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birthing from within workshop

Strength and Sacrifice

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Strength and Sacrifice

Last week I traveled by boat to Santa Barbara, past the many missing people buried in the Montecito mudslide, up and over a big and endless swell, vomiting repeatedly and shaking and shaking and shaking. It was a gnarly two hours. And then I soaked in my sister's tub in a bath of various salts to warm my body and ground myself. After all, the reason I made the trip was to support a client in labor, and she was deep in its throes by the time I arrived.  

The first thing I witnessed upon entering the birth space was my client, Lilly, being so lovingly supported by her fiance. He exuded excitement and awe toward what he was witnessing. It was beautiful. Because of his confidence, I sat on the sidelines until I was needed. They were a perfect team, so excited to meet their baby and so fully connected in that moment. 

After a drawn out transition due to a bag of waters that never broke, Lilly birthed her beautiful baby en caul, and dad announced that it was a girl - Baby Cleo. I totally cried. 

Baby Cleo's mama is an amazing photographer. View her work at  lillyrosenthal.com .

Baby Cleo's mama is an amazing photographer. View her work at lillyrosenthal.com.

The strength I've seen within my clients (some of whom nearly lost their homes in the fire), our community and the many care providers that keep us safe in an area that has experienced so much devastation is oddly in endless supply. I personally am working the hardest I've ever worked. I've pushed past almost all of my comfort zones and I'm still here, thriving and serving and learning and doing my best. And still, I feel so small.

Mother Nature is a force that no one could ever compare themselves to. She will always be the one whose mercy we are at. But it is my belief that the more we care for and respect her, the more she will care for and respect us back. She too has endless strength, but we cannot control how she chooses to use it, especially when triggered by the misgivings of manmade creations

All of this said, don't doubt yourself. Don't doubt what you're capable of, whether it is an unmedicated birth or making it through the coming days as you grieve all you have lost. You are surrounded by support and love and the undeniable determination of many to guide you through these times in life that seem to be the most impossible to get through. 

Though I made it to this Santa Barbara birth, I missed another birth in Ventura and had to reschedule with many people over the following days. Some understood, others didn't. Nothing is ever perfect or easy. Going above and beyond in one area means sacrifices in another. This season has taught me this repeatedly, as has motherhood. It seems to be a never-ending lesson. I embrace the fact that "perfect" doesn't exist, but so long as I do what feels right in my bones, all will be well in the long run. 

For now, I pray for my community, for all the lives lost and all those yet to come Earth side during such a tumultuous time. It isn't a perfect world to become a part of. No. It is very, very far from it. These little babies being born right now have a heavy weight on their shoulders, and it is up to us to draw on our endless strength to guide them through this new unknown. We must teach them how to care for the Earth, how to care for their neighbors, how to care for themselves and how to be a helper in times of duress. We must teach them by example - and that's the hardest part. 

I also wish the best of luck to us all as we take on the role of parent, mentor, teacher and guide. These babies deserve all of the goodness we could possibly help them find. Cheers to a better tomorrow, which is a fitting way to end this post since the 20th was my 29th birthday, a special day I share with my own mother. Even more fitting was the fact that I was blessed to attend the birth of my neighbor and friend's son, Fisher, that night. It was one of the best birthdays I've ever had, gluten-free cake and all.


I have been given an incredible opportunity to train with a woman I admire, the author and founder of Birthing From Within, Pam England, in New Mexico. To help me attend this training and business planning meeting (I am a member of her Board of Dreamers that are re-envisioning the BFW business model), please consider donating funds here. I am not in a financial place to cover all of the required costs for this trip, but it is a trip I must take in order to accomplish my career goals and serve many more families during their childbearing year. Consider it an investment in all of our collective future - BFW has a very powerful message for mothers and all women, regardless of whether or not they have any children, and we need such empowerment now more than ever.

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Thoughts on the Feminine

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Thoughts on the Feminine

I attended a Birthing From Within workshop for doulas and mentors last weekend and, my word, was it glorious. The energy in a room filled with women passionate about motherhood and helping other women is so healing that I started this week with a renewed sense of self and capability. I am so grateful for this.

On the first day of the workshop we practiced an art exercise after discussing some of the issues we see with modern birth. The directions were to use pastels to draw an image, or images, that would tell someone from the future what the essence of birth was in 2017. It didn't have to be literal, nor did it have to look pretty. It simply had to come straight from our minds right onto the large piece of paper in front of us. Tasks like this are exactly what recovering perfectionists like myself need. I felt free to truly create, and it was invigorating. Plus there weren't any tiny hands around to "contribute" to my drawing. This was a first in a very long time!

My image was of a huge, beautiful flower in the middle of towering, crashing waves. In the corner was a golden crescent moon controlling the tide. I used my fingers to purposefully make the pastels spread all over the paper, leaving lines of imperfect color in their wake. To me, my image invoked a scene of the beauty of the feminine being threatened by the waves. The moon, too, was actually being threatened by the waves, and the wind created by the events at hand was dangerously close to ripping the flower apart.

As I created this piece of art, I could hear myself writing a passage in my mind. When I finished with the pastels, I moved a new medium - my pen. I wrote what I heard in my head, word for word, on my paper, and I loved it. I loved that I conveyed a message in two different ways at the same time. I loved that I had the time and space to do it. I loved that I was alone with my thoughts, furthuring my knowledge of working with women during the childbearing year. I loved every aspect of that moment and what I had created.

Below is the passage I wrote. It comes from a place of recent struggle, a struggle I will write about soon when I'm ready, and it reflects some of the darker aspects of my mindset as a woman. Yet, in spite of this, it maintains the sense of hope I hold for my children and their future as women, possibly mothers, but most definitely sisters. Maybe it rings true for you as well during this strange time in history that is greatly affecting the present.


Everything passes so quickly. A constant influx and overload that overpowers our deepest desires to connect to our center and epitomize goodness. Motherhood, and womanhood essentially, is an existence so tied to nature it is nearly unbearable. And yet, the more rooted we attempt to become, the stronger the tidal pull of all outside forces. Though the moon controls our being as much as it controls the vast and powerful ocean, it often appears to be no match for the speed and control of our daily physical life. It feels as though we are slowly being washed away, but within us remains a strength literally unknown to man, and it will always drive us to continue forward, and to one day overcome.

In remembering the sweetness of my daughters, and the abundance of tiny and beautiful moments they bring to me throughout the day, I stay grounded.

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