When I was pregnant with my first baby, I wanted help being with the experience fully and naturally. I was new to figuring out how to trust my body, and I knew I needed to be with someone who already believed that childbearing was a healthy and natural experience that I was built for; one that would serve as a powerful initiation into motherhood.
At the time, I read two things that continue to inform my relationship with my body, and what it is that I hope to impart to others. The first being that midwife means “with woman.” I immediately felt a deep resonance to those two “little” words. They felt like they held a code to something so very, very true. Imparting a simple and basic tenet that as we move through all the experiences of life in a body, more than anything, we need someone willing to be with us. Someone who knows down to their bones that we have it within us, and that at times of great transition, we just need a little help.
In essence, someone who helps us to know that we are not alone and trusts that we can do whatever needs doing.
The second thing I read was a story of a midwife who said that when a woman thanked her too profusely after the baby was born, she knew she had inserted herself too much into the experience, so she would go back and reflect on where she had gone wrong. She said she never wanted to steal the experience from the mother by making herself the doer of what the woman had actually done herself; knowing that that new mama was going to need all the self-trust she could muster to bring that baby into the world.
This perspective is not alive and well in the world we live in. Instead, we are undermined at every turn when it comes to trusting these bodies of ours. We are told to listen to the experts, and to follow the science. We get our ideas about what to eat and how to feed our families from the commercials we see on tv and from which foods are affordable to us as a function of government subsidies; not what these bodies would naturally choose.
Instead of someone being with us when we visit our primary care doctors, we are “done to” in our 12-minute office visits where routine tests are administered by a likely harried and robotic nurse and inserted into a computer. Then we wait, alone, for the doctor to arrive and more often than not, a prescription for a pill handed out, when what we most need is the patient presence of someone we trust.
To trust our bodies begins with knowing that we deserve better. That we deserve someone being with us in times of challenge. That we are not a number or a commodity to be filed away in some orderly fashion so that the reports all come out right for the hospital administrators and insurance companies.
If, like me, you are done with this, it is time for you to claim your humanity, and the preciousness of your existence. Time to align with those who have created a sacred vow to be “with” us through it all. But to do this, you must learn to feel. Feel when you are being done to. And then you must allow some part in you to rise up and claim that you are worth more than this. No matter what they say. No matter your own thoughts that might say, “This is all there is.”
Truly, you are precious enough for someone to choose to be with you through all the challenging moments of life in a body.