Winding Down

So we are heading towards the end of my first year as a midwifery student. My last day of classes was last week, the last day of finals is next week. I had the honor to attend two births this week, my very first as a midwifery apprentice. I feel humbled and in awe, as is appropriate. I have also learned a TON over these past two weeks. It confirmed for me that this is absolutely the profession I want to make my life’s work. And just the chance to observe the two midwives I am working with taught me so much about how to midwife a birth. Not to mention it makes everything we are learning in class so much more real when you are actually doing it, hands on. I got to do things like be the supreme gofer, play with children, listen to fetal heart tones, and provide encouragement and kind words. I feel humbled and honored and blessed, emotions I expect to become very familiar with over the next couple of years. And I feel re-energized and fired up to keep learning. Now I just have to get through exams!

What is Labor?

Labor is much more than the physical process by which women give birth and by which babies are born, awesome as those experiences are in and of themselves. Labor is also the transformational opening of a woman’s entire being. Women who give birth unhindered are open to the elemental forces of nature that bring the baby forth. Heart, mind, spirit, emotions and sexual self, as well as the woman’s physical body, open to allow another life to begin an independent existence on this planet. Thus, labor is a spiritual experience of enormous importance to both the woman and her baby. While women experience various life-changing events during pregnancy. the experience of giving birth is so significant that most women in old age continue to remember their birth experiences as though they happened yesterday. This makes the totality of the birth experience one of the most pivotal in a woman’s life.

Barbara Katz Rothman as quoted in Anne Frye’s Holistic Midwifery.