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.