It’s kind of a funny story.
I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR on the way to pick up my daughter from school and Terry Gross was talking with Jimmy Fallon about how he came to be on Saturday Night Live. It turns out that Jimmy Fallon wanted to be on SNL almost as far back as he can remember. He said that when he would blow out birthday candles, he would wish to one day be on SNL. I was thinking, “How crazy is that?” that such an unlikely wish would come true…
And that made me think about my own crazy childhood wish, which was–get this–to be Wonder Woman. I wished that on a lot of stars before my age made me cynical. I knew the wish would never come true.
But while I never donned a patriotic swimsuit-like uniform with tall red boots and I never swung the Golden Lasso around anyone’s torso and I never, ever drove an invisible, flying jet, I did sorta get my wish.
I gave birth at home with my first child (it was a planned home birth) and while I didn’t know what to expect any more than anyone else, I felt confident and prepared for this particular challenge. I was excited for my baby and my birth. It wasn’t particularly easy or hard. It was labor. It was scary in parts–I was afraid I would tear–but I surrendered to the process. I let my primal brain take over and once my daughter emerged I felt that I was the strongest, most capable woman in the world.
I felt like Wonder Woman.
It wasn’t that I felt physically strong. Heck no! I was laid up in bed for a week having lost more blood than is usual. But I felt, as many other women have described before, that if I could do that I could do anything. I know it was the hormones talking, but what wonderful hormones they were! Over time the feeling faded away, but I was glad to experience it all over again when I had my son 4 years later. (And that birth was downright lovely. I would have done it all over again the next day if you asked me.)
But I’m well aware that not everyone has the desire or opportunity to birth the way I did. That’s not really what I’m getting at. What I’m getting at is that every woman deserves to feel this way at some point in her life. Birth (in all its forms) can be wonderfully empowering and exhilarating, but so can skydiving. So birth may or may not be your porthole into the super hero world but, gosh, it wouldn’t be so bad if every new mom could start off motherhood feeling like Wonder Woman for a day.