Thinky Thoughts About Life And Death.
No, not talking about mortality and morbid thoughts about my time on this planet, but the process of bringing in life, and ushering it out.
A friend of mine posted this article up on her facebook timeline. The gist of it is, “Childbirth is not a spectator sport.” and I agree.
Any major transition across the veil is a big deal, and needs to be treated as such. It is a sacred act. It is not for spectating. Those who are experiencing the transition, either directly or indirectly has full say over who should be in their sacred space with space made and held by the support persons.
That space doesn’t end at the moment of transition. It’s such a big *thing* that care is needed afterwards as well. It’s a big deal bringing a life into this world, helping another soul take the first breath on this side. Care is needed after such a huge rush of energy into this world in the form of a new mortal life. Women, at least in the USA don’t get that.
Here, over on ThinkProgress, there is a blurb about how dreadful the USA’s postpartum leave practice is. Some have a year, Canada does, I’m pretty tickled with that, some upwards to two. The USA, the woman is *lucky* to get six weeks unpaid leave after she has the baby. This doesn’t just impact breastfeeding rates, it impacts the whole of that precious time we call “The Babymoon.” Where mom and babe get to know each other, have older women help care for them and teach them the ways of motherhood. It’s now just pop baby out, and get your butt back to work, leaving the baby in daycare, which incidentally eats up 3/4 of your pay in some places.
How does this tie in with death? You know since I did mention it in my title, well let me explain:
They are both the transition of a soul across the veil. One is entering, one is leaving. Both need an intense amount of care and support, before and after, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The thing is, both birth and death have been so severely medicalized and the honest to goodness *root* of both transitions, shielded from everyone by the blue medical curtain that they instill such a morbid curiosity in people, that borders on voyeurism. Back in the days before ushering the labouring mother off to the hospital in the middle of the night and back in a few days, back before shuttling granny off to hospice, they were at home, surrounded by loved ones and spiritual leaders. Before Doctors, midwives were the support person of choice for labouring mothers. They held the space for the mother to usher in new life, and yes sometimes, the veil wasn’t crossed successfully by either mother or child.
They *crave* to see the taboo. Childbirth and Death are both viewed as taboo by our society, so both events draw their share of rubberneckers. That’s why everyone and their dog wants to see the mom give birth, hold the baby, hang out when they aren’t wanted after the birth, and websites like bestgore and theync are so popular (DO NOT GO THERE IF YOU ARE TRIGGERED SERIOUSLY TAKE THIS AS A WARNING THIS IS WHY I DID NOT LINK)
I gave birth to two children. The one I remember the most, is the birth of my son, since it was the most recent, and the one I knew what was going on, so I can actually re-document it, and go back in retrospective thought.
It was like, I was going over to the other side of *something* and receiving him over there before pushing him out of my body. My *brain* was not on this plane of existence. It was like I was far away. Gone somewhere dark. Yes it was dark. My basement was fully lit, I had my midwives, doula and husband with me. My son got stuck after his head was birthed and I guess I walked from the pool to the mattress. I don’t remember any of that. I do remember the black velvet of the veil though. Crossing over and taking his little hand, the midwife reached inside and popped him out from my pelvic bone and he slid on out without any kind of issue.
Death, I have not had a chance to bear witness to first hand yet. But I have a feeling when it’s time for me I hope I have that same space of respect held for me, that I had when I had my son.