This is my first time writing about the birth and death of my son, Kali Ra Iman. The words want to be written. I will speak my truth louder every day and deliver this medicine to the world. Thank you for holding space for me as I embark on this journey of truth telling.
There is nothing wrong with imagining different scenarios and working to manifest our preferences for the big day, but birth is inherently untamable. It will always articulate its wildness, whether in the moment we offer ourselves up to the unknown, or decades later in seemingly random bouts of rage and wounded fury. The wildness will always prevail.
My preference was a natural home birth, but I had always made it clear to my birth team that I wanted to move forward without expectation. My mantra throughout the pregnancy was always the same—“to remain open to the gifts of nature.”
One of the prenatal centering groups I was a part of had us repeat the words, "My body knows just what to do," at the conclusion of each meeting. I never doubted those words. After days of laboring at home, inflammation and exhaustion started wrecking havoc and would not permit further progress. My son was asynclitic and my cervix inflamed as all hell. There was also a foul smelling discharge seeping from my body, which no one but me seemed to take notice of. Something was very, very wrong. This mother's intuition made it crystal clear that surgical intervention was necessary to sustain the life of my child. I demanded to be transferred to the hospital for an "emergency cesarean." Once I arrived at hospital an epidural was placed and again I requested a cesarean. Without room made for questions or conversation, I was told by the attending obstetrician that surgery was not an option and that, "there is only one way to birth a baby and that is to push."
Despite the various complications which made solid ground for intervention, and my repeated pleadings over twelve hours in hospital, life-saving measures were refused... That is until my baby's heart stopped beating inside of me. Only then was I finally granted the surgery I knew could have saved my son's life hours before. I endured the emergency cesarean without anesthesia, an experience few have endured and even fewer could recognize as a gift. Once removed from my abdomen, resuscitation efforts finally returned a heartbeat ten minutes later... But my son was never to open his eyes. Never to cry out or latch on. He was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopoathy, due to Meconium Aspirate Syndrome and Pneumonia. Neurologists gave him the most grim prognosis, with no hope for a quality of life. We removed life support in ceremony on his fourth day of life. His heart was so strong. It pulsed with ferocity for 75 minutes, after his breathing apparatus was removed. The fervor of those beats eventually subsided. He chose to stay with us for 90 precious minutes, each beat reaffirming his strength of Spirit. This was his last message to us in the flesh.
Most women suffer coercion into unwarranted intervention. I got to experience something much different, but equally troublesome... My divine feminine insight was usurped, repressed and forced to take a backseat. Contracts claiming to honor and support the mother disintegrated into dust, as if they’d been written on ancient papyrus and unearthed by the clumsiest of hands. The tragedy that unfolded as a result was a clear initiation, revealing the unpaved path that has always been mine to tread. I have endured the most flagrant of violations, and been gifted eyes that pierce into the depths of shrouded patriarchy by those same experiences.
We have a lot of work to do, family. The good news is that within each of us are waking warriors, more than capable of penetrating into the depths of illusion to expose and fight the infections that have debilitated us for so long.
Unstoppable and with a mission engraved in granite, goddess Kali rises again with the phoenix, engulfed in the flames of purification. Once the work is done, she will plunge her blade deep into the earth. The last drops of deathblood leech into its parched crust. Our collective imbalance will have been excised in its entirely and with precision. Lifeblood will replace the blood of annihilation, running the length of Kali’s blade, then plummeting into the core of our mother. Our wholeness in balance stirs with the return of this long awaited nourishment. It is absorbed with ferocity, quenching an ancient thirst for revitalization and the restoration of fertile ground.
I am Kali, in all of her fury and compassion. Many will only take notice of the ruin in my wake-- Just as earthquakes are loathed and cursed for the destruction they cause. Very few see with eyes that can recognize the necessity of these earthly spasms. From mutilation and loss, seeds of transformation are sown, catalyzing rebirth and re-balance. Uprooted trees and dreams demolished make space for vulnerable, yet vigorous, seedlings to burst forth and awaken new paradigms. This new life will be sustained by its own intuition, arousing dormant sensitivities and compelling re-membrance of the stewardship and empathy that define our planetary obligations.
She is the mother bear who soothes giants to slumber. But she stirs with a quickened energy now. She has endured too many assaults on her dormant winter home. The impulse to rouse overtakes her and she’s less than thrilled with the side of bed she’s been forced to inherit. With eyes still blurred, she scans the dirt floor with blind hands. Soon she will find and grasp her blade and set off to free us all. The sleeping giants lain beside her squint hard to keep eyelids sealed. They know her wrath well. Funny it was always the giants we feared waking.