Friday, July 06, 2007

Remarkable Birth Stories

Rachel Kellum gave birth outdoors. And she has documented this amazing self-chosen rite, an event during which she was surrounded by strong, beautiful and skillful women, on a website that I've added to my links list at right. This is by way of introducing her and her brave and moving devotion to natural childbirth.

I met Rachel at the Readers and Writers in the Rockies conference last month and was struck by her earthy and loving demeanor. As I've explored her website and browsed her master's thesis providing context for her conscious decisions about how to deliver her two sons, I've been further engaged and absorbed.

Childbirth is one of life's central events that eluded me, and though I've made my peace with it, the fact that I never had a child is one of my life regrets. However, one of the most significant gifts of my life was when my beloved friend Ellen invited me to be her birth coach; I was there that first week in October many years ago when her child, Claire, was born, and I deeply mourned when Ellen died cruelly just two years later from pancreatic cancer. But I am so grateful to have been at the side of at least one other woman during her labor. And if she ever needs to be reassured, I can tell Claire heartily about how much love was in the room the day she was born.

It is thus quite moving to know that women still are encircling each other at the moment of birth and bringing children into the world in an embrace of welcome and love. The images are graphic, but Rachel has set up the site so that if you prefer to read her stories without the photos, you can do so. Personally I find the ritual they document incredibly powerful and significant.

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