below the other.

At this point I need to mention that I personally also feel let down by the womens movement when it comes to my experiences with birthing and motherhood.  After 8 birthing experiences and learning from my children and witnessing the incredible influence of a father in a family that hasn’t been seperated, and through observing the vast amount of self awareness, contemplation and pattern busting that’s ensued, I just can’t buy the feminist opinion that motherhood and birth are ‘lesser’ paths, and that if I was really empowered I’d be Prime Minister.  Instead I believe now from my own experience, that motherhood and fatherhood and birth and children are actually as valid a path to enlightenment as any other, and in my opinion at least, far superior to most.  In actualising my evolutionary mammalian imperative, I find my perspectives on a vast array of matters and my self awareness, fears faced, and internal tool kit to be well worth the effort of taking the path less travelled.  And I’ve witnessed a similar journey in my love and the father of our children.

And more recently I’ve been really tripping out about circumcision.  It’s Male Genital Mutilation.  And it happens within days of being born.  99.9 percent of the willies that I’ve seen in my life have been circumcised.  (And I’ve seen a lot……I had to fuck my way out of total fundamentalist Christian sexual repression don’t you knowJ)  Without anaesthetic.  A sexual, intimate, uber sensitive part of a man’s body and sexuality is cut off.   Like a male friend once said….”How could I not have a problem with men?  The first man I met pulled me out of my mother and slapped me on the arse, and the second one cut off my foreskin….”  I’m still totally stunned and overwhelmed by the fact that as a general rule, and with everything that is discussed about Female Genital Mutilation and the repercussions of it……that there is no fuss made about circumcisions which no-one can deny is the same thing.  The same thing.  With no help groups and books and seminars and news reports and documentaries created about it.  Barely any men are given sympathy for the mutilation they endured as a baby, a totally sentient, sensitive, and hyper aware little person, days after emerging from the womb.  That shit totally trips me out. 

I’ve also had this theory for a while, that movements happen in three waves.  The first movement is the radical extreme that people are shocked by, the second movement is the main stream that takes a little longer to get it, and the third movement is the people who were dead against it when it happened, but get it last as everyone else around them is already there.  So if you applied that theory to feminism, the first wave was the Suffragettes leading up to the radical 60’s, and then the concept became more mainstream, and now it’s common to see even the radical right roll their eyes and snipe a bit about their menfolk.  And the result is that men have received body blow after body blow after body blow about who they are, what’s expected of them, and what they ‘should’ be. 

And I’ve known a lot of sensitive and deep thinking men who are really disturbed and distraught by this.  And can sometimes suffer the death of a thousand cuts, a thousand barbs about the thuggery of their gender, and how much they have to be ashamed of. 

Through my life experience and interest led research over the years, I declare that I think the term Patriarchy is misleading.  I don’t believe that the enemy that we’ve all sought out in each other all these long years is gender related, or religiously related, or sexually related, or environmentally related or anything at all to do, with anything other than the attitudes of power hunger, greed, control and hierarchies, that started to hold sway around 2,000 years ago, using many different vehicles, but the main one being the body of the Roman Catholic church, created in 325ad at the Council of Nicea, when the flagging Roman Empire voted on which religion to use to establish firm hierarchical control of the state.  We started to get split up from our family groups and communities, taught to give loyalty to those based on ideals rather than heart, and then during the Industrial Revolution got further splintered into men going off there to work, and women going there to keep house, and children going off there to school.  We haven’t been under the rule of Patriarchy, but of Powerarchy.  And because we’ve been so busy hunting the oppressor behind the guise of men or religion or science……..we’ve neglected to notice that the oppressor was within us all along in the form of our attitudes.  We’re all disempowered in a society that doesn’t accept us for who we truly are.  Because we are all unique sparks of the universe, living an earthly life to express infinity.  Men, Women, Children, all of us have our hurts and our repressions, suppressions and oppressions, and none of us are free until our true and authentic selves are respected. 

So as a woman who was once upon a time a radical lesbian feminist…….

I’d like to say I’m sorry.

