Thursday, April 30, 2009

...something that sounds like a lullaby.

As I was laying on my yoga mat during the relaxation of my prenatal yoga class last Thursday evening my mind was racing. Hardly the point of that relaxation time, I know... I have been working in birth for over 6 years now and I really thought I understood what parents wanted. My work has lead me down a path I had not anticipated would become such a rich part of my life. I see birth as a rite of passage, a transformational journey to the depths of our souls in order to find out who we really are (or aren't). A shedding of one's maiden self in order to take up service as a mother. I know that what women need to prepare for this is not a class describing the stages of labour or a show and tell of all the potential medical equipment one might see in the labour and delivery room. I have discovered that what they truly hunger for is someone to bare witness to them as they discover for themselves what their path will be, from where they have come and to hold space for them as they realize that where they are headed is vastly unknown and uncharted territory. It is a path that involves moments of fear, panic and holy terror along with the more recognized and freely spoken about excitement, joy and anticipation.

5 years ago I read a book by Michel Odent (and later heard him speak in person). He spoke about the needs of a woman in her preparation for birth and it all seemed a bit too simple. In fact he distills a lot of things down to the lowest common denominator. He is a fascinating man. But after reading his books and hearing him speak I couldn't believe that there wasn't more to his belief that all women needed for prenatal preparation was to sing lullabies. Once a week an older woman in the community where he worked in France would play lullabies on the piano and all the pregnant women would gather to sing. They did not take "classes". This was all they did...

Surely they hungered for more than that. How would they know what to do? How would they be able to make decisions about their care? I was already a doula that believed that parents did not have to be obstetrical experts to have a baby but I couldn't let go of our Western thirst for more, more, more information. The last five years have changed my mind about this on so many levels. I have mentored and supported many parents and they all say the same thing. They love lullabies... or painting, or dancing, or storytelling. Intellectually I had new understanding for this lullaby theory.

Last Thursday it sank into my soul... I was laying on that yoga mat and feeling deep in my bones that the first 30 weeks of my second pregnancy had been missing exactly this. A group of maidens gathering to fill themselves with the spirit of a community that was pulsing at the same rhythm as them. And better yet to be lead or held in the bosom of the already initiated. My yogini is special. I met her when I was 5 weeks pregnant with Meg. She was a part of every week of that pregnancy and I lived for those evenings. I had forgotten how sacred they felt. The sharing that happens in her circles is honest and even raw sometimes. Some of the women I met in her classes are still in my life, one of them is one of my dearest friends.

I am struggling to fully translate into text what has settled in my bones about all of this. I might have been able to explain it better before last week because it was stuck in my intellect. It has sifted its way through to a soul knowing where words hold no power. Maybe I could sing it for you....

1 comment:

  1. Oh Trish.... no need to sing it, I can feel it in your words....
    Man, I love you!
    xo ~ C