My friend Anna Kunnecke has started The Birth Story Project to give women the space to heal and grow from their birth stories. What makes Anna’s project different is that it’s not around any woman’s “birth plan,” or emergency C-Section, it’s not the story about how these women were brought into the world as infants and it’s not about the children we bring into the world. The Birth Story Project is about how the experience of giving birth transformed us as female human beings, or how it didn’t.
I wrote the piece because Anna, who has just been jolted across the planet by the devastating earthquake in Japan and is now safely staying in Oregon with her daughter, has been instrumentally supportive in my work and she is my friend. I’ve done life-coaching work with her and she’s one of the few people who has been confrontational enough with my walls, barriers and untrue beliefs to knock a few of them down. What a relief that was.
She’s also my favorite living poet, writing Sit at my table. Here’s a little taste of her delightful poetry.
Chin Up, Deep Breath, Flowers on Table
This morning I got very quiet.
I lined everything up until I was
still like a pool of water.
I held my daughter in my mind,
and my maternal lion roared.
Not of danger,
or a warning,
the clear knowledge of
what I need to do to be at peace.
So I am getting on a plane in a few hours
with my girl.
I always get something amazing from reading her work: after the earthquake she wrote about how secure she felt knowing that she had Queen Sweeped her life, one of her coaching courses, and when the earthquake happened and nuclear reactors were threatening to do their worst, she knew where her passports, important papers and money was and could shove them in a quick getaway bag. It told that little voice in my head, which often tells me that “trivial things,” like organizing and backup plans, can wait until I have more time are. not. trivial. That little voice needed to hear that.
I was surprised that the exercise of writing my own birth story was, in fact, as healing as she said it would be. It was as if the event was left dangling in my brain, untied up, unbound, floating free-form knocking into other things in my brain. But, it felt different after I wrote my own birth story. It felt like, with words, I had wrapped my brain around events, so large and scary and life-altering, that I hadn’t yet ever been able to wrap my brain around them. So here is Tracee’s Story. It sits among other women’s very readable, life-altering, birth experiences.
My birth story begins on Sept. 11, 2001. Three weeks before my daughter was born I photographed the second plane smashing through the second tower of the World Trade Center. Holding my swollen belly, and the baby within, I witnessed the entire world as we knew it implode on itself. My inner wise woman knew that this, this exact moment, was the death of life itself as we had defined it. The entire world order came crashing down, in a thick haze of burning metal, paper and bodies. Read the Rest.
If you feel so moved, Anna is opened to new submissions.