“I had my baby!! It is a crazy story. I’ll just tell you the quick version… I delivered the baby in the car. Pulled her out all by myself. I’m one of those crazy people that birthed their baby in the car.”
Yeah, so this is not a text that you’re expecting to get from your good friend! I mean, you hear about these people in the news, but not about someone you actually know, right?!
So of course my initial response is, “Wow that is awesome! Are you and the baby okay?? You are a BEAST.” But this story, which unfolds in an unexpected way, has humbled me and given me inspiration for a new type of photo blog post.
Through this story, I am reminded that there is so much beyond the surface of what I THINK makes up a good story, of what I THINK people must be feeling as a result. The reality is, I never really truly know what lies beneath the surface; and yet I continue to make snap judgements and insensitive assumptions instead of just shutting my mouth and waiting to hear the REAL story first.
You should know that this is Kasey and Matt’s second child, and for their first child they had a much different situation delivering in a birth center. It was an intimate experience, gentle and sweet (well, AFTER the whole being-in-labor thing). Matt saw his baby’s exact moment of birth, he was able to cut the cord, and Kasey was able to rest and hold her baby safe and close. No red tape, no emotionally sterile environment or white walls.
But the second time around, none of this happened. She delivered her baby in a car, in a hospital parking lot, where shortly after a medical team rushed in and whisked the baby away (and then gave some shocked visitors a show in the elevator!). Kasey was BEYOND thankful that her and her baby are healthy and that everything worked out. However she was shocked when people she hadn’t talked to in years started contacting her and saying, “Wow, cool, I heard about your birth story!”
And then Kasey looked at me and said, “Ya know, I was a little depressed that the birth plan that Matt and I had chosen all along did not happen. I was sad for a couple weeks, and then I got over it.” I definitely wasn’t expecting her to say that. I expected her to beam with pride about having such a badass story. I assumed that she would confide in me how proud she actually was of herself! And once again, don’t get me wrong- at the end of the day, Kasey realizes how fortunate she is, especially when there are so many women out there that cannot bear a child though they desperately want to.
This made me realize that there is always more to a story, no matter how great we think something is or no matter how egocentric we are that we take a weird pride in just “knowing” someone with a cool story like Kasey’s. And this is true even with the cases of people we know intimately: sometimes we make incorrect assumptions without giving them a chance to speak freely. Because of that, and a fear of being judged, Kasey did not tell everybody that once the adrenaline left her body and she processed what had really happened, she was actually sad.
So I am going to say it for her! I can understand why Kasey would be disappointed. While she loves science and works in a hospital setting herself, she believes whole heartedly in bringing her children into the world in the type of environment that a birth center offers, in direct contrast to a hospital setting. She does not judge anyone who chooses to have their baby in a hospital, and I believe she expects and deserves the same respect.
Next time you hear a story about a crazy life experience, you have a choice. You can choose to hear only what you want to hear, adding your own agenda, or you can choose to stop and listen for the hidden story, the quiet but powerful “a-ha” moment. I find that those whispers are often the best moments of true candor.