Today is the Autumn Equinox, otherwise known as Mabon, otherwise known as the 2nd harvest on the wheel of the year. The time of equal day and night before the earth tips us into the descent to winter. You wouldn't know it from where I am today. A sweltering 36 degree day and a crystal clear, rolling wave, inviting ocean. I swam in her beautiful waters today, possibly the last one until spring. The heat brewed up a wild storm of gale winds and now the rain.
After tucking my children into bed I went out into the howling and played my drum. My inside out drum, my blood drum, my witch drum. She keeps calling me to play her with my hand and not a beater. I feel the vibrations come off her face and travel down my arm through my body. There is no playing fatigue, no sore arms, just a sensation of energy moving to and fro, from drum to body and back again.
Balance between the worlds. Balance between the sleeping cherubs tucked into bed together with the dog and the kitten and creating spontaneous ritual in my back garden. Balance between the desire to continue knitting and sipping champagne with friends and the need to take two tired children home.
I am living in that space in between. The magick. The place where I sink deeper into self trust and self love.
How are you feeling balance in your life? or not?
Sometimes when I am in my brick terrace house with it's tiny garden, surrounded by city, when I am riding my bike through the city, when I am doing the school run and the pre-school run and the dance classes and birthday parties I feel like the Red Tent in the paddock becomes a dream. Did i really spend 4 days sleeping under stars, drumming a Glad of wild women shapeshifting into animals under a full moon? Do I really have that sisterhood that spreads from Tasmania to England and beyond? And on the nights of wild wind and dark moon strings I remember that yes, that is actually my life. And I give great thanks for this dark moon, showing up with the winds, blowing out the cobwebs and transforming all that no longer serves.
and brings me back to balance.
It can be tricky to doula when you are away from home very often. Babies don't really care about their doula's schedule! As my life is pretty busy lately my ability to take on mamas is difficult. I started wondering how I can keep myself in the birth world and still do all the other things I do. I thought maybe I should be a doula for women having Elective Caesarians. and immediately dismissed the idea. How would that even work for a doula? Doulas are all about natural birth right? isn't that why women hire doulas? to have wonderful, amazing, empowered births? But shouldn't all births be wonderful, amazing and empowered regardless of how the baby comes?
The very first birth I supported was a homebirth. I was a new doula-in-training and I was lucky enough to be chosen by a beautiful woman to support her second birth. To say this was an amazing birth imprint as a new doula is an understatement. That birth showed me that women birth in their own time, space and energy and to witness such an unhindered woman in her full power is a privilege.
but sometimes the privilege is to witness an entirely different sort of birth.
Soon after I supported a woman who chose to birth in a private hospital. After a long day and night of labour, this wee babe and his mama were taken in for a c-section. I will never forget the moment that the Obstetrician turned to me and said "are you coming in?". In public hospitals, it's pretty unheard of for anyone other than the partner and (hopefully) the midwife to attend a woman going into theatre. In public hospitals its just so damn full in there there isn't really room to accommodate other people. But private hospitals are totally different. I had a split second to make a decision and of course I was going in. I hadn't left this woman's side for over 20 hours, I wasn't leaving now.
It was all of our first time in an operating theatre. I sat next to the mama while her partner took photos and watched his son be born. I clearly remember every moment of the surgery. Every moment of breathing with her. Every moment of stroking her forehead as I looked into her eyes. Every moment of holding her gently as she waited for the first cry, the first breath of her beloved child.
I remember going home and crying for hours from the tiredness and the emotional upheaval. A surgery was not the birth she wanted, but it was the birth she and her baby had.
It has been many years since that experience and I have learned so much in that time. I am so utterly grateful for being able to hold that family in their initiation to parenthood. and I am so grateful to that doctor who allowed me the privilege of holding a woman through such a transition.
Caesarean births are a rite of passage to motherhood as much as any other birth. A baby born, a mother made. For some, it comes because of a shift during labour. because of interventions, because of medical issues, because of many, many reasons. And for some it needs to be the way from the outset, because they want to, because they need to, because sometimes thats just how it is.
As I travel deeper into my work as a Shamanic Midwife, I feel all of my old judgements and knowings fall away. As if I have any idea about what a baby and mama have chosen for their soul journey of birth. As if I can say what is right or best or ideal or optimum. All I can do i support what is unfolding right now and trust. Just Trust.
And in this space of love and trust I put it out to the universe that I am open to this new possibility in supporting women in their transitions. And I gratefully receive the women who feel called to be shamanically midwifed through their rite of passage no matter how they bring their babies earth side.