The other day I got to watch birth happen. I got to watch a woman pull up all the strength inside of her and use it to bring a newborn child into the world. I got to remind this woman of that strength when in her mind, she didn’t think it possible. I got to watch her body do what it knows how to do, and held witness as her body taught her mind the incomprehensible. I got to breath and moan with her through the process. I got to see the baby’s head emerge, out of one world and into another. I got to see the father’s overwhelming joy and awe at that moment as new life came forth. I got to see this baby placed on his mother’s chest and breathe his first breath.

Witnessing birth is like witnessing anything in nature do it’s thing. It’s in these extraordinarily ordinary moments when life truly makes sense. Yet we don’t get it in our heads, where we usually make sense of the stuff of life; we make a connection somewhere else. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to put into words.

I have seen the potential of birth- I have been the one physically moving life through my body, while at the same time feeling at one with all of Life. I have experienced a power and divinity flowing through me as I became a threshold. When women experience that, they know they have a power, a creative impulse capable of bringing the utterly new and unimaginable into the world.

So as I read the stories of our sisters in the Laboring for Change series, I understand something profound- even as unacceptable maternal health conditions rise, the potential for us to change it also rises. So many of us can perceive this; women such as Hudda who lost her mother to childbirth complications and Lucia who has also been a witness to birth ending in death. We feel these conditions propelling us toward a new model.

We are headed there, one empowered birth at a time. We are headed there as we join together knowing we can do anything we put our hearts to.

We are headed there because we know changing birth changes everything.

Topic Health

Take action! This post was submitted in response to eMagazine: Maternal Health .