So this weekend I found myself on youtube watching a nearly two hour video callled How baby grows in the womb during pregnancy-How Twins are made (Triplets Quads). It was so intimate and so descriptive that I literally felt as if I had made the journey from conception to development to birth with all of the babies that were studied. I was just stunned by the beauty of it, the risks, the miracle of nature. Did you know that more of us were born with a twin than will probably ever know but sometimes for reasons no one knows that twin vanishes before it can fully develop in our mothers womb. It’s called vanishing twin syndrome. I am endlessly amazed by the many incredible things I’m discovering that happen our bodies as women all the time, life beginning and ending and beginning all the time.
Can you imagine sharing a womb with three other siblings, not to mention one? I like that when the narrator talks about the ways in which some babies kick or push one another for space that it is a form of aggression which should not be interpreted personally but only as a natural reaction to space that grows increasingly limited as each baby grows. Oh I felt for the baby in the quad womb getting kicked in the head and laying on mommy’s placenta for comfort! LOL!
They also mentioned that this behavior could replicate itself in behavior outside the womb with the kicking baby exhibiting more assertive actions and the passive one retreating more often. Oh my God. So much action in the womb! But there was something about having a womb mate that made me feel like the single fetus was a bit more lonely. Of course, single, twin, quad, etc, no one knows any different in the womb. Life is what it is until it’s something else. Most of us can’t remember that far back, before memory even necessary.
At the end of the video I read many of the comments left from a few months ago because after something like that you just want to know if anyone else felt like their mind was blown as well. What I discovered was a large percentage of women of all ages who couldn’t figure out how they ended up watching the video! LOL! It was hilarious. Women had come to this video by way of watching completely unrelated content! Kpop, a One Direction interview, Shane? Anyway, we all wound up watching the video and the reactions varied in degree from awe to disgust to shame, fear and wonder. Some women expressed that they had lost babies in labor, others that they were expecting.
Personally my only issue with many of these how babies are born videos is that they never seem to follow Black or Brown babies in the womb. Is it just me? I know there’s one out there and I’ll find it or have someone find it for me. It was also hard for me to stomach the cesarean births. I had to pause and make the screen small again for those. Thank God a lady doesn’t have to give birth and watch at the same time. LOL!! Vaginal births I’m good with watching. Seen a bunch. I can handle it.
Some women expressed being so terrified at watching the births and learning about all the risks (strangulation by umbilical chord, low blood pressure, suffocation, low birth weight just to name a few) that they never wanted to get pregnant. There was an 11 year old girl who commented that she was watching just to learn. I could not imagine even caring about something like this when I was eleven but I think it would definitely have stuck with me if I was instructed to watch.
I’m so glad that a new generation of young girls have access to such graphic, informational and intimate documentaries about how babies are made. I’m not sure what’s happening in schools these days around sex education but I know in my time the focus was on prevention and not on how our bodies work. I had to go to the library to figure that out. And teenage pregnancy was looked at as shameful, almost as bad as a contagious disease, like it was the end of the world instead of the beginning of a different one. Don’t get me wrong. I know that unplanned teenage pregnancy is often not ideal and that it can interrupt a young woman’s life in many negative ways but I also feel that as women, if we were educated about our cycles long before adolescence even, about how to love and respect the sacred within us, and about how to consider what we allow inside of that space and for what purpose, we would be better equipped to make the choices that would serve us best in the long run. Black women who are convinced at statistically higher rates to have abortions, single parent and to favor and focus career and hard work above all else would revere ourselves and our connection with life more deeply, in ways that allowed us to show up in our own lives with pride, understanding and love of ourselves in service to one another, instead of insecurity, competition, shame and self hatred.