Part 17 of my spiritual journey series.
It was December 2015 and I was pregnant with my third child. Despite having two previous successful homebirths under my belt, I was having a lot of uncharacteristic fears about the birth of my next child. We were planning another homebirth, but suddenly I was terrified of something going terribly wrong and that maybe I should have the birth in a hospital instead. These fears were confusing and I didn’t know what to make of them. But after the night of December 20th, 2015, I soon discovered the true nature of my fears.
December is often a big month for me. I believe there is some sort of global or universal shift that happens during this month, perhaps due to the winter solstice. I usually experience some sort of personal breakthrough, though sometimes it feels like hell. This particular December was pretty strange. I felt surprisingly good in general, but I was having a lot of random physical symptoms that appeared out of nowhere. Nothing really that bothersome, but enough to notice.
The evening of the 20th, I suddenly began having a lot of contractions close together. I was only around 6 months pregnant, and I was really concerned. I couldn’t stop shaking and I kept having to urinate, and the contractions wouldn’t stop. But I noticed something very curious- when I touched my belly during a contraction, it wasn’t hard like it would normally be during a contraction. My belly was soft, as if I wasn’t even having a contraction. I was really confused and worried and didn’t understand what was happening. I took various different remedies to calm me down and hopefully slow the contractions, and eventually it passed and I was able to go to sleep.
The next day I realized it was the winter solstice. And when I recalled my false labor from the night before, immediately the phrase came to mind, “rebirth of the sun.”
Many ancient cultures celebrated the winter solstice, when the daylight finally begins to increase again and overcome the darkness. Christmas is actually based upon these ancient pagan celebrations, and because of this, I did not even celebrate Christmas (remember, anything pagan was evil according to my interpretation of the Bible). The winter solstice was considered the birthday of many gods, and Jesus got thrown into that tradition as well (although technically, he was most likely born in the autumn during the Hebrew Feast of Sukkot). The winter solstice was considered to be the “rebirth of the sun”.
It suddenly hit me that what I had just experienced was some sort of personal rebirth (in hindsight I see it was mostly a foreshadow of what was to come). I had been reading Jewel’s memoir “Never Broken” that month, in which she repeatedly brings up the concept of rebirth. My body was manifesting the beginnings of my own rebirth.
I realized my fears about the birth of my child had nothing to do with my child. The false labor itself was as false as it gets- I felt internal contractions, but my belly was soft to the touch as if my uterus wasn’t contracting at all. This wasn’t about my pregnancy or the birth of my child, it was about my own rebirth.
For a month or so leading up to this, I felt myself afraid to even imagine meeting myself as a child. I could picture my inner child, looking at me with wide brown eyes, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. I even had a dream in which I was about to meet myself, but instead, I was met with my husband because I was too terrified to meet myself. For years, I had unknowingly disconnected from my true identity, for various reasons, but I felt that this disconnection was swiftly coming to an end. All the fears I had about coming to know myself and accept myself were then projected upon the child in my womb and the upcoming birth.
I was afraid of my own birth, and in many ways, rightly so. Birth is often a painful and messy process, but a very necessary one. After I came to grips with accepting my own transformation, my fears surrounding the birth of my baby vanished, and I went on to have an incredibly smooth homebirth three months later.
However, despite feeling as if this was a holy and positive experience, I was still troubled by the pagan connection to the winter solstice. I was slowly beginning to pull the string of my faith and worldview into a swift unraveling…
Next in the series: Questioning Identity according to the Bible