Be a witness of something magnifasint….

There’s a wild book called Spiritual Midwifery—written by InaMay Gaskin, the mother of all midwives—that I used to give out to my pregnant friends. Gaskin delivered babies on a large Tennessee commune that she and her husband formed in 1971, called The Farm, and has attended more than twelve hundred births since then.
The first half of the book provides case histories (with graphic descriptions and hippie-dippie lingo) of births on the commune. Men sit behind their laboring partners and rub the women’s nipples to bring on contractions (or “rushes,” as they’re called in the book); in turn, the laboring women bellow like moose to deal with the pain. It’s a fun read and an excellent guide to the childbirth process.
The second half of the book includes explicit instructions on delivering babies. Reading it during my first pregnancy, I was riveted by the mechanics of childbirth and devoured the entire manual. I learned about rotating shoulders, turning around breeches, and loosening umbilical cords wrapped around babies’ necks. Put me in a taxi with a woman in labor, and I’d have that baby out in no time. Books aren’t real life, though, and when I had the chance, years later, to witness the miracle of birth, I was a big, fat chicken about it.
When my sister Judy had her first child in 2001, she invited our older sister Lauren to attend. Lauren spent the entire time at Judy’s feet, literally jumping up and down as our nephew came out, saying, “This is the best thing you ever did for me!” Three years later, Judy invited me to her second birth. I stood up at her head the entire time.
When the baby crowned, I took two steps toward the doctor to watch my niece make her debut—an unbelievable experience, even from five feet away. Still, I wish I’d been brave enough to get closer, because I may never have another chance to be part of something so magical.
This story is just one that shows how being a witness of the unexpected can change the way you think.
Write a story about something in your life that you felt unnerved by, and gain a new view of your life.

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