I recently read a passage in a book where an older woman asked a young man what he thought the holiest of all ceremonies was, he answered with ceremonies from his culture that were some of the most sacred. The older women replied that he was wrong, although those ceremonies were indeed some of the most sacred and special they were not the holiest. She responded that the holiest of all ceremonies was the birth of a child, and then she asked him, “what does that make you?”.
I’ve thought much about that passage and recently had a conversation about the nature of this very subject, the coincidence was enough to make me reflect and write about it. Birth is a sacred and holy time and it is both respected and feared. So what does that make us? For men they are the center of this holy ceremony once, when they themselves were born. Women are a part of this ceremony twice, as a baby and then as a mother. Although the father’s role during birth as support is no less an important part of birth, giving birth to life is a role men cannot experience in the same way. For women it makes them the center of such a holy and amazing experience, it is their energy that fills birth rooms. Supporting her is an honor that we should respect. We have all been a part of this ceremony as the baby. Perhaps that experience as a baby is something we can feel within us even though we cannot remember it and carries with us the instinct of protecting that holy and sacred space during and immediately after birth.
In a modern world protecting that ceremony and space has challenges our ancestors never could imagine. Technology has given us the ability to become connected and in touch with loved ones that we would otherwise never see due to distance. We are all undeniably connected and yet due to that connection can lose focus of the now and what’s right in front of us. I will be the first the admit I’ve been guilty of it! This challenge is something that I have both experienced and witnessed during birth. Often (and with my husband and I’s first), telling those we love that labor is happening and the baby is coming is something that is too joyful to hold. After announcing (as we found), often and appropriately, people wish to call, text and message their well wishes or see how things are going. Then the partner who was to be her support through labor or even she during labor or bonding with baby becomes slightly distracted by the phone and answering messages coming through. The sacred space is disrupted and can cause undue stress for all parties. One of the best solutions if radio silence is not an option is the old and trusted phone tree. Designating a few members of family to tell when labor occurs or if the baby is born allows these loved ones to spread the news to others with the stipulation that these few family members receive the questions and well wishes during that time and not to the partner or the women who is (or was) in labor. Protecting the sacred and holy time of birth can use the simple methods, but it makes a huge impact then and in the future.
As anyone can imagine there is much to discuss about the sacred birth space and what it makes us. With this question in mind I plan on exploring other topics of sacred birth space, such as the sacred hour, delayed cord clamping, lotus birth and guardians of the birth.