To the men who feel so alone and isolated within their pain that they see no other course than to end their lives.  To the men who have dissolved into fear in the bottom of a beer glass.  To the men who have to go off to work when their heart stays at home.  To the boys who listen to their mothers talking to their girlfriends about the latest bastard thing their man did.  To the men who listen to a thousand reports about another man somewhere who did something bad.  To the men desperately wanting a boundary and never getting one.  To the men who feel closed out and blamed by a sisterhood of tight knit women.  To the men that desperately want to be fathers, but are kept away from it by one or another heirarchy……..

I see you and I love you and I know you really wish it could be better. 

I’ve got five sons and I want them to grow free and respectful of themselves and each other, and with a sense of purpose and of being who they really are.  In fact I think I’d really like that for everyman.  And woman.  And child.  And living creature.  And planet.  And universe, within which we are one…….. 

This piece is dedicated to my love Currawong, and in memory of the beautiful Michael Lusty.  Who took his life before I could have this conversation with him.  May he find the peace and love that he thought he’d lost…….

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Midwives are Cassanova's......

Yes you read right.  Lothario’s, Don Juan’s, Prince Charming’s, Romeo’s, Lady Killers, Libertines, Paramours, Heartbreakers………….

And I can say this from compelling experience.  As I sit here, on some level, grieving the passing of my most recent affair with a midwife, planning an outing to catch a glimpse of her, I’d really like to acknowledge the sexual nature, that from my experience anyway, is at the root of all of our interactions with each other.   Whether they be ‘sexual’ in the real sense of the word, or sexual in the attraction towards each other, or sexual in the understanding we feel about each other, or sexual in the confidence we exude………our sexuality is at the foundation of our sense of self.  It has to be.  We’re mammals, created and designed by millions of years of honing and adapting to procreate.  Sex is essential to that.  And everything else.  Sex is part of birth, sex is part of death, sex is part of great illness, sex is part of our most treasured friendships, sex is part of looking after our children, sex is part of our wider communities, sex is underlying our family relationships………. Whether we like to talk about it or not, sex is at the bottom of everything.  Our big Corporations and Religions use sex to drive us, sell to us, motivate us, inspire us, suppress us, and often we’re in denial of our own version of it.  And most of this sex is happening subconsciously, innocently, guiltily, blissfully, honourably, subversively, and seductively…….all at the same time as being totally platonic as we’re happily monogamous.  But sex is there all the same.  A powerful essence of our natures.  All of us.  Whether we like to express it, talk about it, show it, feel it, or not.


That being said.

Midwives combine quite a few different levels of sex.  They are there for us on a fundamental level, no matter who is around or how many times we’ve done birthing before. They are there to listen to all the intimate details of our sex, and bleeding, and previous sex, and talking about our vaginas, and any diseases we might have picked up, and how well our vaginas can and will open,  and all those other subjects that are reserved for our own heads or our lovers usually.  They ask us questions about things that our best friends and lovers don’t even think of.  They’re deeply aware of pregnant women’s insecurities and sensitivities and woo us with gentle understanding when others may dismiss us as being hormonal.  They’re considerate suitors during pregnancy, till the consummation of our birthing experiences, and then there’s the gentle letdown during the postnatal period, where they help you prepare for the fact that they’re going to move on. They’re there for the gently sexual pregnancy, the intensely intimate birth experience with all the oxytocin’s pumping round the whole event, and they’re there for the incredibly sensitive, and sometimes sexually painful after period as well.  All rather ‘take charge’ kind of roles, done with a woman’s compassion.   

And so many of us feel so strongly about our midwives, and love them so fiercely, and stand by their sides, and do whatever we can for them………………..because we’ve had an experience with them that was the same intensity as a mad, intense and sweet little affair while we were having our babies, and then we watched our loves move onto the next lover, the next woman with child, and the next bearer of such in tune and devoted attention.  So we go to her coffee mornings, or her meetings or picnics, or to any place where we know she is likely to be, and we look at her from afar, or we recapture a moment from years ago during birth and the affair with each other, or if we’re lucky enough we get to stay friends. 

