Monday, March 24, 2008

The Accomplice to My Shame

I realize now.
I live in a climate of willfull ignorance, refusing to be aware.
Instead, hiding behind my excuses.
"I didn't know."
"I was just doing what I was told."
But now I know.
I will not do what I'm told.
Because what I was told is not right.
The abuses against the vulnerable,
the women heavy with new life,
ought to be called crimes against humanity.
But now I know,
I'm not the victim.
I am an accomplice.
With that knowledge, a bitter, revolted wave washes over me.
I cannot have peace knowing this is what I did to myself.
My own refusal to be more aware, to find what I needed to know--
Its out there, because I've found it now--
has made me the unknowing partner in the abuse
that left me damaged and weak.
After the hurt, I had a choice.
I could have desired to not know.
Never to acknowledge my part in it.
I could have blamed everyone else besides me and say,
"I was victim to my circumstance. They were wrong and I couldn't have known."
And then become a self-indulgent coward.
Participating in the type of cowardice that makes it possible for people to allow and participate in all the injustices and crimes of the world.
Perpetuating abuse by turning a blind eye.
But I learned.
Choosing to be unaware of another's suffering,
even my own, is no excuse for inaction.
I cannot chose willful ignores that exonerates me from culpability,
releasing me into a stupor of cowardice and irresponsibility.
I am facing the part of my blame.
Taking responsibility for my ignorance and inaction.
With this insight, I can choose to not be a victim again.
I will not let that abuse happen to me
And will work so that it does not happen to others.
I am aware. Now I know.
I will no longer be an accomplice to my shame.

This poem was inspired by the text from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the commentary of it written by Jean-Yves LeLoup. The text is written:
Then it entered into the third climate
known as Ignorance.
Ingornance inquired of the soul:
'Where are you going?
You are dominated by wicked inclinations.
Indeed, you lack discrimination, and you are enslaved.'

I feel that consquence of PTSD after childbirth, was in large part caused by my "wicked inclination" to avoid responsibility for the birth my child and hand it over to those who would take the responsibility upon themselves who for fear of culpability and litigation would act conservatively and agressively when treating my pregnancy and child. I did not have or did not seek out the discrimination (another word being discernment)to learn what my responsibility and role in birthing my child would be. I had false assumptions of my responsibility, my provider's responsibility and the roles we could play respectively. Because I did not take the time to make myself aware of the realities of birthing in a hospital environment, I became enslaved to their policies, their time schedule, their need to clear beds out quickly. And because of my ignorance, which is some ways could be labeled willful, I became one of the causes to my hurt. In the end, I was an accomplise because I did not seek out the information to make more appropriate decisions.

After my child's birth, I turned to research and publications about appropriate labor support and found that the information was out there that would have told me to avoid the controlling, rigid hospital environment for the birth of my child. I found that information after the fact and realized I hadn't educated myself and take the responsibility I needed to in order to prevent the abuse that was perpetuated against me. Of course, I know better now, so I can make different choices in subsequent pregnancies. I also have a level of empathy for other women who may have experienced similar feelings of rape, and control over their bodies in a sensitive and vulnerable time.

The experience also gave me an understanding of the power of God to create and bring forth life, the love he has for his children, and the awesomeness of life and existence. I have increased faith in God's processes of how babies are born, and the inate ability of the women of God to birth babies in love, gentleness and joy, all the while, experience the stuggle and labor of childbirth. The act of birthing a child is so very awe inspiring with the contradiction of love and joy in the midst of pain, and struggle. It is a real world example of the principle of the gospel states that we must know pain and suffering to understand happiness and joy, or else remain in total innocence knowing neither.

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