This week my son turned 4 years old. It seems like he has been here for a minute and at the same time that I have known him my entire life. Of course this has me thinking about my pregnancy, what I was doing when I went into labor, my labor, my labor, my labor (that’s one ‘labor’ for each day), his birth, our first night all snuggled into bed together, and those postpartum weeks. I have to say- it was glorious.
It wasn’t glorious because I ‘did everything right’. It was glorious because I was just able to be. For the first time in years, I did not have a phone call, email, or page to return. No one needed me or wanted anything from me except him. What made those whole eight weeks I was home with him even better was the feeling of being held.
Imagine being a little newborn baby and being cradled tightly and warmly. Imagine being a postpartum mom and being cared for tightly and warmly. Would that make a big difference in how you saw those days and weeks at the time, and how you look back on them now? I am a midwife and I witness everyday how midwifery care holds women and families. I experienced being held by my midwife, partner, family and friends. I can still feel the feelings of warmth, safety, and weightlessness I had then even if the memories are already starting to become fuzzy.
Every family deserves a midwife. It’s not about having the perfect birth (whatever that means), being a medication-free warrior, or running wild in the country side with scissors. It’s about being caught by strong, capable hands when you are dropped into parenthood with a new, fragile life without any guidance other than ‘don’t do (fill in the blank) or your baby will die’. Your baby’s birth is your rebirth. You are fresh, newborn parents. Our society and health care system shouldn’t drop you.
Needless to say, I have some thoughts that all families can use to create their virtual midwife if it does not work out to have a real-life midwife. I think of it as an alternative to the three-page birth registry of ‘must have’ items. Stay tuned for those thoughts…
In the meantime, hold and be held. Bask in it. And happy birthday…Dr. S
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