But many women can have just the one experience with a midwife, just the one mad affair, and then have nothing more to do with the ‘scene’ , but be left with a gentle memory of a brief liason.  And some women don’t experience any kind of love at all with their midwives, and can feel quite ripped off by the experience, as a virgin offered Romeo, and instead given Quasimodo.  And in the worst case scenarios, women can have truly horrific experiences with midwives, where they more take on the role of Bluebeards. 

I’ve felt jealous over my midwives.  In a few different ways too.  Jealous of their attention definitely.  Jealous about them having amazing births with other women.  Jealous of intimate stories I hear other people have.  Even jealous of other women going through ordeals after their births, because I know ‘my’ midwife is totally being there for them.  Jealous enough to feel a skip in my heart when I know I’m pregnant, and will be spending time in the sun lushing up on another…….. or the same midwifes care, attention, focus, understanding, love, loyalty, appreciation, empowerment, support, positive and inspiring thoughts, skills, experience, and knowledge………..until I’m fully cooked, and both me and the babe are moving forward into the journey, and she moves onto the next affair.

And it’s not an illicit affair either.  Not a secret I have to keep.    Currawong usually falls just as deeply in love as I do.  So do the kids.  Other friends can almost get jealous themselves, as between us and our kids it’s ‘our midwife say’s this’ and ‘our midwife did that’.  It’s a publicly approved of affair.  That everyone who’s loved a midwife can relate to.  That other mothers get, even though they may not equate it with an affair.  But I say, that in all my years around birth and experiences thereof, not to mention the stories I’ve read and the people I’ve witnessed, that it’s a relationship with the same intensity and loving, and this analogy may start at least to make some sense of some of the very intense and passionate emotions surrounding birth within it’s different factions at the moment.  I’ve read many articles with disconcerted obstetricians, media reporters, and legal people talking in uneasy terms about the cult like following of midwives, the women and children surrounding them in a colourful throng.  The devotion these crazy midwives attract.  And they really don’t seem to get it.  The huge amount of love and sexuality flowing around these birthing creatures, interacting with the women and families around them who see themselves reflected.  I remember reading one article about an obstetrician, talking about how he wanted more adulation for what he did, and had studied years to do, rather than watch midwives get all the action.  But they don’t seem to get that birthing in a hospital just isn’t sexy.  Being treated as another number on the treadmill of birth doesn’t get a woman hot.  That whole white or blue coats with gloves thing isn’t a turn on.  (For most people anyway).  Women really respond to their chosen carers treating them with compassion, respect, gentleness, understanding that birth isn’t an everyday experience for birthing mothers.   Women really respond well to being treated like a goddess.  Both when the baby goes in and when the baby comes out.  That’s the area in which most midwives I’ve met really excel.  And the attitude that makes them so incredibly attractive. 

And let’s face it.  A lot of midwives are just goddamn sexy.  In their attitudes.  Their unique sense of personal fashion.  Their knowledge and support around birth.  Their general attitudes towards women.  Their conversation skills.  Their depth and capacity to ‘be there’ in all matters birth, death, sex, or illness related.  Their quirky personalities.  Their cars full of stuff.  Their fierce loyalty.  And I’m talking all midwives here.  The hombirthers, the hospitalbirthers, the hospitalbirthers who really wish they were homebirthers and vice versa.  The students, the ex midwifes, the part timers.  And also the ones who midwife both birth and death.

The first midwife I ever met was a friend of my best mates mum, and even though we’d never met before, she was gentle with me as she told me that the drugs I’d taken in my early pregnancy with my first daughter wouldn’t affect the baby, as the placenta hadn’t attached yet.  The second midwife was a squinty eyed hospital old timer, who drew in a whole group of us first time parents for a pre natal group, and told us with great humour and risqué innuendo about all the different ways we could birth, and some of the things to expect.  And the only midwife I remember from my virginal first birth hospital affair, was a beautiful and tall woman, who told me I reminded her of her daughter.  This created a connection between us, and made me feel set apart from her ‘others’.  I wanted to go back in afterwards to thank her, but felt too shy………what if it didn’t mean as much to her as it did to me?  What if she’d already forgotten me? 

