Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pure Light

From MCU President, Kristi Ridd-Young
April 24,2011

It is with a heavy, sad heart that I share with you the death of one of MCU's most beloved. On Saturday afternoon, Brianna and her younger brother were in a car accident near Santaquin, Utah. Brianna did not survive the accident; blessedly her brother did.

Many of you who came to conferences got to experience the incredible way Briana, with her dear friend and soul sister Cathy, touched the lives of those families they cared for and in turn touched your life through the sharing of their wise women ways. From the time I met Briana years ago at a doula training until our last heart to heart a few days ago, I marveled at Briana's wisdom, intuition and serenity. How could a woman so young have accomplished and perfected that which most of us take a lifetime to learn?

I often teased Brianna that I was going to line her up with one of my sons so she could always be my daughter. . . I don't know if I'll be able to walk past her prenatal office to go to my desk without feeling her tender midwifery spirit emanating from within. From cradling the head of a newborn to holding a woman in her arms as she transitioned from pregnancy to motherhood, she truly honored that sacred space of midwifery.

There's a part of me that's a little bit angry right now; I want to stamp my foot and say, "I don't know the reason why and I'm not able to see the whole, big picture, but do you really need Brianna like we need her here?" What I do know is that Brianna loved and honored our heavenly parents. She is encircled in their arms while our arms ache for her. I know that her spirit will comfort her family and the many who are so painfully missing her. I am honored to have known her--truly a ministering angel.

The Midwives College of Utah will dedicate a scholarship fund in her memory to a young, single woman who has the vision Brianna did and can carry on the wise woman ways she taught each of us who were privileged to know her.

In contemplation of all we mean to each other,


Beautiful spirit
Old soul
My sister, my friend

With every birth I will feel you close, your hands now guiding my hands from an even wiser place. I have loved you Briana, from our very first meeting. You so young, so confident and those cute green shoes. Seems right that on our last work day together you were wearing your bright red boots. So happy. So gentle and loving with your "moms". I know you will be patient as we grieve here, looking for peace in your leaving. I know you will not judge as we struggle and question. That's who you are. That's what we still try to learn. Patience and tolerance. Keep shining my lovely, lovely Briana.

". . . one ship. The starboard engine has gone. I, the port engine, must chug along somehow till we make harbour."
from "A Grief Observed" C.S. Lewis


Monday, April 11, 2011

Peace be the journey

My time to shine comes in 8 more days. On April 19th, the Board of WWHI, friends and major donors will gather to hear The Report. My Senegal experiences, observations, stories and pictures will have an audience. As I step to the plate, I feel the tremendous responsibility of sharing my recommendations and future project proposals. It feels like everything I've experienced in my life, my own births, rich partnerships, travels, this world school I move through, the music I'm drawn to, the love that fills me, every passion, every door that bids me to enter, everything, has brought me to this moment. I know things. I've seen things.
As our evening walks in the Khossanto village ended I felt overcome. My love and deep connection to the gracious sage femme, Oullimata and the women she serves did something powerful to my heart. I have the tools and the desire to make their world a little better. I can't let them down. Here's my challenge. I have 10 minutes to enlighten my audience to the benefits of birthing in one's own space. I cannot agree to the protocol of sending every woman to a health post for her birthing. It is not practical for one thing. No one owns cars, only a few have motorcycles. The road to the health post is dusty and bumpy and these efficient birthers would never make it. I know the importance of support, respect, connection with loved ones and safe space. I know the difference between birth in the squatting position and birth supine, legs in stirrups. I cannot let these women be drawn into birth practices circa USA 1960 in the name of African progress. I will be proposing that a team of 4 CPMs go into the 28 outlying villages of Khossanto to teach the birth attendants there how to make their already good, intuitive practices a little better, a little safer. They can be taught to recognize true risks and the importance of getting those mama/baby dyads to where they can be served best.
I made a call to my midwife sister in Burkina Faso to find out if she would be willing to join a teaching team. Her words, "To serve would be my pleasure." Many of you have shared the same sentiment. I am asking you to help me with Step 1: Presenting this vision appropriately, worthily and powerfully. Please come out of lurkdom my blog friends and post your own truth about the value of birthing at home. What makes it advantageous for a safe and empowering birth experience? If anyone needs empowerment it is our African sisters. And please, please, send your prayers and energy my way for wisdom, peace and the time to get this done in the most effective way.
Thanks y'all!

Friday, April 8, 2011

sooo tired

there is something strangely satisfying about this kind of exhaustion.
bone weary, brain fried exhaustion.
played hard, worked hard,
lived to the tip top of my capacity.
fulfilling the measure.
going the extra mile(s).
raised the bar and hung on.
hit the wall and kept going.
babies born, books reported on, bank deposits in time.
and now i'm going to turn off the lights, melt into this couch and watch the snowflakes
Zzzzzzz will steal me, i won't resist
i will dream of saturday when i will sip hot mexican chocolate in my office
listen to moody blues all day and simply breathe peace

and think ~~~