I am spending this week in Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico in a "bear cave" with seven international "bears," otherwise known as advanced mentors (from Spain, Canada, US, South Africa and Puerto Rico!). These wonderful women, committed to changing birth in our culture) have come far to enrich their skills in childbirth mentoring. Working (and relaxing) in the serene and beautiful setting of Ghost Ranch takes us out of our ordinary setting, therefore out of our ordinary mind, and helps us reach inward and expand outward in our personal lives and professional work.
Being in the extraordinary place of beauty awakened in me the dream of creating Healing Retreats for Birth Peeps.
Women and men who work in birth give a lot, day after day, year after year. After receiving formal training, most professional conferences are geared toward informing the birth peep in the latest research or technique so they can better serve the mother/family during the childbearing year. The focus tends to be outward: serving, protecting, and healing the mother and family.
Birth work is not ordinary work. While it can be rewarding it can also be psychically draining and emotionally "wounding. After months and years birth work takes a toll; as birth peeps accumulate unprocessed grief, guilt, frustration or powerlessness, s/he begins to move further away from an initial intention (to heal) and deeper into despair, control, and negative assumptions about themselves, birth, and parents.
Who is healing, and nurturing, our birth peeps?
How can (or do) "wounded," burnt out, birth peeps serve expected parents?
What needs to happen next?
In the model of Birth as a Hero's Journey, one of the most powerful archetypes is the wounded, shattered, dismembered, hard-working, determined, but lost, person...who may yet become, but is not yet, a hero in her own myth or live. This person--like so many birth peeps who answered a Call to serve women/families during the childbearing year--started out eager, enthusiastic, full of hope.... and gate by gate, birth by birth, year by year, she/he lost her innocence, trust, and dream.
We cannot expect to change birth in our culture by solely focusing on parents--trying to empower them through information and resistance, or by healing "their" birth wounds--without also healing our own.
Change #9 coming soon, not only to this blog, but to our culture: I hope!