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  • willowrivermidwife

holding space in the greater world

Oh dear family, you, your labor, birth and babes are cherished by so many, unknown to you, who have journeyed along side, holding space in the greater world for you.

Can you imagine the incredible resources, energy and love that can manifest from twenty some birth-keepers, in 8 states and 3 continents, can manifest when they set there brilliants minds and hearts to a eminent need?

Yesterday, I was enjoying a sweet, simple joyful morning and feeling gratitude for so much in my life when I receive a call that aligned an unanticipated shift in plans for the next day or more. The call was the second link, in all the links mentioned above, and had begun, for me, months earlier.

A family who lived many hours from where I live contacted me, many months ago; they were growing their family by two in this pregnancy. Always an honor and joy to be invited to share this journey with someone. Looking at my calendar and the commitments I had already made to many families regionally, and knowing that a member in my own family was on the path of their final journey, I knew that I could not offer this family what they deserved and needed during this special time. This family’s commitment to welcome theses sweet babes in peace and love continued on. They found a traveling midwife who would bring her decades of wisdom to serve them.

Labor and birth hold a beautiful wildness within and often helps us learn to relinquish predictability and control in our lives. So it was for all the best-made plans for this birth. This mama awoke in the wee hours of the morning, to gentle trickles of waters releasing from one of her babes, they were 36 weeks that day.

The original plan, between traveling midwife and family, that was created months ago, was for the traveling midwife to go ‘on-call’ for her once she reached 36 weeks, then soon after travel to them and stay with the family through labor, birth and early postpartum. Another story was unfolding, several time zones away, as a family was in the process of their very own special birth, at the very same time, and the traveling midwife was actively attending them at this moment.

This is where all of the above linking begins to connect, weave and strengthen the whole traditional birth culture to manifest what this family knows is there ‘right’ for their babies, their family, their community and for the ‘just’ integrity of birth everywhere.

The traveling midwife connects this family to another sage midwife, who began to set her mind and amazing networking skills, to phenomenal use. After her call to me, we both began to reach out to midwives in many numerous states and continents. Together we gather resources and quest to find coverage for all the families I was serving, who could birth very soon, and other midwives who could come along to this special birth. Each birth-keeper contacted, who could not come, was willing to call other birth-keepers and/or to help us create this circle of love and support. Each birth-keeper gifted us with their pieces of wisdom to carry along and sent their love, belief and support to this family and those who would attend them.

Enroute to this family, still navigating finding that special birth-keeper who’s life and capacity held a, “yes, I will come”, I began to open my heart and thoughts to all the ancient midwives who had gone before and had passed down there lessons, gentleness, generosity and fierce capacity to hole birth sacred. In this moment, I thought of my dear friend Jane, who I love and have known for years and is a fierce and strong ally for holding traditional midwifery’s place in our culture. Whose distance from each other has and our mutual fullness of serving many families in our own communities has kept us from sitting at a birth together. I paused and pushed through that moment and called anyway. There it was, the perfect answer to all the questing, she, without pause or hesitation said “yes and I can leave in just a few minutes”. Dear sister, do you know how special you are? I will never be able to convey in words what that moment in time meant to me personally and to our larger, collective birth culture.

Oh dear family, you, your labor, birth and babes are cherished by so many, unknown to you, who have journeyed along side, holding space in the greater world for you.

As we talk on the phone, this incredible mama, who has come know herself, her body and her babies in a way that is so deep and primal, shared her wisdom and what she had been manifesting while the world of birth-keepers was working. She knew that once she decided to release, her body would begin the work of actively bringing these babies earth side. She had decided to rest and keep the babies within, until her newly created plans were in place. She talked with her babies and body and collectively they waited, with a steady gentle pattern. Once we all arrived we embraced this beautiful family. Settling on to the bed with her, she named her beautiful, simple, request for their collective journey: to be held in love; belief in her ability to do this work and to hold peaceful energy for her as she went within to bring her babies. Hearts melting for this sage mama. Yes, yes, yes to all of this.

Feeling ready to release, soon her body was actively working. We held space in other parts of the home, as she instinctively followed her longing for darkness and the primal intimate privacy to be with her partner. We cozies ourselves away in other spots, sharing stories, deep to the heart and so many others that had us belly laughing. This laboring mama loved the soothing sounds of women filling her home with laughter.

In the timeless place of birth, we soon found ourselves helping her navigate the stairs and slip into the large birth tub that her beloved had lovingly, hand bucket filled, when the hose adaptor they had bought failed, (all this before we arrived). The room was now filled with this mama’s power and her birth songs; we quietly honored and held a new space for this work.

First baby entered, sweet bottom first, into the water, navigating her own way here as we watched, ready to help if she asked. Brought to mama’s arms and offered a few breaths-of-life, from mama and Jane, (bottom first water babies sometimes come a bit slower into there bodies) baby was soon vibrant and gazing at her mom and dad. Shortly after, baby’s sibling longed for their missing twin and rapidly shot into the water, still in the caul, and brought their fused placenta along with them (so very efficient and helpful of baby) . Together again they were, nestled with mom, dad, a new big sibling and each other.

Yes, our hearts wept with joy at what was so raw, simple, beautifully designed and pure. This is deep, sacred, physiological birth.

Do you know that in addition to this family wanting this birth for themselves, they were also committed to manifesting physiological birth for our culture. They wanted others, in our world, to know that this is possible, even with very special births. So much love, respect and gratitude for this family who are culture shapers.

On the long journey home my heart reflected on what we had shared together: the honored and sacred joy of serving this truly special family who committed to doing what they can to change our birth culture; joy in the gift of sharing birth space with a friend of the heart and trusted birth keeper; the awe and amazement of the collective abilities and generosity of our traditional birth keepers and for the gift of this life and the interweaving with my own community and loved ones.

I also want to express my deep gratitude for Sara, apprentice extraordinaire, who in the first few months of her apprenticeship has stepped forward to support two sets of twins and three babies’ who chose to enter the world breech, all this in addition to serving the families who reach out to us. Such innate abilities and strengths are already blossoming, thank-you for letting me witness.

In the wee hours of the morning we arrive home and slip into our own cozy nests, having navigated: innumerable deer, who I know now love to throw a region wide, “spring is finally here”, party at 2:00-3:30 am; a patrol officer, who I am sure thought he was greeting under-the- influence commuters, (sorry, only tired, deer dodging, erratic appearing driving midwives, on there way home). Rest for us all.

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