Mother’s Day and Moving

May 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

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The days are running by too fast at the moment. We are preparing to move house – something I have done many times in the past fifteen years. However this time feels like an epic move, it being five years since the last one. Who knew that just one more child could mean so much more stuff?!

I have three jobs at the moment: pack the house ready to move, make endless phone calls and visits to open homes in the search for the perfect home for our family, and to keep the household and family running smoothly throughout all this time.

In between this busyness however, I have experienced two weekends of sweet moments with my family. Mother’s Day came and went rather fast, as I was studying that day and did not see my husband at all! But he sent a box of chocolates with the children to pass on to me when I picked them up from Nana’s (which they did not), as well as a lovely hand drawn card that Samuel made for me.

The girls made their own special cards and gifts for me at school. I am so thankful for teachers that think to do this with the children in their care – as Sol is still learning that these occasions and gifts are one of my ‘love languages’, and as I am still learning that they are not for him – well, sometimes these days get fraught with tension. This year it was liberating, and all the more meaningful for me, that everything except the chocolates came from the children themselves. The girls showered me with hand drawn cards and felt necklaces and bulb babies wrapped in felted autumn leaves. So beautiful.

And best of all was the spontaneous “happy Mother’s Day mum” I received from my teenager when I picked him up from the station. No one to prompt him, or remind him – made those few words enough.

The following weekend my teenager and I indulged in our shared affinity for Asian cinema with the movie Helios. Movies are my go-to activity when I need a break from children clambouring all over me, from childrens’ noise and mess and demands. To sit in a movie theatre in the dark for two hours and be transported into another reality is bliss for me.

That was Saturday night. And now, back to packing….

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An ode to my Midwife

May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

I noticed that this week it was International Day of the Midwife. It made me think of you and the journey we have shared.

I have been so lucky to live in a country where I have been able to engage the support of one midwife for all of my care throughout pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

You were there with me, beside me, for the births of three of my children. Tears spring to my eyes as I remember those births: the intense ecstatic water birth of my very large first daughter; the gentle, peaceful, melancholy birth of my second daughter, born in my mother’s living room; and the dramatic and joyous birth of my youngest son, born on the rug in my living room at dawn after the birth pool broke.

The births of my children have been initiations. As I have birthed each new soul I have re birthed myself, as a woman and each time as a stronger mother. The gestation and birth of each new soul into my family have been times of accelerated personal growth. Each pregnancy brought new, different fears and issues to the surface, ready for healing. And you always met me in my deepest place, wherever it was on any particular day.

I experienced two hospital births before I turned to homebirth and an independent midwife. The birth of my first daughter was so different to the first two. Despite her almost 11lb size, the labour and birth were just a few hours, and an experience which I would call intense, rather than painful. In fact I experienced some moments of spiritual ecstasy. I knew it was because I was at home, relaxed, with loving support around me. I will never forget the knowing of giving my daughter the best possible beginning, thanks in part to your confident care.

resting at home soon after birth

resting at home soon after birth

Our journey together eventually became about so much more than birth. You were there throughout my journey with PPD, with gentle support, and then throughout the hardest days of my life when my youngest newborn had a serious illness. Your confidence in my strength kept me strong. You were probably the only person I knew who understood exactly what my little son and I had been through.

Our relationship has been one of the most intimate of my adult life. The gift of having one midwife and that continuity of care is the gift of time together, and over the many hours of appointments our conversations often strayed far from pregnancy and birth. You showed me what it is to be a mother and woman in her own integrity.

As I leave my childbearing days behind and enter a new phase of life, it becomes clearer to me how much of a rollercoaster ride of hormones and massive life changes that time was. You were a constant throughout those turbulent years, as I found myself through birth and mothering. I only wish every birthing woman could enjoy the kind of support I have been lucky enough to experience.

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