hiding under the covers

I stopped blogging a long time ago.  It was a pretty calculated decision; did i really want my ideas,  pictures, and life out there for everyone to see and potentially critique?  I didn’t.  And I still hold reservation, but I have words that wish to tumble forth… things I’d like documented for my children, friends, and mamababy clients.  I don’t expect to be a tool of research or decision aiding, nor advice.  I would simply like to share.

I have been practicing without direct supervision as a midwife for about two years.  In that time I have been humbled by how little I, and from my observation most of us, truly know.  With each birth I learn something new and gain a fresh perspective or develop a larger appreciation and respect for birth.  The process works so well without much help from anyone.  One of the most transforming shifts through this time for me came after attending a coffee shop talk by Whapio Bartlett called, “Birth as an Altered State of Consciousness.”  I was familiar with her source material, namely DMT: The Spirit Molecule.  But she applied this information to attending births too.  It was the summation of a thousand observations– she had words and physiology that backed up my hypotheses and fluid philosophies about being a birth attendant.  When asked at an interview this week, “What is the role of the midwife in your experience? What do you view your job to be?” I found myself loosely quoting Whapio, finally able to summarize my utmost hopes for each birth I am honored to attend.

I told this inquisitive papa that we could compare birth to going on an amazing hike together.  It isn’t my job to lead the way, to direct my mama friend’s breathing as she walks, to call attention away from the beautiful scenery with my own chatty energy but rather to walk alongside with her– marveling at the powers of nature and the lovely variation we encounter along the way.  I am there if she loses her way, needs help up a steep incline, or has a physical need she cannot attend to alone.  I’ve walked similar paths and can be a helper.  But it is not my trip; I have witnessed without question that the mamababy knows her way.

I don’t possess adequate words to express the confidence I have found in mothers and their babes through pregnancy and the primal period.  Certainly it can be undermined, but from what I have seen, when trusted… really trusted… women will always accomplish what is best for that birth, that moment.  The more they are doubted, the more their intuition becomes muddled and mixed with fear.  The births I have witnessed have not been perfect– all fearless and pure and without intervention 100% of the time.  However, they have all been so  powerful that I bow before each of these women over these past years who has trusted me to watch her ‘most sacred dance.’  They have all held grace and strength beyond what most people ever have a chance to see.  I thank you, mamas, for trusting me in your space.

some moments that stand out the most to me, that fill me with love and humility to recall…

the cool whispers of “peace… peace…” during the apex of birthing waves

the cradling of my head on a mamas chest as she hugged the pressure into me during her contractions

watching a young new father hold his wife’s head on his palm as she slept through the resting breaks of transition

a babe with a wrapping paper ribbon round his cord from his rocket entry into the dads hands before anyone arrived

crying with mamas over a birth never expected; those who were healed and those who were hurt by these variations

watching babes glide into the water and be scooped up by their loving mothers or fathers

having my hands squeezed with tremendous force while hearing a labor song chanted in my ears

a darling babe who waited to breathe until I helped her, followed by the sweetest cry I’ve yet heard

blossoming bellies rolling in hula circles

touching the slight crinkle in a mamas forehead, while the rest of her body lay limp like a noodle through the heaviest of waves

hilarious and joyous words shouted at the moment of babes first sounds, cries

little eyes, looking at me curiously in the first days postpartum– asking, “are you who squeezed me inside?”

There are so many more moments that are held sacred to me now than I could begin to share here.  Each one is its own story, the path and its pace different and the scenery unique.  Thank you to every  family that has shared a journey with me.  Whether you’ve trusted me to give you information, to help your babe to nurse more easily, or to watch over your family’s birthing time with love and awe, I am grateful.  I have learned more than I imagined possible and learn with each dyad how much more I must discover.

I have been nervous many, many times… what is expected of me this time? Would I meet the family’s needs?  I have struggled with feeling unworthy of my position or concerned I will inhibit and not aid in the most normal process of birthing.  After all, I am so imperfect. I hope this serves to keep my ego in check, though; for my confidence in birth itself only grows with each woman served.   However, I do believe in my ability to help when needed but grow happier with each birth to notice how relatively minor of a character I am in the story.

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