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A Birth Story in Movement & Words


This is vulnerable for me -- I'll start there. Below you'll find some writing about my birth, the first journey I took in this lifetime. I grew up knowing my birth was traumatic. I was asked to revisit the story in an ancestral healing class with Kimmy Johnson about four years ago. I learned more. It was painful but also beautiful. Stories of medicine and love I had never heard. Stories that broke my heart. Stories within the story of my birth.


We'll be sharing our birth stories in the Ancestral Stories class series this week, it's a practice that I invite my 1:1 clients to engage in, as well. Our birth stories can help us learn more about ourselves, about how we navigate change. Our birth stories can connect us to those who came before us, our ancestors. We can find patterns in our birth stories, we can find healing.


Below is my birth story in movement and words. As I deepen into my healing, as I deepen into my birth story, I was moved to reimagine the story of my birth. To consider other possibilities. You'll find both versions below.


I first entered this world on Monday, August 10th.

The Piscataway people are the original stewards of the land that held me.

The Atlantic Ocean was near.

This is that story.

In movement and words.


Artwork by Eliza Reisfeld


I knew it wasn’t safe.

Out there.

Outside the darkness.

I heard the yelling.

Felt my mother’s fear.


I was okay here.

In this space.

I had everything I needed.

I felt her love,

My mother.

I had everything I needed.


Great Grandmother Mazie’s birthday.

July 23rd.

The woman who could drive 6 horses.

That’s when I was supposed to arrive.


But it wasn’t safe.

So I waited.

My mother waited.

In one of the hottest summers on record.

No air conditioning.

Discomfort.

With what felt like “an alien inside her.”


She wrote a letter to my father two weeks before I arrived.

Praising him for his support,

Lying to appease him.

She knew she wouldn’t be able to write the letter once I arrived,

The lies harder to tell.

Anything to keep us safe.


The herons checked in on us.

Introduced themselves while I was still in her womb.

Letting me know that I have otherworldly support.


My mother went into labor on August 8th.

They induced her.

I wasn’t ready.

We went home.

We went back the morning of August 10th.


It was a Monday.

Moonday.

The morning after the moon reached her fullness.

They induced again.

I still wasn’t ready.


Labor pains.

Feeling forced.

Umbilical cord wrapped around my neck.

Three times.

Drugs.

C-section.

Force.


I never got to take the journey.

I was in my safe space,

Plucked out and forced into the world.

My mom doesn’t remember my cries.

Too many drugs.


I was out in the world.

I could feel my mother’s love.

I could feel her fear, my fear

Of that man.

Father? Dad?


We were still in the hospital.

She was recovering from major surgery

When he suggested they move to Berlin.

To isolate her.

To isolate us.

To control.

The tools of a narcissist.


I felt her love more than her fear, though.

I felt our bond more than anything else.


I got to meet the ocean

When we left the hospital.

A friend, a lover, a parent.

I could feel the love of the ocean.


I could feel my mother’s love.

But she was alone.

No one to care for her

As she cared for me.

No one to honor her transition to motherhood.

Her rebirth.


But she loved me

And so did the ocean.

And that was enough.


Below you'll find a reimagining of the same tale.

In movement and words.



Song: Real Magic by Ricky Reed, featuring Terrace Martin & St. Panther


Before I’m ready to make my debut,

I have an internal sense that my mother and I will both have agency.

That we’ll both have support.

That we’ll both have autonomy over our bodies.


I feel the support of both of my parents.

I feel their love.

I dance in the womb.

Taking it all in before I go.

Before I begin my journey.


I’m scared but it’s time.

I’m scared but I’m ready.

I’m scared but I trust.


And so I go.

And it is scary at first.

Then I find my rhythm,

My flow.

I can feel my parents near,

Calling me forward.


And I arrive into the world like the Leo I am.

Ready to roar.

Ready to dance.

Ready to love.


Then I meet them.

The voices I heard.

I nestle into my mother’s arms.

Feel my father’s love by her side.


And we get to dance through the world as a family.

Knowing there will be challenges,

That there will be hardships.

But always remembering life is a dance

And that we have each other.


I meet the ocean in this version too.

And I find a love older than time.

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