I am a midwife. I believe that birth is important.
When I was a small child, my mother told me the intense,intimate story of my being born. “You just slipped out of me, wriggling and blue; I saw and felt you entering the world.” I knew how important the story was for both of us and I didn’t forget. When my first son, Amos, made the journey through my body and into the world, I felt birth’s meaning and importance again: “My baby! My baby! My baby!” I hollered.
Being born is about love. As I am privileged to be present as two people who love one another intimately connect during labor and birth, the intensity of their bond makes me stand back. Their baby slips into the world, into a circle of parental love and support. I breathe with a woman as she labors and births, and support her as she finds her rhythm. She enters an instinctual zone in which her body, her baby, and the birth process, are perfectly in tune.
Some births feel like the chaos of a volcano, others like a tide’s gentle progress up a smooth beach. Each woman, each baby, each birth, uniquely unfolds.
I believe that learning to respect each other begins with the sacred process of birth. Teaching children to respect each other begins with birth. It is the template for all relationships, with each other and with the natural world. I belive that how we respect our babies and how we respect the process of birth has implications for how our society functions. Birthing with respect helps us to live with respect, and ultimately in peace. Sadly, too many births happen not only without a respectful, loving environment, but even in violence. This reflects our violent world, disconnected by technology from its natural beginnings.
Two days ago I was again invited into a home to attend a birth. I sat on the floor in the bedroom and watched my client move and moan as the birth rose to a crescendo. She moved onto her hands and knees on the floor beside the bed where the baby was conceived. In a few magnificent breaths she eased her beautiful daughter into waiting hands and scooped her into her own arms as she took her first breath. As she settled with her new daughter into her own bed with a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of juice, her dog came in to sniff and welcome the new family member and then sat down to guard her from the closet. Shortly afterwards I left and headed home to my own family, reinforced again in my belief in the sacred, ordinary, natural power of birth.
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