My second hospital birth was such a joyous and party like experience, and I was so caught up in my partner, mother, surrogate mother and friend that I hardly noticed the midwives.  The one who was on duty when he was born was friendly, and happy, till we went and had him far too early according to her calculations, and she freaked out a bit cause I was still in the spa bath.  Pulled the plug on me cause she hadn’t done a water birth before.  Just like the withdrawal method!!  Totally unsatisfactory, and interrupting the sexual dance that was bringing him down!  But I got the water turned back on, and stuck my bum and  hand over the plug hole, and was determined to have my way.  Which I did.  Born in water.  And by the time he got there, she’d called all the other midwives in the hospital, and they were all standing round as he was born in the sack.  Crying, and clapping, and welcoming him to the world.

The first homebirthing midwife I met for our third baby, busily pressed her suit to not just me, but to my partner, small family and mother all at the same time.  We needed her to be the legal midwife, as the student midwife who was courting us as well needed a registered midwife to be there.  She had all the flashy birthing aids – bouncy balls, books, articles, photo’s, messages from other women about their love for her. She also came with another midwife who took amazing black and white photos, still some of the best birthing photos I have.  She was the first to tell me that when we had a homebirth midwife, we had a ‘midwife for life’.  Which she didn’t end up being.  She was there for the birth, kept the water too hot so I fainted on getting out, panicked a bit at that, was happy again when I came to, stuck around to weigh the baby and get a copy of the letter of complaint that she’d encouraged me to write on her behalf to hospital staff who had spoken badly of her, and that was it.  That was the end of our affair.  Blunt and unsatisfied.  When I rang her to tell her I was having a hard time, she told me about how terrible her husband was, told me I’d be allright, and that was the end of that.   I wasn’t happy.  It hadn’t left me with blue birds singing round my head and all the woosy feelings of love and emotion that I saw in my other friends who’d had homebirthing midwives.  She didn’t come round and clean my house and bake me goodies like a friend of mine’s midwife did.  She didn’t do any placenta prints.  She was a very vague and unsatisfactory suitor.  And like a woman spurned, I went on a bit of a bitter thread about midwives after her.  Got together with other women who didn’t like midwives, and said ‘yeah!’  Read lots of books from the Christian right about unassisted childbirth, and how intrusive midwives were, and how they got in the way between a woman and a man and their baby.  I agreed.  Got all sniffy about midwifes in general.  What was all the fuss about?  They were just doing a job…..

Till I got pregnant again with our fourth baby.  And had a chance meeting with another midwife.  Who very gently swept me off my feet again.  Sat with me a whole day while I purged, and complained, and cried, and whinged.  Sat quietly, and respectfully and understandingly.  And then offered me whatever combination of her care I needed or desired, no obligation, and no expectations, and totally un-judgementally.  I started to fall in love again, and was so very glad when she made it all of the 250 kms to be there in the classical sense of the word.  To be with me.  With her knowledge.  And her happiness to take a back seat.  And she gave me the gift of letting me catch my own baby.  Lift her out of the birthing pool.  Work out myself what gender she was, when and how I wanted to.  And then gave us a guided tour of the placenta, which I’d never met before. 

And she really is a midwife for life.  Has kept in contact no matter what all these years, has been available for all sorts of honesty from me, has remembered birthdays and the babies she helped into the world.  A faithful love.  But a Cassanova nonetheless J.  Loved to distraction by a whole harem of women, who will tell you their stories about her with tears in their eyes.  She also introduced me to another midwife for life, who was even more of a superstar, and they were both there for me with the birth of my fifth child.  Which was a facing of every fear I had about birthing – to be out of the water, to have to transfer whilst in labour, and to have a caesarean – which I did with the gentle ministrations, understanding, path easing, and love, of two amazing midwives.  And the best bit was they were so completely there for me afterwards, my first love in particular, helping me to heal, getting me to rest, doing every little thing she could think of to ease my shaky days afterwards. 

