The other day, my friend Tad Hargrave, offered me a wonderful book called The Tao of Leadership. I love the Tao as a spiritual practice and meditation, each word seems to send me into an altered state. The Tao offers spiritual perspective for birth and midwifery. In this book, there is a page called “Being a Midwife” and I would like to share this writing with all of you since it speaks deeply about the soul of midwifery!
Being a Midwife
“The wise leader does not intervene unnecessarily. The leader’s presence is felt, but often the group runs itself. Lesser leaders do a lot, say a lot, have followers, and form cults. Even worse ones use fear to energize the group force to overcome resistance. Only the most dreadful leaders have bad reputations.
Remember that you are facilitating another person’s process. It is not your process. Do not intrude. Do not control. Do not force your own needs and insights into the foreground. If you do not trust a person’s process, that person will not trust you.
Imagine that you are a midwife; you are assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. facilitate what is happening rather than what you think ought to be happening. IF you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge. When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: “We did it ourselves!”
Oh, so wonderful it is to listen to these words. They speak about Truth. Lets look at this statement for a moment “if you do not trust a person’s process, that person will not trust you!” Now, sitting in deep contemplation about this truth, I realize that Midwives, are given such honor and privilege to be present during a woman’s vision quest. What are you, as Midwife, bringing to the birth? Fear? Doubt? Disrespect? Protocol? Lack of trust? Skills? Tools? Responsibility?
Yes, these may sound negative, but it is these deep emotions or motivations that distract the Midwife from fully engaging and trusting a woman’s process. Therefore, when a Midwife lacks deep internal knowing and trust in the birthing woman’s ability to find her way and birth her child, she in return, loses faith in you, the Midwife, and therefore, trust in her self.
I believe that the absolute essence a Midwife brings to a birth is that profound respect and Trust not just in birth, but in each individual Woman. A belief, that the mother is capable, autonomous, and the only authority of her baby, body and birth! As Midwife, you witness and hold that space in Trust, as each Woman finds her way and embodies trust in herself!
As I speak this I reflect on a recent birth I attended in which I was given an opportunity to embody this Truth. At one point I sat in contemplation about what it really means to trust birth? And, as time stood still (a usual occurence during labor and birth) a knowing penetrated my being and it was said that this is not about trusting birth, witnessing women give birth is about trusting Women!
With that, everything shifted. responsibilities were lifted. Any thoughts about “needing to do anything”, gone. And a new power emmerged in the room as A Mother, after a long labor, found her power and her way and brought forth life. I was gifted with this new insight and a deep understanding about what it really means to trust women in labor. And I knew that the roll of the Witness, is to sit as a solid presence in the birthing space, holding trust and total love, as a woman unravels entirely, dissolves, and expands and in the end, finds her power to birth!
And so it is…