Nothing about life here is ‘normal.’ How could it be? And neither will my birthing experience – and maybe that’s for the best, so that things have a chance to actually change.
Thursday was my “due date.” I began my 40th week of pregnancy yesterday and am due to go into labor any day now. I’ve been mentally and physically preparing myself for this exciting and unpredictable moment for months, planning to have as natural, active and positive an experience as I can without any unnecessary interventions.
Then came the huge intervention of reality this week as rockets began being fired at Jaffa-Tel Aviv. No longer simply anticipating contractions, but anticipating sirens. No longer just being attentive to my body ahead of labor, but also ahead of rockets. I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be bringing my first child into this world amid the harrowing sounds of sirens followed by booms of rockets exploding in the skies above me that shake the whole house — and waking up every morning to news that the Israeli military is in-distinctively killing dozens of Palestinians, including women and children in an operation that I do not feel protects me, or serves the interests of my soon-to-be-born child’s future.
At first I couldn’t see past my upset and resentment that the holistic, wholesome and calm labor experience I had been hoping for is being taken away from me, just like that, because of the inopportune timing, and there’s little I can do about it. And I’m angry over the fact that my child’s first days of existence will be shrouded in unnerving sounds and an atmosphere of fear, violence, death and destruction.
And this, on the already grim backdrop of weeks of heightened violence in which so many young people — the three murdered Israeli teens and significantly more Palestinian teens — have been killed, beaten and detained. (Remember Nadim Nuwara and Mohammed Salameh, who were shot by Israeli forces in Beitunia on May 15 while posing no direct threat, and still no condemnation or legal action has been taken.) And all this, on top of the ongoing daily reality of the evergreen occupation and general violence of life here in Israel and Palestine.
But while it is still of course difficult and stressful for me as far as my personal experience as a pregnant woman, relatively speaking, I’m fine. My...Read More