This evocative Madonna collage will always remind me of the couple (both artists) who recently gave it to me as a gift after their daughter's birth. A treasure. It hangs in my room, and will also remind me of all the births I have attended - the layering of experience, the significance of cherished objects, the importance of history, the value of memories, the power of nature.
I see an old family portrait, a pomegranate, the impermanent dandelions, the water lily, the doll I had as a child, that special bike, that beautiful floor fragment, a cupola with light streaming through to the ground. We each see those things in the collage that hold meaning for us.
Labour is like this. Fragments, layers, images - all confusing, deeply challenging, yet breathtakingly beautiful. Our births are not "the pain." Our births are not physical. Ultimately, they are not of the body, they are of the mind. They are personal, they are dependent upon perception, they are ours. We birth as we live.
Birth is not "paint by numbers." Each birth is like a collage - totally different for each woman, each birth.
Five births since Christmas - each teaching us all new lessons to draw upon. I will look at the collage and name a part for each woman.
- With love and thanks to Tanis and David
Jacquie Munro, founder of the "Slow Birth" movement, is an experienced doula and childbirth educator and is well-known for her individualized, intuitive approach to supporting families in the childbearing year and beyond. Since 1987, she has provided support at over one thousand births, at home and in hospital, and taught thousands of expectant parents. At home, Jacquie lives only a bike ride away from four generations of her family. You can usually find her at the park or beach, playing beside her twin grandsons who call her "Deecy".