I had a busy call this Monday, helping and supporting 5 women birthing their babies. As busy as I was, I had time to sit with my mothers, to be in their space, and observe the quiet. Sometimes the most meditative moments I have in a week come when I sit with a mother in the throes of labor. Women rock, they moan, they breathe, and then…there is quiet. The space between contractions when women gather their strength and prepare, for the next contraction, for the next phase of their lives.
The IN-BETWEEN… the space in-between contractions, in-between being a pregnant woman and a mother, in-between being a couple and parents; these are important transitions and require contemplative space.
It is incredibly important to respect this time. All too often I see visitors, care providers, support people chattering and talking in a manner that is not supportive to the laboring women. She needs the quiet to draw upon all her reserves, her incredible mama strength. She needs to know that she is the most important and only focus of everyone in the room. Only then can she use her intuition to move in a manner that allows her to birth her baby.
When I was a young midwife in training, I was told by a preceptor that when you enter a laboring woman’s room, you must leave your own issues, moods, concerns outside so that you can support her energy in a positive manner. I have found this to be true over and over. There are times when a woman is stalled in labor and I have asked a particular “support person or persons” to step out and she will spontaneously become fully dilated and birth her baby.
I love observing a woman as she proceeds with her “labor dance,” rocking and moving, looking completely inward with the quiet only broken by her own sounding, or requests for support or nourishment. I know she gathers her courage, her strength, maybe acknowledges her fear during the in-between one contraction and the next. For me, this time of stillness, of being with women in all their power gives me joy but also insight into my own intuition, my soul knowing and sometimes the strength to continue to the next laboring women and the next…