My oldest daughter was born on July 1st, 2000 and weighed in at just under 10 pounds. I was in labor 56 long, painful hours. Her birth was impeded by something called shoulder dystocia, where after the head passes through the birthing canal, the shoulders get stuck. It is one of the riskiest types of birthing problems and can result in death, paralyzation and/or brain damage. Miraculously, my daughter and I both survived with only moderate injuries we both recovered from.
During those 56 hours of labor, I remember my mom saying over and over again, almost to herself to stay calm, “At least you aren’t giving birth in a tree during a flood.”
A few months before my daughter was born, Mozambique was hit with some of the worst floods in the country’s history. As flood waters swelled around her dwelling was whisked away by the water, a very pregnant Carolina Chirindza climbed a tree to seek safety. While stuck in that tree for four days, Carolina went into labor and gave birth to her daughter, Rosita.
My mother couldn’t think of anything much worse than being forced to give birth in a tree, while deadly flood waters washed away your neighborhood underneath you.
When my daughter turned 18, healthy, happy and eager to start her life as an adult, I found myself thinking about Rosita, who would also be 18, and decided to check for her on line. After just one click, a story about her popped up on my computer. Right there in front of me was a picture of her smiling face and a quote that said, “I’m normal, it’s just a different way of being born. I think it’s God who chose that I be born that way.”
As I continued to read the article, I found out that because of the publicity surrounding this birth, Carolina was given a new 3-bedroom house, as well as a job. She says it was a “miracle for sure. It changed my life.”
Four and a half months after she was born, Rosita and Carolina traveled to Washington to lobby the US Congress for expanded aid to help tens of thousands of Mozambicans affected by the catastrophe.
Rosita’s treetop birth helped cast the spotlight on an impoverished country and became a rallying point for securing millions of dollars in international aid.
This was one of the worst birth stories ever. But it was also one of the best. In this flood, Carolina lost her house, her belongings and her grandmother (who didn’t survive the flood), but she views the experience as a miracle and a blessing. She lost her dwelling, but she did not lose her dignity. She lost her possessions, but she did not lose her ability to prosper. She lost her “things”, but she found her purpose.
I love the saying, Why is the grass greener on the side?
Because there’s a pile of crap over there!
No beautiful, lush, green grass grows without A LOT of stinky manure.
To believe otherwise is to believe in delusion.
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