Monday, July 20, 2009


Roberto Canessa said, “Make plans to live a hundred years, but you may die at any moment.” He survived the Andes plane crash in 1972. His story was made into a very successful book and movie called “Alive.”

This is the underlying premise of East Garrison: A pregnant woman, Tracy Dade, about to give birth to her first child, is making plans, hoping the best for her baby, but she’s worried too. All new mothers are terrified about their child’s future, amongst other obvious things. Tracy wants to be tough and deliver a healthy baby. Her friend, Angela, tells her that women have been giving birth for thousands of years without the use of pain medication. She gives Tracy a book, Heart of the Goddess, and shows her the pages about Goddess Tlazolteotl, who is fearless, posed naked in a full squat, with a baby diving out of her. This Goddess of fertility is the epitome of strength to Tracy. She wants to be like Tlazolteotl and tries to emulate Her courage by surrounding herself with images of strong women, but inside Tracy knows that she won’t be able to do it. She gives up without even trying.

When I had my children, I tried to give birth without pain medication. I thought that was very important. Since then I’ve learned that birth is but a moment in time, and is quickly forgotten afterwards. My children, now 9 and 10, are healthy and happy. There were no negative effects from the epidurals I had when giving birth, but I had a choice to have pain medication (at least the second time). The first time I didn’t because it was a cesarean birth. With my second child I tried to give birth “naturally” and couldn’t relax through the labor pains. My body wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do while I was stressed out by labor pains. Once given an epidural, I relaxed and gave birth. But I had a choice. For thousands of years, women did not have that option.

In East Garrison, Tracy is forced into having to give birth without pain medication and no hospital, AND she survives. Actually, she does more than that, but I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read the book. The point is that we are all capable of doing more than we think we can do. There is strength in adversity.

I don’t think many people will find themselves in Tracy’s predicament. So, remember ladies, when having a baby there are just four words you need to know:

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