The day after my first child was born, I had the most horrific miscarriage.
I was still nursing and had the worst pain of my life.
It was as if I was drowning.
It’s a common experience for women in pregnancy and birth.
For women who are mothers, childbirth can be a terrifying experience.
As we get older, we can get used to being told that we’re no longer fit for the role, or that we can’t do it, or just that we don’t deserve to be pregnant.
It feels as though we’re not as capable as our fathers and grandfathers.
So, while there’s a chance we can carry on in the role that has been assigned to us, there’s always the chance that we’ll be judged for not being as good as the men who have done the work.
I went to the hospital to give birth to my second child.
I had never given birth, but I was in my 40s and had been pregnant for four years.
I wore a maternity mask and held a birthing ball, and had a bottle of water in my hand.
I didn’t want to make a fuss.
I just wanted to get into the delivery room, where the baby was being delivered.
I wanted to be the mother.
I felt like I was going to lose the baby.
After the delivery, the nurse said to me, “You don’t need to worry.
It is not a major complication.”
She was not trying to discourage me.
But when I asked what was going on, she explained that the baby would need to be taken into the neonatal intensive care unit for about an hour.
There was a glass jar in the neonatology department that was labeled, “Your baby.”
I didn, in fact, get to see it, but it felt like it was important.
When I looked at the bottle, it was a bottle labeled, for me, as “your baby.”
At the time, I was trying to get my mind off the fact that the nurses had given me a bottle that I had not asked for, and it made me feel as though I was missing something.
But I’m glad I did.
In the years that followed, I saw myself as the kind of woman who would not be afraid to take care of my own baby.
I would not have been afraid to go back to work and take care for my husband, who had an accident and required an operating room.
I did not think that my decision to keep the baby a secret would make it any easier for me to do so.
I thought I was the kind that wanted to do it myself, and not have to ask permission.
It took a few years to figure out that, in my case, the nurses were not always telling the truth.
One nurse said, “We’ll tell you if you want to do this.”
I said, no, but that would mean giving birth in a hospital setting.
I could not say no to a woman like me.
So I went back to the neonaturist.
“I don’t want you to tell me you have to do the surgery,” I told him.
“Because I do.”
I remember being nervous, because I felt that it was my right not to ask for permission.
But the nurse told me, because we do not have the right to be silent, that I was not required to tell anyone about my pregnancy.
I told her I would tell her about it later.
So my pregnancy was hidden from the world.
It became part of my everyday routine.
When we had to be rushed to the NICU, I would put the baby in the NICUs’ crib and hide the birth in the back of the room, in an attempt to get out of the NICUP, a huge, bright, white plastic box with a crib in the middle.
I used the little plastic tub to keep everything in its place, which was a relief.
When the baby came out, I could see that the umbilical cord had fallen out, but there was no bleeding.
The baby was just there.
I held him there for about 10 minutes, and when I looked back, I thought, This was it.
There I was, having just delivered a baby.
My mind was racing: Why couldn’t I have done it differently?
I had thought that having a baby in a birth center was the only way that I could get out from under this nightmare.
Now, as a mother, I find it so hard to believe that I am not the only woman who had to hide her pregnancy from everyone around her.
But it is true that there are those who choose to keep their pregnancies a secret because of a fear of ridicule.
One woman told me that she did not want to have her baby hidden from everyone because she had to have a quiet life.
I asked her if she felt she could handle the ridicule that she would receive if she came out publicly.
“Yes,” she said.
She went on