My dear friend Whapio, often quotes:
“Midwifery is the study of life and as we live we midwife, and as we midwife, we live”!
A powerful statement to ponder indeed, and these past 5 years have been dedicated to contemplating these words. It seems each year they penetrate more deeply. To study birth is the study of life, in other words, as you stand witness to the powerful transformative process of birth you gain a deeper understanding of our Universe and us, as humans. Often times when I am going through challenging experiences in my life, Whapio has said to me,
“At what stage of labor are you in? And, how are you going to embark upon this journey? And, what choices are you going to make? Are you afraid of birth? So why be afraid of life? And what exactly are you birthing?”
This metaphor has been so incredibly helpful for me throughout my life as a mother, woman, friend, lover etc. However, it a recent trans-formative experience (and am still being penetrated by the depths of it) where I was able to embody the Truth in these words. I would love to share parts of this journey with you.
Labor as a metaphor for life...another way to handle internal conflict, and the story unfolds as such:
In the beginning, when you just know you have been presented with something so powerful and deep that a huge transformation is about to occur but you are unsure how you are going to make it through… you experience the pull and the force of labor, the aches in your mind and heart begin to pull with more regularity that you are aware of the fact that you cannot turn this off anymore… this is the process of embarkation, and the journey is about to begin and you consciously step into it, into the unknown of how this birth is going to unfold. This is exactly what I recently did with a huge presenting situation that pulled on my heart-strings and soul, so deeply, that there was no ignoring the power of this force.
As you begin, as with any labor, you may feel moments of panic, fear, distrust, concern, anxiety, excitement, need to chat and share, tears, anger, sadness, joy, but there is an uneasiness that stirs within and the pulling and aching begins to pull harder… the contractions become stronger, the rushes of waves run through you with greater force and you just can’t turn the pulse off.
You move from the world as you know it into a world of altered states, a world of total possibility, a world where birth occurs! You CHOOSE to take this plunge and continue to go forth, following your labor, following your heart in deep desire for the birth to occur. You are willing to undergo anything, at times, to get to the other side of this and be transformed and receive your birth/baby. I noticed the same urge, the same force and pull, and it was frightening! The pain was deep, I wasn’t sure if I had the courage to go forth with this labor… but something just kept encouraging me to go along and face the labor in total trust. And, this is when I “entered the veils” .
At this point, a woman in labor could stay there for many days or hours, there is a comfort in the rhythm and for some, the intensity is just enough to handle and the thought of more to come may seem too overwhelming… and yet, most still choose to go forth deeper into this world of unknown, allowing whatever emerges to surface.
Hopefully, facing it in love and surrender. Again this is a choice to go deeper and step “between the worlds”, and it feels as if there is no turning back. Labor is going, you are 5cm or beyond. There is a constant wave of contractions, a reminder that you are on a journey of birth – “stay FOCUSED, don’t get distracted by your thoughts, your fears, your emotions, STAY WITH THE LABOR AND WITNESS WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. You know you are doing well here, but you also know that you are going to have to face birth, you will need your heart and strength to bring forth new life… you must keep moving forward.”, says a voice. And so, again, I hit a point of no return, my labor was progressing and so was the intensity! And because of my deep love for wanting to be born anew, I kept trusting and finding my courage to go forth.
WHOA! Too intense, TOO MUCH, NO MORE please, I can’t go on anymore-these are all words that women have expressed during transition. A time when you, as women, are open the widest you can possibly be. You are vulnerable, you are so outside of your comfort zone that you want to jump out of your skin, you breakdown (a small death), you want out and at the same time, all you really need is a loving presence within and outside of you that can uphold you during this time of total chaos. I wanted out, I was too far gone in my labor of life, I had shared too much, exposed too much, too vulnerable, too frightened, little courage to continue forth and I was loosing my center, no one could do this for me and all I had was an inner trust to keep going. I knew at that moment that I was in transition, something HUGE was about to be born, I was about to undergo a huge transformation and all was still in the unknown… All there was, was a trust in my ability to give birth to the Self. And this, was so important to me that I found all of my courage to face one of my deepest fears and speak my truth.
There was a moment of pause before this occurred, a mini quiescence of grace and prayer to gather my center and find my voice. I knew the moment to come was going to change my life forever, therefore, I needed to conjure all of my strength and trust that I was going to find my way through this mess.
The speaking of my fear, the sharing that needed to occur was not the birth, however it was the “bringing down of my baby” it was the push! The transition, was the summoning of my courage, the no turning back. I wanted an INTERVENTION badly. I actually thought I was going insane, for a moment. However, once the emergence began (the downward pushing, grounding force of birth) that power held me together and kept me focus. I just stood back and witnessed myself being birthed, I witnessed it all in disbelief and most of all, that I was still alive!
Now, the pushing took a bit longer than my usual physical births, there were more people involved than just me, so actually, there were moments of standing still, waiting, witnessing what was trying to emerge but still unsure how this was going to look and what part of me was being born through this process. The push was painful indeed (not that it has to be) but this is where I would get a bit “stuck” and slow down the process because the intensity was too much to bare. However, I was so eager to get through the labor, knowing full well that the end was near!
Crowning is usually short and full of ecstasy and a force so strong that you sometimes need to be grounded, you are so close! During my crowning, I had done what needed to be done, I faced all that I was afraid of, I faced rejection, liberation, love, fear, pain in myself and others, old patterns, old beliefs, and most of all, I faced my self that had been bound so tightly for years I faced that pain… so close, a few more rushes of loving life force to bring forth this new being.
And in the final release, as the baby slides through you, of you, and out of you… you feel the amazing euphoria and you are filled with gratitude, love, and joy! You did it, you found your way, you are forever changed. Every cell in my body has undergone a transformation, I am alive on levels that I have never felt! I have unbound my life force that has been tied so tightly for years. I have emerged and have gained a deeper understanding of myself, life, and human potential and I feel that courage and a deep knowing and trust that all of us our capable of finding our way, and it was this wisdom, the only force that kept me going!
I am now in the postpartum, my body aches, my euphoria is slowly wearing off, my hormones and cells are trying to find equilibrium again, my heart is so wide open in love and bliss, I am trying to make sense of what just occurred, I am in a state of needing deep nurturing, and I am needing my story to be witnessed and I am getting so excited to share my transformed Self with my community! As a mother would want to share her new baby!
I am in such deep gratitude and love for those who held this space for me, who witnessed this journey from a place of love, who honored my needs, who made choices from a higher place rather than from fear and ego, for those who wouldn’t feed my drama and knew how to give loving advice and encouragement, I was deeply Midwifed by friends and loved ones, and NO ONE told me how to birth, how this should unfold, and most importantly, I believe that all of those who were involved on some level deeply trusted this process and handed the power back to Me! Thank you.
And so, as we live we Midwife and as we Midwife, we live … Birth is the study of life and Life is the study of TRANSFORMATION … this kind of shit is what changes the planet!
And so it is…