Dear Ravi and papa David,

I had already written out a birth plan with all of the “if this, then that” formulations surrounding your birth, and yet everything played out differently. I wanted to give birth in bath through the birth canal with contractions. I had prepared myself well by following a birth course together with your dad. I knew that dysphoria could throw a spanner in the works, but because I had run through the entire birth plan and how everything would feel in my head I thought I would be able to handle it. After hours of contractions, that got more and more intense, the dysphoria grew. It wasn’t the pain. The pain was immense, but that was something I could handle. It was where the pain was located: in the centre of my body, in my birthing organ or uterus. That was confronting. Because that organ isn’t actually supposed to be there. Back in the day I didn’t feel that way, because to me my body was fine as it is, or that’s what I thought at that time. But despite that, midway through this birth it suddenly didn’t feel right. And so we decided to go for a C-section. We had discussed this as well in advance but even so I found it hard to ask for it. It felt like a big failure. Something that I should’ve just been able to do, I couldn’t. I couldn’t go on and needed help. Thankfully the doctor asked the right questions and helped me ask for a C-section. And I got it. Still a beautiful birth. The moment you were lifted up so we could see you was magical. I was instantly addicted and in love. Never do I want to be without you again. How was that moment for you, papa David?

Dear Ryan,

Extraordinary isn’t it, the birth of our child? 

The first encounter with Ravi was spectacular, magical to experience and loving. My first immediate thoughts, though, were “what have we done to you?”, so safe and warm in your belly and then floundering into the cold wide world. It dawned on me that it really wasn’t the choice of our child to be born. But I also felt vulnerable right away; now there is someone who has been brought into the world by us who deserves our love, care, and safety to be able to grow up into a wonderful human being. The day after Ravi’s birth Putin invaded Ukraine, which felt so unsafe. We put a child upon the earth, and shit hits the fan. The footage of people with babies and children in air raid shelters really made an impact. What a tragedy, and what a privilege that we were able to get our child in safety and peace.

Besides feelings of love and warmth, feelings of vulnerability and responsibility came over me.

Tremendously impressive how you pulled off that birth, and were able after all those hours of contractions to be still sharp enough to communicate your boundaries because you had those intense feelings of dysphoria. I think that you’ve saved yourself from a trauma experience.

With Ravi we continue our path, a path I’m sure will bring us many more wonderful moments.