These Humble Hands – Catching A Baby For The First Time

I was born for this charge of remembering how to midwife souls from womb side to earthside. I believe this fact of my life with every fiber of my being. I doubted it before but never again will I think I was not meant to be where I am now. The midwifery program I am currently studying in is all about learning on your feet and with your hands. I have always known that I learn best by experience. A week or so ago my cohort moved into the 2nd phase of our journey: going from shadowing midwife interns to being primary midwives under the supervision of licensed midwives.

I was the last of my cohort to catch. In the wee hours of this morning, I had the honor of catching, quite literally, the first of many small, resilient and vibrant beings on this journey. There was no time to think, only do. I leaped from my seat, bolted to the woman and was there to receive a baby who came into the world with such force and velocity. My hands were guided and supported by the gentle voice of the licensed midwife with me.

Indulge me for a moment while I switch over to my urban vernacular. It was dope and cool as hell to do that, b. Holy cow homies! That ish was crazy!

It is incredible, really. The energy changes in the room. Suddenly there is a new human being in the room, and there I was, one of the first to touch their body and spirit. I did it by instinct. I felt my ancestors come through me as I both participated and watched my hands maneuver and do what they were meant to do. I knew at that moment that this is exactly what I was meant to do: to witness in awe and humility the transformation of a woman becoming a mother, whether it be for the first time or the umpteenth time. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. It is as though the Universe was waiting for the most perfect birth for me to attend.

I am so humbled. So elated. So honored and blessed that I was there to help this woman and family. I am grateful. I am beside myself. I am proud of myself for getting this far. The journey has certainly been wrought with challenges and steep learning curves but all of it has been well worth it. I was thinking this morning as I drove home from the clinic how birth triggers so much in us. Many of us experience emotions, be it negative, positive or ambivalent, when confronted with birth and death. I understood in that moment this morning, holding a baby wet with amniotic fluid in my hands, that my own journey to heal myself and make peace with my birth, death and rebirth, was necessary so I could be fully present and channel wisdom into my hands.

My greatest teachers are the women who allow me to assist them in birthing their children. They hold all the lessons and knowledge in their bodies. To be a witness has profoundly changed my life and I will never be the same again. Bless these hands. May they be golden and strong enough to support this miraculous occurrence.

Birthing Herself: Women, Midwives and Empowerment

My latest assignment and multimedia piece is now available. Check out the link:

Birthing Herself: Women, Midwives and Empowerment

 

*This multimedia story is part of an assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous digital empowerment and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.*

Birthing An Ancient Evolution

I’ve been at midwifery school here in El Paso, TX for a little over a month now. I’ve changed in ways I can’t completely articulate from being amongst sister midwives training with me and the midwives serving as mentors. The evolution is quiet. It is a creeping sunrise that breathes light gently; you must be attentive to watch the subtle changes that seem mundane but are quite extraordinary. I am grateful to be in a woman’s body with a subtle yet powerful force of birth propelling me forward. What I love is that this force is available to all beings occupying female bodies and that the world is profoundly changed because of our earthen vessels.

I want to leave this world better than I found it when I landed on the planet 28 years ago. I promised my future children and all the children I will have the honor of greeting within their first few breathes earthside that I would find a way to change the world. This simple promise has changed me much more deeply than I could have ever imagined when I thought of this in high school. I have developed a deeper understanding of my responsibility to heal for my own well-being and self-actualization so that I can dedicate the best of myself to serve in the liberation of the human spirit. My journey to becoming proud of my cultural roots widened my need to break cycles of generational trauma so that I could pass on a healthier legacy to those who come after me.

I returned to my body after years of desperately wanting to leave it. I found an oasis of knowledge that has been obscured to women and the world for more centuries than I care to count. The pain and wounds that had not been tended to came up for attention and I took the plunge into my womb, the center of my life force, second only to my heart. I began to notice the subtle energies and cycles that worked within when I relaxed and finally began to chip away at the layers of shame and complete disconnect that kept me out of my body. Knowledge of my reproductive system and reclaiming the sanctity of my menstruation opened up the world of wholeness. Of a deep knowing that there was never anything wrong with me because I blossomed slower and at my own pace. So I began to pay attention to my spirit and how it move through me with hormones ebbing and flowing. I opened myself to the moon and my body’s wisdom, learning how to listen to the anxious stomach aches that use to debilitate me; all along they were an boundary alarm system that needed to be reprogrammed. My maturing woman body has been birthing with intentionality and awareness. This is a force beyond me. It is ancient and intrinsic in all flora and fauna of the earth.

I’ve seen 5 births as a doula and 3 births shadowing midwife interns here. It wasn’t until I got to see birth from a midwife’s perspective that I began to realize the layers of transformation in all birthing women, regardless of their level of self-awareness or personal politic. There is a rather silent evolution growing and developing inside them that even they cannot fully grasp. The creation of a new life and the ramifications of choosing to follow through on such a responsibility is huge. It is a humbling thing, to birth and witness birth. It takes away so much of the unnecessary things that give way to a new maturity. This is by no means a generalization nor an attempt to romanticize birth and motherhood; it is just the observation of how basic the change is. It is the simple way in which a woman who never knew the force of her body bears down and gives light to a new human being. It is her coping and accepting that this pain is part of the process (when not birthing under the influence of heavy medication).  It is watching many women previously virgin to her body stretching, shifting, growing and opening succumb to its power and wisdom. This ancient knowledge makes her body move instinctually. It makes her ask for what she needs. It commands the sounds that come from her, regardless if she releases them or not. It is not taught; it is encouraged by wise women and loved ones who still remember how much the body knows.

Aside from my mission to liberate myself and the collective, it is more important to recognize the gravity of evolution possible by tapping into the power of birth. It is easy for me to be heady and severe with my personal politic. I have instead directed that energy into meeting myself and others where we are most passionate – our bodies and being in them. Birth permeates everything and everyone. I have seen stoic men break down into tears watching their partners cope with the contractions and become overwhelmed with the moment of birth. I have witnessed mother, sisters, and in-laws have reactions that even they don’t understand. With an understanding of how crucial birth is to the very survival of families and the human race at large, the knowledge we have forgotten and the disrespect as a result of that suppressed story is vital. Women are portals. To think of ourselves as anything less is a fallacy and tragedy. As I continue to evolve in my body and gain an incredible amount of skills as a midwife, I hope to help facilitate a deeper knowledge of the body and its ancient wisdom for women around me.