Lavendilly Story Time: The Ringing Bell

Little Garden FaerieThis is the story of my Little One’s caesarean birth. I wrote this to tell at her 4th birthday party, although I told a simplified version. My Little One sat on her birthday pillow, inside the silk rainbow circle, and I told this story with only a little bell as a prop in the story. At the end I put a rainbow necklace with a bell on it over her head. She felt so special.

THE RINGING BELL

Written by and Copyright to Jennifer McCormack, July 2014

In a little house by a creek there lived a family of fairies. There was Mumma and Daddy fairy, and Brother and Sister fairy. Mumma was a water fairy, Daddy was a wind fairy, Brother was a fire fairy and Sister was a song fairy. They were happy together, each one unique, each one interested in different things, but all living harmoniously together.

One day Mumma thought she heard the jingling of a little bell. It was only faint, but it jingled on and off all day. “Do you hear that?” she asked Daddy. Daddy couldn’t hear it at first, but after a while, if he listened carefully, he could make out the sweet faint jingling sound.

It wasn’t long before Brother and Sister could hear it too, and the sweet jingling, ringing sound grew louder every day. “I know what it is,” said Mumma Fairy, “a new little fairy is going to join our family!”

The whole family heard the jingling sound for many months. Some days it was strong, and some days it was soft. Sometimes they heard it at night, and at other times it woke them up in the morning. “Sweet Little One,” they would say, “when are you coming?”

Day after day the fairy family would make their home ready for their new Little One, and the ringing grew louder and louder! Everyone was very excited.

But one morning Mama Fairy woke up because the jingling sound wasn’t loud. It was very soft, and it didn’t ring very often. As the morning went on, the sound stopped all together. Mumma could feel her Little One in her heart, and deep inside her womb she knew her baby fairy would be coming today, but she couldn’t hear the clear ringing of her Little One’s bell at all! This worried her.

“Oh dear!” thought Mumma Fairy, “I need some help! It’s time for our baby fairy to come, but it seems to have gone away. Come little fairy, come! Wake up Little One!”

They all tried to use their talents to help their Little One come. Mumma the water fairy rocked and danced like the gentle waves of a river. Daddy the wind fairy spoke words of wisdom and bravery, encouraging Little One (and Mumma) to not be afraid. Brother the fire fairy used his fire talent to make their home warm and welcoming. Sister the song fairy sang to their Little One a song of love and joy, calling for the sound of the bell. But no bell could be heard. All was still and quiet.

They needed some more help. Daddy called a Healer Fairy to come and help them call their Little One in.

The Healer Fairy listened to Mumma’s story, and listened carefully for the bell. She put her hands on Mumma Fairy’s belly and gently called out to the Little One:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

All was still, even their house was quiet, as everyone listened carefully for the ringing, jingling sound. Still the baby fairy’s bell remained silent. The Healer Fairy told Mumma and Daddy that she would need some more help, and they would need to visit the Great Healing Hall because the magic was powerful there, where lots of healer fairies worked together.

Many fairies were already waiting at the Great Healing Hall. They were singing and chanting together, songs of love and birth and healing and the music entered the Healing Hall on sweet drifting strands. Mumma and Daddy Fairy heard their friends sing and felt strong, brave and loved. The many voices making music together was part of the healing magic. The healer fairies gathered around Mumma and Daddy and called to the Little One to ring her bell … and … after a while:

A faint, sweet jingling. There it was! They could all hear it!

The healing fairies rested their wands on Mumma Fairy’s brow and asked her “Are you ready for your Little One to come?” Mumma held Daddy’s hand. She was ready. They were all ready.  It was time and they could hardly wait.

The healing fairies rested their wands upon Mumma Fairy’s heart and asked her “Are you ready to receive your Little One with love and openness, however your Little One arrives?” Mumma Fairy was ready. Her heart was now bursting with the sound of her Little One’s bell. A soft feeling, almost like sleep swept over her as she relaxed, ready to receive.

