The three most commonly asked questions of any pregnant woman are as follows:
When is your baby due?
Do you know if you’re having a boy or girl?
Where are you going to deliver?
I’ll answer the last question for you because it’s the only one I know. I am giving birth at home. This little fact nestles me amidst a small, but growing birth community in the Philadelphia suburbs. Because of the women who participate in the Rising Moon Midwifery practice, I had an amazing experience today that I want to share with you. I feel like it poignantly illustrates the quality and compassion of care in a birth community. It fills my heart with joy when I answer the question about my upcoming delivery in May. Here’s why I love the delightful web of friends and Mamas who are part of my birth community.
After church this morning, I drove through the early flakes of snow to my friend Brittany’s home. Brittany is a doula, photographer, and aspiring midwife with a heart of gold. (Follow her Facebook page for the most amazing birth photography here.) She invited me over to receive a trial run of her new prenatal practice, a belly cast. I eagerly accepted her invitation after she colored the offering with kind words of empowerment, love and confidence towards the work I am doing carrying this sweet baby.
Now, I have to tell you that her home is a beautiful, lovable state of disarray. It immediately made me think of the chapter I read last night from the book No More Perfect Moms. Can you guess which chapter? It was called No More Perfect Homes. As we walked upstairs and she paused to shift her clean laundry alongside our path, I told her that I feel happy coming to her home and the authenticity makes me love her even more. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t her first time hearing the sentiment.
Imagine my surprise walking up the steps when I was greeted with a stunning image of our friend, the mother who gave me that book, shining in her robust pregnant glory last summer. I admired her and the other friends artfully displayed on the wall, like our midwife Kate, triumphantly holding a baby I know into her mother’s first gaze. Another picture showed a woman nursing her baby. I had met her, just weeks before the image, at a Christmas party and confessed to her that I needed help refraining from eating more than a dozen cookies from the swap. Surrounded with mementos of our community, we shared from the heart about life, birth, and family as we captured an icon of my burgeoning belly. I closed the circle of our community involvement, for now, as I washed away the drips of plaster with Lelayna’s amazing homemade soap. But who knows where the next steps of the Belly Cast will take us. Perhaps it will hang over a community circle while honoring other pregnant women.
The one thing I took away above all else is the value of this prenatal work. Brittany confided that these steps connecting with birthing mamas are so important to her because she wants to arrive into the sacred space of a birth as a known friend and helper. She truly shines in her ability to make this work a labor of love.