What does that word mean to you? Today the word transformation reminds me of my birth. Do you have a minute? Curl up in the foetal position with me. Yes travel backwards with me, way back, back, back…back to when I was floating in warm water, muffled voices and muffled light all around me…My reality is love and peace…I know those words only from what my heart tells me. My ticking, beating, singing heart! It speaks the truth. Swoosh swoosh, swoosh swoosh, love peace, love peace… my existence came only out of pure love and peace. Oh there were hard days back then, growing limbs, hair follicles, etc., but I enjoyed it like play. Fascination was a big word for me but I knew it intimately. Even making the physical transitions to breathing with my lungs instead of my umbilical cord and nourishing myself by suckling on my mother’s breast was doable, the physical work was natural. It was the emotional work that took its toll. I was not listened to or respected for my human form. It has taken years of relearning to trust myself, trust in love and trust the God that designed and invented love and trust… and all these words that I am writing here – every single word here I love and trust. Now I have peace.
The respect and gentle kindness that we show babies is important! It is understated. It is vital. I cannot find the perfect word. Well in one sense, the word I am looking for is vital to the completion of this essay and the message that I am trying to communicate. But ‘vital’ still seems too weak a word. The respect and gentle kindness that we show to babies, before they are born, during their birth time, and after they are earth side, is relative to the health of the planet. The harm we, either unknowingly or knowingly, inflict on babies during this early transformation, their birth, can cause more harm than we imagine. Volumes of medical text would go away if we valued our bodies and our babies more. I do not mean we should throw more money at it or overindulge ourselves, becoming narcissist or fearful about birth. I mean to honor birth, its power, its pain, its time, its vessel. In my old crone years, this much I know. I like what Suzanne Arms poem says, “If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation ~ or love and trust”.
The way we are born has creation power of its own, not unlike the miracle of conception. It is not just a physical event. It is more. It is a spiritual event. Birth should not become something of an unpleasant experience like the “generation gap” has become. Oh yes, we celebrate our children’s 16th birthday with a drivers license and their 18th with voter privileges, just like we celebrate baby’s with baby showers and cute things. Celebrate these life transitions with time. Love takes time. There, my words found the way to the truth, it was simple, and birth is simple, unless you do not have time. Hurried love? Who really feels loved when it’s hurried? Simply take time with yourself. Take time with your baby in utero. And take the time your baby needs during labor and in your early postpartum days. These are transformation tips from my heart.
I birthed three babies. I didn’t do it with a doula or any of the knowledge that has come to me since then (attending 250 plus births as a doula). I did my best when I gave birth. I learned along the way and I walked my path. I birthed my first baby in wonder, my second baby euphorically and my third baby at home (almost heaven), instead of a hospital. Each time I was transformed. With time I realized that this was my moment in time. My time to heal. During these birthing times, unlike my own birth, I was the protector of the unnamed, the unborn. I was able to choose to listen to and respect myself and my baby. I selected people that did the same. I was transformed.
If you are still in your birthing years please consider what some loving folks shared with me thirty plus years ago when I opened my heart to heal myself through the birthing of my babies. In 1976 I read Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deception, Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, and Childbirth without fear by Grantly Dick-Read. Today’s guiding lights are named differently, but are still many. Ina May Gaskin’s message is still the same today but her book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, is in today’s language, it is current and it is very good. Can you imagine having a baby and not having a cell phone, television or microwave? Back in 1979-84 I didn’t even have one ultrasound! Birth hasn’t changed. Birth is just the same today. Advancement in technology has not changed the tides, the sunrise, the sunset or the birth process. Technology has not improved the infant mortality rate in our country (The US is ranked 46 in the world). Sorting through the information age, finding the information that will assist you in your transformation into motherhood and finding a community that will provide a loving and gentle transition for your baby is your truest challenge today. How will I do it you ask yourself? The same way I did…we do the best we can.
I believe the world was formed by my Father God. I believe My Father God has lead me along my path. His lovingkindness has been the true source of my healing. He has called me to be with women during birth and He has used birth to show me more about Himself and His truely loving nature. He is an awesome God. If you don’t yet know this, you can. Ask him for guidance and He will lead you into exciting transformation!
For you oh God created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
As a birth doula I do the best I can. I continue to be transformed by every birth I attend. This year, in the late summer, I will become a new born grandmother. I know that my grandbaby is swimming a perfect swim stroke today. His swim stroke is going swoosh-swoosh, swoosh-swoosh, love-peace, love-peace.
– Rosie, woman, mother and doula…but first I was a baby girl.
(Musing that I wrote and filed away in the Spring of 2010)