Then there was the world famous birth of our sixth and seventh twins born two days apart and in water as a VBAC, with my superstar midwife who was totally amazing in her friendship, advice, support, compassion and tender charming ways.  We were all so in love with her that I actually felt shy and would sometimes lose my breath and stutter when I had her undivided attention.  I looked forward to her visits with the excitement of preparing for a lovers tryst  I’d have to constantly chase the kids out of the room and give Currawong stern looks when no-one else was looking, just to have a little time with her on my own, as everyone else had a crush on her as well.  And the love, understanding, and compassion she poured on me as I went through such an extraordinary birth, only served to put her higher in our esteem and love.  She was so close to us all through the 3 day process and afterwards, that I felt quite privileged to have so much of her time.

And that’s not to mention all the other midwives I’ve come across in my time in South Australia, who I got to meet and make friends with, they impressed by my lengthy birth history, and I impressed with their general midwife grooviness..... Many an hour was spent at the local farmers market with luscious midwives sitting round us swapping stories.  The places we could go in our conversations of and about birth and related topics was deep, and gold, and uterine. 

All these midwife women I’ve met through my time have been amazing and colourful characters, willing to explore any taboo subject with total honesty, on friendly terms with all bodily functions, and able to see the beautiful in everyone and everything.  And the best bit of advice I ever got was in the dawn of welcoming a new baby to our nest, when I was advised to not ‘forget that Currawong’s your baby too, and needs to feel loved, so drown him in breastmilk and fuck him lots’……. Advice that he was very appreciative of, let me tell you. 

At the point of writing, and this piece has been trying to be born for a few weeks now, I’m not really sure if there’s any point to what I’m trying to say, except to acknowledge a part of my relationships with my midwives that I really treasure.  An intimacy and closeness that I wish I could experience with a lot of other people.  And maybe an aspect of why there are so many bruised personal feelings and insecurities in the debate around homebirthing at the moment.  If nothing else, maybe the start of a debate.....
Midwives are cassanova’s…….and they know it!

And now for a bit of book.....Balthazar and Nimue that is.  If you haven't read it yet, or want to recapture what was going on, chapters 1 and 2 are here, http://spunoutpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/love-story.html, chapters 3 and 4 are here, http://spunoutpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/chapters-three-and-four.html, chapter 5 to 8 are here http://spunoutpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/last-installment.html, and chapters 9 and 10 are here http://spunoutpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/law-of-repulsion-and-more-book.html ........now you can read on.

Chapter 11 - The next time.....

She walked into the pub off the street, the busy cold street, leaving the cool nips behind as she edged by the fire warmth.  She saw him before her and fell straight in his eyes.  She asked how he’d been.
“Oh, not too bad considering how much you’ve messed with my head.  I can’t seem to get you out of here...” he tapped on his skull.
She smiled, she big gap tooth grinned.
“Glad to see I’ve got company then.”
He looked at her closely with questions in mind.
“Had any wild dreams lately?”
The silence that followed ensured their connection.  They looked around them to think for a bit.  Speculated on the glass mirrors behind the bar, bleary eyed barflys, soft cushioned foot rests, clean sparkling glasses, the faint waft of beer spills and music cranked full.
“Wanna go somewhere quiet?”
She smiled her agreement, too shocked yet to speak.
They curled into blankets and pillows and sheets.  No talking as they sated lust.  Replayed the great rite they’d engaged in before.  Sweat and wetness sprinkled merrily, sparkling in the soft ebb of the candle’s glow.
“I’ve seen everything differently.  You’ve reminded me of who I am.”
He couldn’t contain his wonderment.
“I see in you all the women I’ve known, all the hurt I’ve caused, all the anger I’ve birthed, all the love I’ve felt, all the states I’ve aspired to, all the reason for life.  I’ve been your oppressor so many times, and yet you love me.  I’ve borne your lash cleaving me bloody, yet I trust you still.  I’ve stolen your art and your beautiful soul, but it lives on.  You’ve pushed me so far to the edge of extinction, yet I’m by your side.”
She smiled half sad and spoke softly.......
“You’re all that you say and yet more.  I thought I could never let your kind inside again, I closed the doors tight and drew the blinds.  I was happy once in my world on the fringe, till I started to wake and wanted to feel all.  You are the outside world, entering my inner sanctum.  You terrify me with your deadly dark, yet I see the same mirrored in me.  Only with you do I feel like I’m all my playacts, all my reasons, all my arts, all my darkness, and only with you are they seen all together.  I’ve run from you so long, yet it’s you who holds the key.  Just as I hold yours....”

