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Life's initiations.

Birth and death, the two most significant eveots in our human lives, serve to remiod us that we each have a limited time to explore this world, to witness, experience, grow and become who we were meant to be. In our society we have become so afraid of the energy of transformation and so overwhelmed at the idea of facing our limitations that we have shut away these transformative experiences. They have been closed off behiod doors made of ignorance and shame.

The ignorance is based on our lack of belief in the process of life itself, and the shame lies in the fear of anyone ever seeing that we are fragile beings who at times need to be held, comforted, and cared for. We struggle to be in control in our lives. This struggle includes all the ways that we medicate our way through life. We use drugs to ease the pain of aloneness, the ache of feeling empty and without direction in life. We use drugs to cover up the fact that something enormous is happening that will change our lives forever.

We are faced with the knowledge that as a society we doo't know how to surrender to a deeper force, to trust and release the outer miod so a deeper, more resourceful self can emerge. We haveo't learned to trust this ourselves so we doo't teach it to our children. Just because we doo't know how to open to our inner resources doeso't mean they doo't exist.

There are many individuals who have a deep sense of their inner potential. I have seen this in some birthing women. Despite the advice of physicians and well-meaning caregivers encouraging the use of drugs to ease senseless pain (this is the twentieth century, they say), they follow some inner knowing that says this experience could have profound meaning to them personally. I have seen the struggle of a first time mother trying to control the labor, when she has planned for a natural birth. First there is the denial that it is as intense as it feels. Then the fear, can I handle this? At some point she will be faced with whether or not she really believes that she has what it takes to open to this powerful experience. If the people supporting her in her labor believe in the powerful transformative experience of birth, they are invaluable in assisting her to believe in herself. They love, support, comfort, and encourage. In the end the woman not only gives birth to a child but to a new level of herself. Nature has initiated her with the miod-altering experience of birth, and she is open to the new cycle of life.

When I have seen these women before and after their birth experiences, I am always amazed at the level of change that I can see in their eyes. There is a level of wisdom and self-awareness that lets me know she has experienced a new depth within herself. Her pain has made her aware of her vulnerability, how important love and support is, and that there are forces in life that we each in time surrender to. These forces are the transformative powers of change, birth and death. With the knowledge she is ready to explore the mystery of parenting. I have fouod that these experiences also alter those who are supporting someone through the process of transformation. We learn that we cannot walk the initiation of another. We also learn that our belief in someone is an actual force that allows them to access deeper resources within themselves. It doeso't matter whether it is death or birth, the fears we face are the same. The fear of the unknown, leaving behiod our comfort zone, the fear of pain that we may have no control over, the fear of being alone. All of these are important struggles that we need to face in life if we are going to find the resources to deal with these challenges. Each of us face huodreds of little deaths and little births in a life time. Doo't run from your initiations into a deeper knowledge of life. Learn to reach out for support and reach in for untapped resources. Become fragile and give way to change; it will help you grow stronger, more resourceful, and it will teach you compassion. I have had the privilege of witnessing the power of birth and death. They serve to teach and remiod that life is sacred and mysterious and over very quickly.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:experiencing natural childbirth
Author:Wilson, Victoria
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1993
Previous Article:Frustrations of hospital birth.
Next Article:ICM position papers.

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