Birth Story #3 Mònica Marmo
From Barcelona, living in Barcelona
When did you become a mother?
I was 28 years old when I got pregnant. After a few days of giving birth I turned 29.
Was it a premeditated decision?
No, my two pregnancies were not sought. With the first I was not thinking about motherhood at all, I was actually focused on my career. These were not wonderful news. We were hesitating. One day I deeply felt that I had another life within me and just like that the connection with my first child began.
How was Motherhood perceived back then?
In 1997 women had very little decision about their motherhood, neither how to give birth, nor how to feed their children. Now I realize that it was all based on the system of Patriarchy, men decided everything. The midwives had a secondary role. At that time, those of us who were breaking these schemes were alternative women and perhaps radical women, who aimed to achieve what we wanted.
Would you say that Motherhood is another issue to add in the fight of feminism?
Motherhood belongs to women. We gestate the babies inside us, give birth and feed them. For months the baby even believes that he is inside the mother and, as a mother, I felt that he was part of my body too. Laura Guttman says that men have to take care of women, so that we can take care of the babies. I consider myself a feminist woman and I've always said that motherhood gave me power as a woman. I did not rest because I did not have more free time. Mothers influence the psyche of their children, that is very important to know. Early childhood belongs to the mother and I say it that way, because I have lived it, I have observed it for long time. Men also have a great job in this upbringing process, but cannot replace the figure of the mother.
Did you feel like you often had to justify your decisions?
The truth is: from the pregnancy until the decision to give birth at home, then breastfeed at all hours, and even carry my baby hanging with a handkerchief. Back then, many people were scandalized. One day a policeman stopped me in Barcelona, because I was carrying the child like that. At some point I stopped giving explanations to people. Before giving birth, very few knew that I was going to give birth at home. I protected myself a lot to follow the dictates of my heart.
Did your intuition grow while you were pregnant?
Women are by nature intuitive. It is a fact. Obviously especially during pregnancy I felt basically intuitive. During both pregnancies I felt very connected with my children and all my actions were based on my intuition.
Why did you decide to have a home birth?
I was born in a town near Barcelona, where many women had home births. I was born at home too. When I got pregnant, this was my first decision. To me, it was normal. Later, when I started to inform myself about the treatment that women received in hospitals, I confirmed this decision even more. I was afraid of the hospital and I wanted to live this experience in a sacred and conscious way.
Do you remember what you felt when you held your sons for the first time?
Firstly, a feeling of liberation, almost like an ecstasy. Later, when I held my baby in my arms, I remember checking if everything was fine, if he had all the fingers, for example. But the deepest feeling I had in my first delivery was to perceive that life and death are the same. It is always a birth. I also remember perfectly, how impressive the energy of love that filled the room was. When I had my second child, I lived that moment with more awareness, because I had already lived it.
Why are life and death the same?
Giving birth was a physical experience, I felt the forces of life inside my body, as a path opening. I never stopped being connected to my baby. I realised that his journey to earth is perhaps is the most powerful journey that the humans encounter. Once he was born, it was a spiritual experience. At that moment I felt life and death. I felt that it was the same, that it is always about being born. I did not talk much about this. It was beautiful, not traumatic. Since it was so intuitive, I kept it to myself. Recently I read a book, where the author spoke of death as a birth. 23 years later, I've realized that my intuition had not failed. Today I believe in reincarnation. At that time, I didn't have much awareness about these issues. With my second child, I did not have the same experience. It was totally different, every birth is different.
How were the postpartums?
I inherited my mother's strength: the gift to give birth. I lived the postpartums in a fluid way. I had no problem breastfeeding and, from the beginning, I felt happy and in love with my babies.
Were you aware that it could have been the opposite?
I don't know. I imagine that if things had changed, I would have adapted the situation. Not everything was happiness. When my son was 9 months old, I divorced the father. There was a lot of suffering there. Luckily, my connection to motherhood never failed.
Being a mother, how did you manage to take care of yourself?
I visited a doctor of natural medicine, who made a diet and gave me exercises to practice. To be honest, I was very relaxed. It is curious to see how now there are many foods that pregnant women should not eat and how many precautions they take, that back then didn't exist. I ate sushi and even had a glass of wine… Now that would be a total sin!
What has been the best and the worst in this journey so far?
I was shocked about the lack of freedom. I remember one day, I thought I was going to have a coffee downstairs and, at that same moment, I realized I was no longer alone. I saw how any movement needed to be programmed. Any woman who has a baby or who is pregnant will tell you that this has been one of the most memorable moments of her life. Watching a baby grow is the most powerful thing in life. Seeing how they become great people. Likewise, Motherhood is an encounter with yourself, constantly. Pure transformation.
Were you aware of how much you were changing or was it after a while, when looking back, that you realised it?
Women are in constant transformation. That’s why we are complex beings. Our bodies don't stop transforming with menstruation, birth, postpartum, menopause,... With menstruation, in only one month, our body changes so much. Add the influence of the moon. To me, it’s like walking a path, we can look back from time to time, but I always look forward and keep walking.
Did the relationship you had towards your mother change after becoming a mother yourself?
Not at first, because she didn't think the way I do. Luckily, she was a woman who did not interfere in my life. When I had two children and my life was non-stop, I felt a great blessing towards her, which later connected us in our mother-daughter relationship. One of my mother's great tips was "Mónica, do not ask the children. You just guide them". One day I had my son in my arms, he was around one year old. I asked him: "What do you want to do?" My mother looked at me and said: "Babies are not asked". For me this was a great lesson to apply immediately. Because babies can not decide by their own, they are not aware yet of their actions. You can also grow a little dictator. Today I see many of these dictators-children with their parents. In my opinion, the child needs the guidance from the parents. When things are decided, they simply grow.
— Photos: Cesar Lucadamo