On a recent excursion with a friend of mine, we sat on pillows at a Hookah Lounge enjoying what would have been a relaxing atmosphere if not for the loud, bass filled music. (Does that make me old? Most of the music that I felt was too loud was quality stuff from when I was in high school- Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, you know, music I like normally, but it detracted from the experience.)
My friend looks at me, and says, "If you could have been born in any era, and been anything you wanted, when and what would it be?"
Deciding what I would have been was easy enough for me. I would have been a midwife. I am pretty sure that in another time period (the days of yore, perchance?) I would have helped my mom bring my youngest siblings into the world. When I was a child I always loved watching animals giving birth. We would watch "Wild America" and at the beginning I would cross my fingers and hope that it would have an animal giving birth. I feel like it is in my blood, something that in another time, I would have been compelled to do.
I can't say what time I would most have liked, there are good and bad parts to all of the time periods. I can say that I would have preferred the Pioneer times (Laura Ingalls, here I come!) or maybe a time from the Bible. (Have you read The Red Tent?) I am not saying I am built of strong pioneer stock, but I think I would have lived happily, and been a great midwife.
Now, maybe you will wonder why, if I feel that I would have been meant for that line of work a hundred years ago, why am I not pursuing it now? Honestly? There isn't a good reason. I feel disconnected from it, and fearful. But I think back then I would have just done it. I feel like television has made birth out to be something that we should fear, something that we, American women, are NOT strong enough to do. Breaking down that barrier, and showing American women that we are strong, is hard. And since birth has been medicalized, and taken away from the birthing mother, we don't grown up seeing it. Birth takes place behind closed doors, away from the public, alone or with the help of strangers. Drugs and surgery are more common and take the power away from the mother, the father, the family. We go in to have a baby, and say that Dr. Coldhands delivered our baby. But Dr. Coldhands did nothing but cut us, his hand pulled, and tugged and didn't allow our child to come into the world at her own pace. Dr. Coldhands then charges us an astronomical amount for "delivering our child safely" while we are sent on our merry way not even knowing what we may have missed out on.
So readers, what about you? If you could have been born in any era and been anything in that time period, what would you have been and when would you have lived?