They clung again and blocked out all but sensation.  Cut adrift in the mid morning hours to ride the swells.  Cloaked their rapture in thousands of guises and masks and perceptions.  Reeled through time to find new scenes.
“What do you love of me?”  She lazily brushed fingertips over his chest.  He barely faltered.  “Your strength and nobility, your wisdom and grace.  Your smile and lips, your soft belly warmth.  Your innocence and carnality, your sex and pure.  Your muses and wanders, your theories and plans.”
She looked at him sweetly.
“You realise that all you see in me is strong in you.  That all you love in me, you love in yourself.  And all that irritates, is your own critic nagging in your ear.  We are mirrors to each other.  You love me for what I draw out in you.  What is it you love of yourself when you’re with me?”
He pondered.  He wondered.  He looked round the room at his clothes strewn around him.  He cast his mind back through his many long years.  “I love how I tremble, see the mysteries before me.  Feel in my godself, and nurture my core.  I love how I’m a better man, and feel you within me, see all your aspects from maiden to crone.  I love how I know that I’m just on the edge of the precipice taking me out to my future.”
They travelled the train to the hills together.
And the ancestors travelled with them.


Chapter 12 - New lives.....

They lived in a mansion set in a quarry, with cliff walls entangling craggy arms round the house.  Life was sweet and sensual, her daughter and mother happy with the addition to their lives.  They bathed in salt water and themselves and rising awareness.  Sexuality, the rising serpent sliding through their lives, was starting to stretch in awakening.

One night she’d gone out with friends to glittering pubs in the city not far from the hills.  Whole souls and half souls, mostly the latter, drifted in and out of her vision, no spark, no connection.  She was heading for home, leaving drunken friends behind grinningly, when Balthazar came into view and beamed in her path.

They floated through pubscapes and dreamed through a night of intense love and wholeness.  Exotic clubs and colourful people dizzied themselves through the night.  Later, she’d taken him back to the hills in the moonlight, and led him up a disused path to an abandoned, ivy strung house.  Inside the door lay broken floorboards, dusty spider webs, tattered curtains flaying in the breeze.  Burn out rooms, an abandoned piano, and yellowed paint cracking walls.  To the left of the entrance lay a mattress draped in satin, surrounded by candles she leant to light.  Filmy white tatters floated the windows, and soon wafts of incense hung the air with musk.  She slowly unwrapped her layers and peeled off her skins, spread out before him in soulish wholeness and sweet white softness.  They stroked and kissed and supped and fucked and entered each others skin.

Dawn snuck in through the tattered curtains and lifted hair on a breeze through the cracked wall.  They put skins back on softly, and went outside to the car.  Drove through the dawnswept hills, misty from it’s sleeping, sunbursts pushing through to caress their lips.  Music spiralled and dew breath floated, and everything they needed in the world was there.  Every touch of fabric and skin was a sensual delight.  They drove in almost silly happiness, grinning and beaming and soaking it in.
By day she spent time on herself and her studies, her daughter and mother, and sweet time with him.  He found work at a studio making drawings and concepts, and began to build his clan.  They started making mutual friends and creating the couple webnest.  Life was swimming outside the broadnet of harshborn patterns and cultural lore.  They dreamed dreams of acres with gardens and horses, earth caves and children, parents and kin.  A soft land of healing, writing and teaching, making and playing, and growing within.

They deepened their connection and found stronger bindings, and dreamed of the past lives they’d lived and their cause.  And their web spun beyond them, and traced shadows round them, bringing light to the grey and warmth to the chill.  The echo they made shuddered out through the life waves, to ebb on the beach of divinity’s shore.

They both felt that finally, after a lifetime of giving and taking, and ending up feeling alone and drained, that they’d found a partner who fuelled their fires, and helped them grow stronger without giving in.  Together they glowed brighter, and people around them felt touched by the fire.
The ancestors watched still, spread all around them, taking small breaks for light refreshments.