Birth. It’s amazing, beautiful, a miracle if you will. It’s a special sacred time in a woman’s life. But when does that stop? It doesn’t right? Or does it? I have seen many women give birth in the last 10 years of my life as a doula and a midwifery assistant. When the baby’s head is crowning you can feel others in the room holding their breath. The anticipation, worry and awe are all present. All these feelings palpable and tangible in the birthing space. But just after the baby is born it’s as if the magic of the moment has disappeared. But has it really? Maybe what happens is that the people in the room dismiss the magic or are ignorant to it’s presence.
Does the birth stop being sacred after the baby’s head emerges? Maybe birth is no longer a breathtaking moment just after the baby’s bottom experiences air on it for the first time? Is it the actual exit from the mother that suddenly makes the act of birthing no longer amazing? I am asking because in many situations, at births I have beheld, the moment the baby has left his mother’s body people decide to start talking. Yeah, talking. HELLO!
Unless you are reciting a spontaneous epic poem, or are shouting life saving directions, no one should be talking.
This baby has been with his mother’s voice since conception, that baby is listening for his mother’s voice. He’s looking for her face. He can only see six to 12 inches at this moment in his life, coincidentally as Joseph Chilton Pierce used to say, right at the point of nurturing. He only needs to see his mother (and father, whomever has been alongside the mother on this journey) and their faces. She has yet to return from where she just went. She has gone into the universe, and needs a second or more to come back. I LOVE how Karen Strange talks about this as the birth pause, (yes this is a thing), I love how Whapio describes it in her beautiful writings on the Holistic Stages of Labor. They both speak to the fact that even if everything went perfectly you would need a second and the baby too.
For instance, lets say you had a beautiful home birth with a view of the ocean and George Clooney was fanning you, and your hair looked amazing and you felt zero pain and had an orgasmic birth (yes this is also a thing). Even if all of this happened you would STILL NEED A SECOND. And so does your sweet baby. I mean moments ago your baby was getting food and oxygen from an umbilical cord! Now he’s using his lungs, his lungs! No one told him how, he just did, on his own, like a little bad ass. This is all a little effort taking and it’s friggin sacred. No one should be talking. There should only be tears and attention. They collectively catch their breath and when the mother is ready (no one should arbitrarily decide this but her), she picks up her baby and pulls him to her chest. Here the baby is reassured, mom’s heartbeat, ah yes, there it is….my old friend. All is well. She claims her baby in this moment. This is mine, I made you. Staring into his parents eyes, the baby is assured he is safe. In this moment if she has a partner, the partner becomes a dad, or a mom. A family is being born in this moment. What in the world does anyone have to say that is more important than this?
If you are a birth professional watch for all of this to unfold and keep your words for later when the parents look for you to say something. And they will, but there is time enough for talking later.
For more on stuff I think we shouldn’t be doing after the baby is born, see: THREE THINGS WE NEED TO STOP DOING TO NEWBORNS
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.
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