I was commissioned a few weeks ago to write my first longform essay for Bitch Media. I was both terrified and excited. So much of the journey was convincing myself that I could do this. That I was enough and worthy. I was fortunate to have an editor, Lisa Factora-Borchers, who was indispensable in helping me stay focused, and reminded me that my voice was the anchor of the piece. Cheers to taking risks & getting out of your comfort zone to try something new. I think I like longform, and will definitely be doing this again. Yes yes! ❤
The essay went live today! Here’s an excerpt and a link:
I was in labor for 26 hours. The contractions were unrelenting. When I was asked if I needed an epidural, my mother reminded me, “Your sister never needed that.” My aunt said, “Me either.” I turned the meds down.
I had to be induced at hour 16 because I was stuck at three centimeters. Sensing what I was dealing with, my doctor whispered, “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but you’re having back labor, the worst labor. The pain will get worse once I give you the Pitocin. You are not weak for needing help, Vanessa.” That’s when I finally got the epidural. I had an emergency C-section ten hours later.
The next day, the staples holding the wound shut snapped in two places. I was told that the wound would not be re-stapled and instead a visiting nurse would come to my home every day for four weeks to dress the wound. That would cost $30 per visit.
My mother came the first day to prepare a Honduran remedy to induce my production of breast milk. Then she was gone.
My daughter’s father went back to work days later. I don’t remember him ever asking for paternity leave, or if it was even an option then. Saying we couldn’t afford it, he pushed me to end the nurse services after two weeks. The nurse cautioned against this, but still taught taught me how to dress the wound myself, which was excruciating. She didn’t look at my daughter’s father as she walked out.
Keep reading here: Can You See Me Now?: The Fragility of Maternal Transition by Vanessa Martir