The healing fairies rested their wands at Mumma Fairy’s womb and asked her “Are you ready to open the door, to help your Little One come through?” Mumma Fairy was ready. She put her hands on her womb and listened for the ringing, jingling bell. She could hear it and feel it growing stronger. She whispered the Healing Fairy’s special words to the Little One over and over:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

The fairies outside the Great Healing Hall kept singing and chanting. Daddy Fairy and Mumma Fairy held each other, and held their breath with anticipation. They could hardly wait to meet their Little One. The healing fairies drew a line with fairy magic across Mumma Fairy’s womb with their wands, and a door opened. From this door came a bridge of rainbow light – and a loud clear ringing sound filled the room as a little baby Rainbow fairy came through the door, lifted over the bridge of coloured light, helped by the healing fairies, landing snuggly in Mumma Fairy’s arms. Their Little One was perfectly well, perfect in every way, and slept in Mumma’s arms safe and sound, ringing gently as she breathed.

The healing fairies waved their wands again and as the door in Mumma’s womb was magically closed, the bridge of rainbow light disappeared. All was still, all was quiet, and cloaked in peace. Only the sound of singing from the fairies outside of the Great Healing Hall drifted in through the windows. Everyone smiled.

Brother and Sister Fairy were delighted to meet their sister, Little Rainbow Fairy , and they took turns holding her and talking to her. Brother Fairy warmed her and Sister Fairy sang to her.

“You silly little fairy,” crooned Mumma,” We were worried about you, and here you are, perfect in every way. If this is the way you come into our family, I can see that you will have plenty more adventures, and come out of them just fine every time.”

And do you know, that’s exactly what happened. Four years have passed, and the Little Rainbow Fairy still wakes up every day, ringing and jingling happily, finding adventure every where she looks.

* * *

She was a plannedLittle One's Birthday Ceremony. LH home birth, but it seems our Little One had something else in mind. In the end we went to hospital because our baby was very quiet and still, with a faint heart beat. It just so happened that on this same day many of my friends and community were outside the hospital attending a rally in support of the re-opening of the Gold Coast Hospital Birth Centre. They were singing and chanting together and I could hear them from my room. It gave me great comfort to know they were outside while I was inside with my husband and our two wonderful midwives, who were really looking after me. Caesarean was exactly what we were trying to avoid, but in this case I felt supported in the decision to go ahead.

In the end our Little One was perfectly fine, the little cheeky little thing. A picture of perfect baby health. We have just celebrated her fourth birthday and she has grown into a bright, cheery and chatty little thing – always ready for the adventure each day brings.

I thought that I had already processed her birth, and found myself ok with how it unfolded, despite our worry about her at the time, and my very ordinary recovery after surgery … but writing this story brought me more joy on another level, and I found a new kind of acceptance and peace with my experience. I hope, if you have experienced an unplanned cesarean, that you find some solace and beauty in my story too.

You may be interested to read more about my reflections of this experience:

A Mother Blessed – a poem about my unplanned caesarean birth (this one!)

Cold Birth: Reclaiming my Labour – my immediate reflections about this birth and my thoughts about what it was like to give birth without labour.

xx Jennifer

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Parenting: The Dark Passage of Grace

I wrote this three years ago and shared it on the Kindred Community, as part of a series of posts celebrating the Sacred Family. I was looking for some of my writing on parenting and found this, realising I hadn’t put it on my blog. Three years later, here it is! Here are the thoughts on birthing and pain that I had before my third child was born.  And interestingly … about that comment I made about labour being a predictable pattern? Well it looks like you can’t even count on that … this child did not even allow me the time to indulge in labour. Hers was a cold birth.  …. I tell you she really did lead me down the dark passage of grace – and what a shining light she has become!

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I am preparing for the birth of our third baby … soon. Thoughts about preparing for this birth are never far from my mind at the moment. Reflections on my past two births are also coming up and thoughts about the pain of birthing are surfacing too. I was writing an email to a friend a while ago, who was asking for some resources that will help her prepare for the birth of her first child. After listing a few of the resources that helped me greatly in my previous two births, and in the recovery from my miscarriage in between – I then found myself writing on to address the issue of fear of pain in birth. I think I may have garbled on a bit as I tend to do, but one remark I made in my email brought tears to my own eyes: I said that although I will always have certain concerns and worries about birth they are nothing in comparison to my experiences as a parent. Labour is a breeze.

I don’t think anything really prepares you for parenting – and indeed it can be a shock for first time parents. But I think that is part of what birth IS – the process of birthing is preparation for what is yet to come … it is the birth of a new phase in your life, a new role, a new you. I would take labour over waiting in a hospital emergency room with a sick child any day. At least with labour you know what will happen, well, kind of, as labour almost always progresses to a certain pattern. With a child’s illness you do not have this certainty. There is nothing quite like the tension and anxiety of waiting to find out if your child is going to be ok – or if they will make it through the night without further complications. We had that frightening experience as new parents when we waited to find out if our baby would survive the night without severe brain damage, at the beginning of a sudden and very serious childhood illness. It wasn’t fair. Labour was a relaxing meditation in comparison to the pain of that experience.

The times I cried when learning to breastfeed, the times when I’ve stayed awake all night nursing my children through fevers, vomiting, asthma or nightmares, the times we’ve visited hospital for accidents and illnesses, the times I’ve been ill and have STILL had to be a responsible parent, the times when our children’s behaviour is just too intense and challenging and confusing, the time when we found out our son is deaf … each time we experienced something like this I distinctly remember this thought popping into my mind: I’d rather be in labour! Labour is easy compared to the torture of on-going sleep deprivation, the agony of listening to your child’s struggle for oxygen during an asthma attack!! It is easier than knowing that parenting goes on and keeps presenting you with new challenges and you just have to learn how to move through the moments of uncertainty so that you can get back to loving and savouring every second of the joyful ones, which are far more common, even if the effects of the painful ones are long-lasting and bitter-tasting. Bitter foods awaken and enliven our digestive system. Bitter experiences awaken our ability to digest our life experiences.

I am painting a grim picture of the experiences of parenting! Like labour, these things pass into memory and labour prepares us for this. I love being a parent. I love my family and the colourful life they present me with. They’ve taught me that downhill runs and plateaus are so much more enjoyable and satisfying because you’ve had to slog it up the steep hill in the first place. I am grateful that my experiences of birth and parenting have allowed me to know what it is like to confront the scary face of the unknown, and move through it, maybe not always with confidence, but with the idea that if you just keep moving forward one step at a time embracing the unknown, then whatever happens next is much easier to accept. You’ve done what you could to prepare. You’ve done what you can to heal the situation – and the rest you hand over to trust and faith. THAT is the hard bit.

To be honest, pain in childbirth is never what you think it will be; certainly not if you are prepared to accept that it is going to hurt, knowing WHY it hurts. It is different every time, and for different reasons. Pain in labour happens because your body is changing shape in a matter of hours to let your baby out – it is a GOOD thing! It is a great skill to know how to then transform that experience into a power you can use, and recall how pain teaches us something new about ourselves. I am much stronger for the experiences I have had, through labour and beyond, and it has opened up parts of me that I couldn’t have accessed before.

I posted a quote on my personal blog from Rumi a few weeks ago, on the topic of pain. He wasn’t referring specifically to childbirth I think, even though he uses it as a metaphor, but all the same I think it applies.

Every midwife knows that not until a mother’s womb softens from the pain of labour will a way unfold and the infant find that opening to be born. Oh friend! There is a treasure in your heart, it is heavy with child. Listen. All the awakened ones, like trusted midwives, are saying, ‘Welcome this pain! It opens the dark passage of Grace’.” – Rumi

I am looking forward to the growth I’ll surely experience after this coming labour. That isn’t to say I’m not wary of the pain!! Of course I am, that is human nature, but I know it will pass and I’ll be ok. I am looking forward to opening the dark passage of Grace.

Copyright Jennifer McCormack, May 2010

Lavendilly House: Celebrating sacredness and beauty in everyday life.

Sacred Moments, Sacred Families

20121231_144825I have to tell you about this awesome course – yes it is one of my mine 🙂 At least, I am one half of this course. Melissa and I have been writing this and living this for well over a year together. We made it come alive last year at Silkwood and now offer it in bite-sized chunks, because we know every family has different needs.

Sacred Moments is a parenting course offered on the Gold Coast as a monthly playgroup at Nerang, a monthly evening discussion group at Finger Prints Children’s Centre, and as the Effective Parenting Weekend at Silkwood School, on the Gold Coast. We are currently working on offering it as an e-course for those who live further away. What will you gain from the Sacred Moments Parenting Journey?

This course offers a framework and skills to support your decision-making as parents. Parenthood is a unique experience for each of us.  Sometimes we experience parenthood as a gift, while other times (even on the same morning), we can feel totally swamped and want to escape all our responsibilities.  This course is designed to help you equip yourself, as an individual, for the occasionally wild ride of parenting, to help you feel more prepared as a parent, better nourished, and a whole lot more inspired to be creative about your parenting so that you can enjoy the journey.

You will gain the skills to discover, honour and support your own pathway as a family. This course presents family life as a shared experience between parents and children, based on the understanding that there is no ‘right way’ to be a parent or a family unit, and no magic answer that will fix each and every family dilemma. The process of parenting is a rich, deep and dynamic process that allows us to be present with, honour and ENJOY all that life with children has to teach us.

You will gain a framework to support and ease your everyday family experiences. The framework we are presenting may even help to dissolve those tricky and exasperating moments before they become a big problem, negating the need to find that ‘quick fix’ solution. It will allow you to plan ahead, creating wonderful memories together and smoothing the ruffles in family life as you go.

You will learn techniques to review and reflect upon your parenting experiences while you are parenting on-the-go. You learn how to be present to your parenting and monitor your own effectiveness in the present moment. The ability to reflect with clarity is key to the process we are presenting. It will assist your own personal learning and help you in knowing when it is time to seek more information, more support or use other professional services. These techniques will also help you work through experiences of guilt and anger in a manner that honours your experience and your learning.www.

You will gain a support network of parents. For those attending Sacred Moments Parent Child Group it is anticipated that as we work through this course together and share our experiences that we will emerge as a group of parents able to support one another positively through the processes of family life when needed.

To find out more, email us at mj@liveyoursacredessence.com

Parenting: The Celebration of Transformation

060I was an early childhood teacher before I became a parent. It now seems like a previous existence! I entered family life with a background of theory about small children, years of classroom experience, and just a little knowledge about babies … and was to quickly find out that theory is all very well, classroom experience is only useful in the classroom, and the little I did know about babies still equated to knowing nothing at all. I will never forget the day our midwife made her last post-natal visit: I was gripped with fear and overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for this little tiny person my body had produced (what do you mean this is your last visit?) I just couldn’t fathom the idea that she thought we’d be fine. She smiled, and gave me a kiss … and left. I looked at our brand new son and thought that being a mummy is easier with the baby on the inside!

I was stunned at how much I had to learn – from scratch. Breastfeeding was harder than I thought it would be. Sleeping was a mystery. Teething was distressing. Fevers were frightening.  Food and decisions about health care were whole other issues!  I felt overwhelmed by all the advice that people shared with me, out of the goodness of their heart, and a little confused at the vast array of parenting styles and methods to choose from.

Despite feeling so unprepared, my husband and I still must have had some form of composure about us: our little guy was a ‘good’ baby who didn’t cry too much, a cute little thing who smiled at everyone and an inquisitive chap who was interested in everything (and therefore got up to quite a bit of mischief). The first year of his life was full of life lessons for all of us. It was wonderful and exhausting all at once. In reality we were as fine as any other new parents – stumbling along and finding our way in our re-defined relationship as a family of three. We had a go at every idea in the book (and devoured every book in the library), and then threw it all out the window and just went with what ‘worked’. We breastfed, didn’t use a dummy, co-slept, wore him in a sling. We used NVC and baby sign language. We used natural cloth nappies, and had a go at Elimination Communication. We did baby-led weaning and fed him only home-cooked meals.

Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. Our son knew what he wanted, we knew what we wanted, and it took some experimentation and some occasional compromising from each of us, to find a happy medium.

I have often marvelled at the bravery of the first child for being the ‘guinea pig’. They open wide the doors of parenthood and thrust us through them, willing or not! They are the trailblazers who will grow up and move on to the next developmental challenge before we feel that we have really mastered the last one. They test our patience, our creativity, our energy levels, our values and our relationships. They make us wake up to ourselves! I have found that parenting has been the single most effective way to learn how to listen to my own ‘truth’. I have learned more about myself on this journey than any amount of personal development I may have done before my first birth!

I have my favourite parenting books, and my favourite parenting ‘experts’ but I do not rely on them for all the answers. Since becoming a parent, I now interact with families socially through playgroups, mothers groups and women’s groups. I have shared my experiences and learned from my friends as they travel their own parenting journeys beside me. I have learned enough to believe that nobody can claim to have all the answers, because we only know for sure about our own experience with our own families, and all the rest is theory until it ‘clicks’ with you. I am inspired and interested in finding out more about what will enhance my understanding of my children, and thus our family life. It is exciting when we become our own teachers, and are forgiving of our mistakes.

Parenting has empowered me as a woman, a mother, a wife and a teacher, and I have learned that:

– parenting involves acknowledgement of the value of pain as a teacher (frustration, tiredness, disappointment and worry!),

– whichever way we parent it needs to come from the place of our own truth and intuition,

– parenting is a journey of discovery and learning, but is most inspiring when we keep looking and keep learning, rather than searching for THE answer, and

– for parenting to ‘improve’, it should be regarded as a sacred celebration of transformation.

We can get bogged down in the day-to-day elements of parenting and family life. I have found in my journey that the thing that keeps me going is to celebrate (daily) the sacred, the beautiful, the funny, the quirky, and the clever, but also to not overlook the ugly, the scary, the annoying, the angry and the frustrating. All these moments cycle in and out of focus but are ever-present in our parenting.

Written by and Copyright to Jennifer McCormack, May 2010

First published by Kindred at www.kindredcommunity.com

Please do not reproduce without my permission

Advent Week Four: The Blessings of the Human Kingdom

This is the last week of the Four Kingdoms of Advent, and we celebrate the Kingdom of Humans. I have written about the Mineral Kingdom, the Plant Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom individually, and we as humans carry the blessings of each of these Kingdoms in our bodies: in our bones and bodies we have the strength, structure and physical condition of the Mineral Kingdom. Our life force and sense of vitality is a gift from the Plant Kingdom, who also share with us the gift of adaptation, nourishment and beauty. We share skills of social interactions, behaviour, instincts and feelings with the Animal Kingdom – all of these blessings combine and have allowed us to develop something that makes us different.

The Human Kingdom contains the power of creative knowledge and the ability to transform ourselves and our world around us. As Amber Greene described it, “we are CALLED to use this gift!” It is the eternal wrestle of mankind to be something more than we are, and those with hearts that are called to beauty, truth and goodness in the world will find out how best to use their creative intelligence.

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The Advent tells the story of the birth of the Christ Child, who was recognised as one who would grow to be a great teacher and leader – a king among men who had access to divine wisdom that he would share with the world. Putting ‘religion’ aside, I still see this story as one that is important and very accessible to us all. Whether or not you believe in Heaven or God or Jesus, in the Advent Story that has been unfolding over these last few weeks we have everything in place for us to birth ourselves anew, and with consciousness. To me this is a story that perfectly describes the potential within each of us to be great and to use our creative potential in the world in wonderful ways, no matter how ‘humble’ we feel our talents are.

Mother Blessed Book

Mary, in her pregnancy, carries the idea and the potential for something wonderful, and looks for the blessings in life even when life was not be making it easy for her.  She represents the power of birth and creative transformation – a divine gift given to her by the Holy Spirit. Joseph is an old man who has lived a long, hard-working life. He realises this child Mary bears comes from something ‘beyond’ him. I know that feeling – of not really being my children’s mother. I look at my children in utter wonder at where these spirits came from, and feel humble and proud that they chose me to be one of their parents. In this relationship Mary has connection with Heaven, wonder, beauty, spirit, positivity, gratitude, creative power, while Joseph has connection with the Earth, goodness, values, wisdom, work, perseverance and loyalty and together with their love they share their gifts with another human being – this Christ Child who stands with one foot on the Earth and the other in Heaven.IMG_0058

I think the Advent Story tells us that WE are the Christ Child. We have the potential to grow into something beyond ourselves because at the moment of our births we are given the gifts of Mary and Joseph, and the blessings of the Mineral, Plant and Animal Kingdoms. We are human, and we have faults but through divine gifts we have the potential – ALWAYS – to look for something better, brighter and more beautiful in ourselves.

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THE BLESSINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF HUMANS

Written by Jennifer McCormack

Old man Joseph, Mary and Donkey have travelled far together,

Through all kinds of landscapes and through all kinds of weather.

And yet no matter how rough their ride, they went with gratitude,

For they knew that journeys are easier with a positive attitude.

They were closer now than ever before, to their destination,

And when they reached Bethlehem there would be a celebration.

For Mary carried the Holy Child who soon would be birthed,

and this Babe was destined to be a great Teacher on this Earth.

They’d been travelling through villages, lots of little towns.

It was lovely to see some other people about and all around.

When they finally arrived, their lengthy journey at an end,

They were surprised to see how busy was the town of Bethlehem!

Travellers like them had taken rooms at all the available places.

People turned them away from their doors with the saddest faces,

“I’m sorry we have no room for you, but you could try next door,

Perhaps they’d have a place for you to sleep upon the floor?”

A child had been watching poor Joseph and Mary growing in distress,

They were weary, hungry, so very tired and having no success.

He said “I know a little place, it really isn’t the best.

But it’s warm and dry and it would be a place for you to rest.”

He took them to his father’s inn and asked if they were able

to rest a while with their donkey in a corner of the stable.

The innkeeper looked at them with kindness on his face

and said, “Of course, my rooms are full, and it is the only place.

It’s clean and dry and very warm, you’ll rest well with my cows.”

He brought them blankets, food and water and left them with a bow.

And that night Mary birthed her Babe, in that quiet shed

With Joseph at her feet and the Donkey by her head.

They were all spellbound by the beauty of this tiny Holy Child

Mary slept a healing sleep and when she woke she smiled.

“This Babe was born upon the ground, and a great teacher he will be,

I shall teach him all I can, and then he shall teach me.

I am grateful for friends and families and for places filled love,

and for this special little Babe I thank the Holy Spirit above.

I give thanks to the kindness of others, when they see a need

who can see that inside another lies potential, like a seed.

We all have the ability to grow and learn, to open up our hearts,

and try to be and do the best we can, its the greatest way to start.

For every parent anywhere knows the awesome power of birth

That love and trust and honest work will transform this Earth.”

My Book: A Mother Blessed

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I’ve been wanting to do this for years and years! Ever since my first baby turned one, and I wrote a poem for him that my friends turned into a song – and my good friend Deirdrie Cullen took such touching and breathtaking photographs – I’ve been wanting to combine my writing and the photos into a book that celebrates birth.

I’ve had some fun playing with Blurb.com to put the book together. There are a few photo-book programs available now and I have found it MUCH better than scrapbooking! All the photos of my family are going in to photo-books now. You receive a professionally bound book and it feels so awesome to hold this in your hands and know that you created this wonderful thing. I took photos of a book that my son and his school friend made together and turned that into a book for them too. Published authors at 8 years of age! He was so proud of himself.

This book, “A Mother Blessed” contains a collection of my poetry about birth, put together with some amazing photos and images of my fibre art. You’ll have seen some of it here on this blog over the years. I think my favourite one so far is “The Wise One”. There is also (of course) “A Mother Blessed”, a poem about a birth that didn’t go the way I thought it would. The whole experience of birth, mothering and watching my children grow has been very humbling and this book is an expression of that experience.

I am so grateful to everyone who gave me information and support along the way, to help me birth well – no matter how the birth evolved in the end. So grateful that I will donate 100% of the sales from this book to Homebirth Queensland until Christmas time. It is truly a lovely gift for any mother, and if you know someone who is birthing soon, or who is still in the midst of wonder in this experience (as I am still -eight years later!) you may like to share this book with them. You can view a preview of the book, and purchase it here at this link: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3719062. The book is available for sale as a pdf, softcover and hardcover so there are a few available options there. Please share, and help an organisation that supports so many women to birth with wisdom and support.

The Wise One

I have finally finished my Luc Bat poem  .. and maybe it isn’t finished, but it will do for now. It was inspired by Linden the Listener, but this is a photo of Rosella, who would look right at, and into, your very being -and you knew she was connected to something Greater than all of us. Linden is still there in that place of wisdom, but as she now sits by herself and goes to the places she wants to see, all by herself, and I am seeing her drift away from that place. I guess, in this poem I am trying to say that we are all still connected, and that our life’s work is to remember the things we forgot when we grew up.

The wisdoms of the world:

Compressed within my girl’s deep gaze,

Drifting in the sweet haze

Of all the dreamy days since birth.

 

She’s arrived on this earth,

Knowing all there is worth to know,

And in her eyes it shows:

From life times long ago, she brings

The ancestral teachings

And angelic blessings of Love.

 

And the sweet haze, above will lift,

And from Heaven she’ll shift.

And from Wisdom she’ll drift down here,

Forget Love, and learn Fear.

But deep within she’ll hear, always

The Wise One’s voice: it says

“Love comes when the heart prays and sings

And to Fear you’ll find Love clings

Small One, you know these things: you’ll thrive!

Through your life you will strive

To keep Heart’s Love alive and not

To lose what you forgot.”

 

Cold Birth: Reclaiming my labour

Oh yes! This is another 2:00 AM missive from Lavendilly House, and this time I am being kept company by a tiny little girl who should be asleep  … as should I … so we are wrapped in a dressing gown and I am typing with one hand, very slowly.

We really have been blessed with a rather divine little person in baby Linden. Well, partly blessed because all newborns are a blessing, and partly she is so divine because we have allowed it to happen. That is something I am proud of. All our choices during pregnancy, birth and post partum have given her the best transition into this world that we could provide, under the circumstances, and she is happily basking (and growing!) in the glow of pure love and admiration from the whole family and community. Similarly, our whole family has been receiving love and support from everywhere: offers of meals, groceries, gifts of baby things and loaned family heirlooms, offers to help clean, do school pick-ups, keep me company … the meals we have enjoyed thoroughly, and I am hoping the other offers will still be around after David goes back to work in a week’s time … that is when I’ll need them most.

For now I am cocooned in my bedroom, cradled in the support of my husband, who is really taking care of me. However I am also sore, my wound is swollen, I’m bored and frustrated that I can’t participate actively in our family life. I am not used to lying still and doing nothing, and I am starting to succumb to my emotions.

An emotional abyss can be a deep one. I can certainly see how easy it is for people who are at their emotional end to just make the decision to let go and keep falling. AH! I know you must all be thinking this sounds rather unusual of me – having such sad thoughts. Well I am in a bit of a post-birth hormonal soup right now, that is one thing, and then the healing from my caesarean is another – plus the adjustment into life with a newborn and two other young children each at their own distinct stage of development,  AND now I am beginning to grieve for my lost labour too … and with nothing else to do except lay in bed and think about things that I’d rather be doing if I were not laying in bed, it is hardly surprising that I am indulging in a bit of sadness.

I have had three different births now: a long labour (transfer to hospital and caesarean), a short labour (natural home birth) and NO LABOUR (transfer to hospital and caesarean). A caesarean without labour is a cold birth. I never realised until it happened to me, that this is the case. Rosella’s birth totally opened my whole being to the immense power behind the experience of birth. Sure it hurt like hell and frightened me into insanity, but I did it. I did it by myself and it was a rush that still stays with me. After such a birth the feelings of hurt melt away in the rush, and sanity doesn’t seem important when you are high on happy hormones. I am so glad that I have had that experience.

Even after Kaelan’s birth, one that ended in a way I hadn’t planned for, I was not upset by the caesarean, in fact on the whole it was quite a good experience, and I healed remarkably quickly, both physically and emotionally. I actually felt no pain at all after the surgery. Really! Nothing. I went home the next day, rested for two weeks and resumed life the week after. I am sure that the experience of labour, during which those healing hormones were activated, had a lot to do with it.

This time, however, I am taking longer to heal.

I know, I know! It has only been two weeks. Yes! I also know things are different now that I also have an active family with two other little ones … but it is more than that. It has been super bizarre, very surreal to just be wheeled into theatre, take the needles, be unzipped, then have my baby handed to me and zipped back up again like this sort of thing happens to me every day.

It happened the way it needed to happened, and I wouldn’t change it because this is Linden’s journey too, but I can’t seem to move past it. It will sound strange to those who have not had a baby, or who did not experience a wonderful birth, but I was really looking forward to going into labour!! I was a self-professed birthing junkie (something I think I am cured of now!) and I really was ready to leap into the arms of the Great Mother and let her carry me through to my next transformation as a mother-of-three.

When I recorded Kaelan and Rosella’s birth stories I wrote:

Every birth changes you: Kaelan’s brought me down to earth and into reality. His birth and the subsequent years of infancy taught me faith and strength and endurance. These were qualities I needed for Rosella’s birth, which sent me forth as warrior maiden. Through both I have learned about how to trust, but that seems like a life-long lesson that I need to learn again and again, although I am improving! I wonder what quality my third birth will give me?

I am not sure yet what qualities Linden’s birth has given me, but I think that is the key to this: labour is the transition from one life to a new one. By participating in the transition you are rewarded with a gift that will help you unfold in your new life – however by not participating in labour I feel like I have received a present in the post: one that I did nothing to earn and one that customs had already unwrapped before they gave it to me. Definitely I am delighted! What a surprise! But I was looking forward to doing the unwrapping and discovering myself.

So this is where I am at with my thoughts about birth right now: when I mentioned in an earlier post that I would have more processing to do, this is the start of it, and while I am bored with having to rest to heal, and frustrated with not being able to participate in family life, I am very aware that this time has been given to me to help me make this transition. I am having my labour NOW, because this is HARD! I think it is much easier to get labour over and done with BEFORE the baby arrives!!

And now, having sifted through my thoughts, and arriving at something that pleases me, I have a little one who thinks she is hungry again (she couldn’t be!). I feel much better now that I’ve realised I’m still in transition … I’ll come back to these thoughts later.

Moment of Birth

Again the sweet, life-giving pain

sweeps over me.

Like waves upon a shore,

surging,

receding,

it fades … and then envelops me once more.

And in between its fierceness and its fire

a great and tired peace.

The pulse of life within me

beats triumphantly.

Statistics say

a child is born each moment of the day.

Confronted by this thought,

my consciousness

shrinks,

This wave, this pain, is not just mine alone.

I am no shore …

I am but one of many grains of sand

sharing a common wave.

Multiplied a million times, I become

insignificant.

And yet,

the moment that my child was born

I was no more a tiny grain of sand.

It seemed in all the world

I stood alone.

And God reached down and touched me with His hand.

Written by Charmaine Solomon, from “Love and a Wooden Spoon”

(I wish I had written it!)

Half Way …

Meditating Mother, Needle Felted Doll, 2004

It blows my mind, that’s all that I can say.

That you decide to kick and roll and play,

and still there’s room for you to hide away

when pressing hands disrupt your rhythmic day.

Your heartbeat racing just as if you’d grow

up now, but you must wait, just bide your time.

You twist and turn and rest within my womb.

Savour this, the last taste of the sublime.

So much unknown, so much yet to reveal

about yourself and who you might become.

No needles, tests or scans that try to peel

back layers of your being, little one.

I’d like to know, of course! But I must trust

that you, our little wrapped up mystery

know more about what’s right for you than I,

and when the time’s right you will come to me.

Jennifer McCormack, Feb 2010