Saturday, September 29, 2012
Preparing for Woman's Sacred Journey
Maybe because it's my third birth, but as the time comes to do it again, I've been a bit more relaxed when it comes to preparing for our new arrival. With my first, I remember being prepared with several purchases long ahead of time. Toys, clothes, diapers, and so on were waiting long before baby came. This time...it's a little different. My due date is a week away and yesterday I thought to myself that we don't have any baby shampoo. Then I thought, "No hurry. If we need to go to the store after she arrives to get some, we can. Maybe we'll get some from the hospital."
In addition to getting some of the practical supplies we'll need, like some more cloth diapers, some more baby clothes, and arranging for placenta encapsulation, or preparations to increase the likelihood of an easier delivery, like getting regular chiropractic adjustments and doing certain daily stretches, here are the preparations that have received most of my attention.
I've given great attention to making sure I have the right support during my sacred journey. Feeling safe, nurtured, honored, and protected are some of the most important things to a person who is suffering, and it is no different for a woman in labor. Any apprehension, fear, or unfamiliar surroundings and unfamiliar people can lengthen or even stop labor completely. Therefore, I've taken time to find the right provider and make sure that my midwife will support and honor my needs and decisions during and after labor. I'm more aware of the spiritual journey of labor, of its challenges, of the inner strength I need to draw upon and develop during the process, and how each time I experience birth, I emerge changed. Each time the world is changed too. It contains a person who has never existed in all eternity and will never contain another person exactly like this new child ever again. She'll change and affect others and be affected and changed by them.
My friend Jeannie Hannemann will be attending the birth. We have great chemistry, and she has this wonderful gift of taking mundane events and seeing the profound spiritual significance in them. She is a wonderfully nurturing and supporting presence in my life, so to have her present during something that is intense and epic...well, I figure I can't go wrong. She is also a trained doula so she has some great knowledge and will come prepared with her expertise and essential oils. Most exciting to me, is that she will come with the Eucharist, to give this gift to me at the moment I want. I expect that I will want Jesus' physical presence with me when I am in transition, the most painful and emotionally and mentally challenging part of labor.
Another great friend, who has been a great support during trials, is flying out to visit me this week. If the baby arrives during her stay, and I pray she does, Jennie will be there to support me as well. Having a couple of women who are dear, close friends and who share my religious values will help me feel nurtured and safe. I am working on composing a litany to every saint who has given birth that I can find. If it is appropriate or if I desire it (and if I finish it on time), I want the women to pray the litany out loud so I will be reminded of the vast community who has gone before me in experiencing birth, of who is surrounding me presently in prayer, and of all the women who have had the vocation of motherhood and achieved great union with God. Or if the audible prayer is distracting to me or I can't focus on it, they can pray it quietly.
Of course, my husband will also be there. He is the person I want most whenever I feel vulnerable, in pain, if I'm having any kind of emotional upset, or even if I am feeling a little under the weather. If he is by my side, then I feel more at ease. With him I feel safe; where he is, is my home.
So these are my birth preparations. Do you have any special thing that you have or do or would like to have or do as you give birth?