I was born at Maui Memorial Hospital at 4:20 in the morning. I weighed a mere four pounds, 13 ounces. My mother said that when we looked into each other’s eyes for the first time, she was a little creeped out”“my eyes were like beady raisins, making me appear very old.
I haven’t heard the gory details of my actual birth. The only information on the process comes from my aunty who said, “Are you kidding me? You were the size of a large turd. It didn’t take long.”
By contrast, I’ve had two kids myself and I actually enjoy telling people all about it, even if the circumstances were less than perfect.
Which is why I want to see Birth. On stage for it’s final show Sept. 29 at the Iao Theater, Birth is similar to The Vagina Monologues in that various women take the stage and tell their birth stories. Acclaimed playwright Karen Brody interviewed 118 women before penning the script.
In 2006, after worldwide performances of Birth, critics hailed the play as “part of a global movement to make maternity care mother-friendly.” Proceeds from every show, no matter where it is performed, benefit mother-friendly charities. Here on Maui, Women Who Care will be benefit from ticket sales.
Women Who Care encourages women to have empowered birth experiences and provides financial assistance to women in need. Robin Garrison, who founded the organization and is also directing the play, is a doula, mother of four and aspiring midwife.
“This play will make you laugh, cry and inspire you to make a difference in your community,” Garrison said.
Eight Maui actresses, including Kathy “Tita” Collins, will portray the true tales of birth ““from home births to cesareans.
Both times I gave birth I ended up having cesareans, and it’s something that bothers me. Vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) is not allowed on Maui. Since I ended up having to be cut open the first time around, I knew it was going to happen again unless I wanted to move to Oahu for part of my pregnancy.
Along with the emotional issues from the surgery, I have a ton of actual physical scar tissues that pushes and pulls, reminding me that I didn’t “do it” the way nature intended.
According to Childbirth.org, 23.8 percent of all births in the United States are done by cesarean, while the World Health Organization states that no region in the world should have a cesarean rate greater than 10-15 percent. Hopefully, through organizations like Women Who Care and eye-opening performances like Birth, our nation’s cesarean statistics will drop.
One of my favorite stories from Birth is about the woman whose mantra during contractions is, “My body rocks, my body rocks… “ She’s sweating and half crying, but hell-bent on sending herself a positive message.
“My hope,” Brody said, “is that all women will believe their body rocks.” MTW