Sunday, April 05, 2009

An adagio hits a day of speed at full force

I've noticed that I can manage most things as long as I move slowly through the day.

Within a few weeks, my children and parents will all be living within an easy bike ride.

I can walk or ride my bike to visit most of my clients. (Yes, you can expect helmet head when the weather is good!)

I can walk home from both BC Women's and St Paul's after births (there's nothing like breathing in the crisp early morning air as I walk over the Burrard Street bridge at 6am.)

The huge physical and emotional effort required to be intensely focused on a labouring woman and her family for hours and hours (sometimes days) is only possible when I live slowly, with intention, and gain strength by moving through the world using only the power of my legs.

Last week, I was reminded of how I used to live with the continual drain of moving at high speed. (How did I spend 17 years doing the 60km daily return commute from Tsawwassen?) So, there I was, driving along the highway to visit my best friend in Crescent Beach (I can only manage this 90km drive about once a month, now that we live a Slow Life). My iPhone alerted me to three email messages, two clients called to talk about miscarriage (on speaker), another called to let me know that she was in early labour, my mum called to say that my dad's blood test showed that his leukemia was gaining an upper hand and a blood transfusion would be needed soon, and a postpartum mum called to talk about her baby's latch.

And behind all of that, like a sound of a cellist playing Albinoni's Adagio in the background - pulsing, throbbing - was the vision of a client's beautiful 8-month-old daughter who had just lost her battle with an unknown lung disease. She is the first child ever lost to a client in 21 years.

The sad music of her mother's face.

I could have handled it all, if I'd been riding my bike, drawing on the strength of my body, the pumping of my heart, feeling connected with the world. But, somehow, it just all seemed too much, driving at 110km/h. 120 km/h. The adagio had hit this day of speed at full force.

I needed to be slow. I needed physical and emotional nourishment. I needed to be home. I needed to sleep long and deep. I needed to help a new mum and her baby that afternoon. I needed to visit a joyful pregnant woman. I needed to cry. I needed to hug. I needed to dig in the garden with my dad. I needed to help a baby come into the world. I needed to ride down a hill and breathe.

And, once I was back home, I was able to do all that, and more. I regained my footing, and I was able to be there, focused and strong, for everyone, and for myself. Slowly.

- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula, Slow Birth, Slow Planet

No comments: