Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Obvious

I take it back, what I said the other day about not feeling a deep connection to something deep in my heart. I have a religion, it just doesn't have a name. I have a belief, and a cause, and you all know what it is, and so do I.
I went to this meeting on Sunday night, it was a meeting of a number of our local homebirth midwives and also some doulas. They invited me to come and talk about the services that we provide in the area. I was excited to go and formally meet these people (who all know my story because of the Mothering article).
As I'm writing this I'm realizing that maybe I've never really written about what I created here in the valley. When Charlotte died, there were no support groups, networks, no nothing for anyone whose babies died. There was a support group at the big, scary hospital down in the big city twenty miles south, and so we went there.
It saved us. Being in a room for two hours a month with these other people who had cradled their tiny little babies only in death, it was a rebirth. It gave us connection where before we had been stranded. I tried to find the people in my area who had lost babies: surely they were out there? But to no avail. I knew I had a calling, I knew this had to happen. So in the end, I started my own group. It took 3 1/2 years for me to have the energy and time and space to do it right, but it happened.
What I started is a group that meets every month, and then more, too. I sell us as being available all the time. Phone, email, whatever. When is your crisis moment? When do you need support? What if it's not between 7 and 9 on the 4th Wednesday of the month? Call me.
We are also available to consult with doctors/midwives/nurses/doulas about a birth, and even to come into a family's sacred space before, during, or just after a birth if that is what they deem helpful. We are available to counsel with families who have received a terminal diagnosis.
We are also working--trying--to work within hospitals and such to improve the care and experience of families experiencing loss. I have stocked the cabinets full of rolls of film, decent cameras, handprint kits, dental amalgamate for castings, beautiful clothing, wraps, blankets, etc. We have talked to nurses, docs, etc. about what should happen when this does happen.
This is the tip of the iceberg. I could literally, and would LOVE to, work on this full time. Of course the thing that gets in the way of this is that I am a full time mama, and I would never, ever sacrifice this sacred opportunity... so doing this full time must wait. This and the fact that I can't get paid for this work, which also gets in the way since I end up paying for child care to get my work done but then don't get paid. And we live on one teacher's salary. So anyway.
So I went to this meeting of midwives, and I talked to them about what we could do for them if they found themselves in this situation. I probably only spent maybe 45 minutes there. But I left feeling positively smart. I felt informed, I felt on top of things, I felt accomplished, I felt proud. I felt like I was making change happen. It made me feel swollen with life.
I felt passionate. I felt like this was it for me. It is slightly uncomfortable for me, because what I love to do is work with people in absolute crisis. I think it is because I know that I can do it. Just for the same reason why there are those nurses out there who ask for the stillbirths, because they know they have something to offer that mother that somebody else might not offer her. I know I am doing work that nobody else is doing, and whatever I do, if I put in one hour or one week of work, it is going to make somebody else's loss more tolerable.
So who was I to say I didn't have a cause? This is my cause, obviously.


Awake said...

That's wonderful. Although I only know you from this blog, I am not surprised. It is your fine spirit and passion that is most obvious. And think of this way - what a sweet legacy for your children, all three.

Team Harris said...

..."swollen with life." I Just love that. Yes, indeed... swollen with life! And your drive, passion, and efforts will also help others feel swollen with life, even in the face of death and insurmountable pain. Bless you for the work that you do. Bless you.

Becky said...

What a wonderful thing you are providing to others. You are a true inspiration to me.

Sarah Beth said...


You know how much you have helped me and Matt...but I just wanted to comment about it here. You and Greg are so much more than remarkable people....and I love you very much. You are my guiding light, you are the force that had guided us and encouraged us to grieve and remember. To live on with Birdies spirit with us always. Each time I see you and talk to you, I am lifted, my heart takes flight and I feel surrounded by Charlotte & Birdie...and of course Liam and Aiofe. You are so much more than amazing.

(its Erin, I am logged in with my work blog, sorru)