Monday, March 21, 2011

same same

First day home finds me unpacking my memories. They're packed in my heart, real tight. I am loving this experience of sorting, sifting, sharing and savoring an intense week of unbelievable experiences. As I process and prepare my report for WWHI, the realization that rises to the top is this. We are the same. No matter where a woman births, her needs are the same: safe space, respectful care and connection. Within minutes after a meeting with the village sage femme and touring the humble maternity where she worked, I was called to a birth. A woman I had never seen before climbed on to this metal delivery table. I did the initial exam, 7 cm. As the sage femme was busy setting things up, I observed the mom struggling through a contraction or two. She whimpered in Malinke. I went to her and offered my hand. She pulled me in and held tightly, the very familiar birth grip. My other hand went to her lower back, the spot I knew would be bowing out about now from baby pressure. We made eye contact and I knew her. The Universal Birthing Woman. She knew me. Safe, respectful connection. With Natalie close by documenting the moment, a baby boy was born. I am so happy that my daughter's first birth observation was here. Where most western women see austere, uncomfortable and inadequate in this African birth environ, I saw and felt peace. I may have been chosen to go on this expedition to teach but I knew from the get go who the teachers would be. Lesson #1 will never be forgotten. We are same same.
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auntgigi said...

Love the pic.
Love that you lived this experience.
My heart beat harder when I read this post.

Maybe international affairs should start working woman to woman. Discovering sameness instead of differeneces.

Sycamore Girl said...

You know that 'birth grip'.
I know that eye contact that binds us together and reassures the sameness that we are.

Looking forward to more!

lovely lindsay said...

ditto, sycamore-girl-holly. i know that eye contact, too.
we are the same same. lesson you've been teaching me my whole life. love that you and nat were actually living it.
love, lin

Briana said...

so true

diane said...

You are peace and love. Every woman needs this in her birthing hours.

I am glad we got to share *our* Cathy with mamas in Senegal.

jade said...

I want to hear more stories. I'm so glad you guys got to experience all this. You inspire me.

Kim said...


Pres8Jes said...

same/same, like presley would say.
Im so glad that I got to experience this sacred moment, she really did appreciate you Mom, as all the other women in the room stood around and busied themselves in the delivery room, you gave her your attention, and she needed you.
my first birth, what a first birth to witness.
thanks for bringing me along on this journey with you, I am forever changed, its kinda crazy.

we can do anything now!