(Written to Calm, Relax & Reassure! Honest!)
Being pregnant – lets be honest! Is very strange! O.k. maybe not all the time but on average mostly you feel very different. More different than you’ve ever felt before!!
Tired? Irritable? – Eating fresh raw foods in small amounts. Seeds bean sprouts, dried fruit – raises your blood sugar then irritations with people & stuff melt away! Honest!
Feeling nauseous? Steer clear of fags & booze!! Drink ginger tea /beer!!
Confused at your inability to “hold it down?” the extra hormones you get on your period (y’know the ones that make you irrational, psychotic, weepy etc) you get the same ones when you’re preggers only 80 % more! Your chemical make up has changed by ¾!!!! No wonder you feel different!!
Lying / Bathing quietly in the sun & water for an hour a day allows your brain & body to relax into this totally new state of being- Maiden to Mother, Flower to Fruit etc!!
Stiff? Full of achy bits? Your body’s ligaments & tendons soften during pregnancy so that your pelvis can tilt & make the birth canal a straight run for easy birthing!
That’s about it for the first three months (trimester).
In the middle 3 months you usually settle into pregnant life, being amazed at your abilities of taste & smell & sleeping!! You could have a renewed burst of energy & confidence as you see you’re your body start to change no longer do you just feel preggers now you’re starting to look it! Rubbing nut kernel oil onto stretchy bits makes it less likely that you’ll get stretch marks! Walking helps you exercise the calf & thigh muscles needed for physical active labor!
The third trimester 6-9 months is pretty good. The home strait! You feel pregnant, you look pregnant! Comfy seats, free food, shopping carriers, breakfast in bed, pampering, massages, etc. all these things & more are yours to command!!! So surround yourself with people who recognise that you are doing the best job in the world so that they treat you & your bump accordingly!
Drinking Raspberry leaf tea strengthens your uterine muscles so that they are able to squeeze out your baby! Tastes good too!!
Basically, thinking & planning how you want to feel & where you want to give birth, who you want to be with you & most importantly how you want to walk across the bridge from pregnancy to motherhood will ensure & empower you to give birth in the way that you know you can!!
“It’s called labour because it’s hard work!!”
Firstly, it’s not lost on me how honoured and privileged I ( naughty fairy, hippy, me) am to be allowed to assist in this kind of place.
I walk around shadowing this diminutive purple-swirling midwife, rubbing shoulders with nurses, doctors and medical secretaries, all manner of people who on paper and in the eyes of many are more qualified than me to be here. I know that I am always where I am supposed to be!
Already today I have assisted with dietary advice, baby holding, IUD (coil) insertion, and vaginal growth removal ( a little purple pearl) I have cleaned up, re-stocked, remembered, observed and assisted.
My abilities of calm quiet speech to relax tense people and my hands full of universal Reiki have been appreciated and have made me feel at home and of use, in these pretty alien, medicalised surroundings.
I find myself observing to glean what is really necessary, which questions to ask, what dietary advice to give, the way that Love and cuddles create a bridge along which communication and compassion and Oxytocin can flow.
I see herbal and industrial medicine used wisely hand in hand. I see clinical and artistic models merged in a way that creates calm in the easily concerned and confused.
The path of the post-modern midwife is one of the artist and healer; artfully she mixes the palette of medicines to create optimum health and happiness for all she serves.
I like this reflection I see and wholeheartedly accept my role to be the successor of this woman and the many like her who have and will support women towards happy healthy natural births instead of leading women like lambs to the slaughter of industrialized birth.
“Never doubt that a small group of people working together can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead
This path and calling is long and wide with many wolves and dark places. The joys will far outweigh the sadnesses but I will remember that all experience is just that, just another rich colour that creates the wonderful vibrant tapestry of our amazing lives.
Sometimes I feel small and stupid, that there is too much to learn, too much to do, then I remember to hold my own hand and believe in the vibration of the Universe that guides us all. This life is for living and being and a place to really experience all that our physical beings can experience. So to be called to the office of Midwife, with all of the colours of experience that it holds, is one I welcome – always with eyes wide with awe and with a heart open and full of love. Fairy love and kisses Laraxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
So here we go! I’m Lara, Mother, professional fire performer, Traditional Midwife, Traveller.
14 years ago I was blessed with the experience of giving birth to my first son – the brilliant and amazing Blue! Because I have a distrust of big institutions and I am unable to be disrespectfully told what to do and because the party is my favourite place in the world I decided to give birth in my home a mark 2 transit van on a hill in Totnes Devon, whilst my nearest and dearest friends raved to all my favourite tunes on out wicked rig! My theory being that, the walls were thin and I reckoned that I would make a noise so I wanted some music so I wouldn’t worry the neighbours!
Blue was born to the sounds of Madonna singing ray of light! and he is that!
I read only one book – Juliette de Bairicli Levy s ‘Natures Children’ – a wonderful herbal, diary, instruction manual for healthy women who wish to give birth to healthy natural nature children. It was brilliant, filled with positivity and guidance, it totally made me believe that I was naturally able to give birth and that I was capable of doing so, so I did! We ate the placenta for breakfast and I felt rocket powered! My milk came in and we all travelled off to a big celebration party in Cornwall overlooking the sea! All was well full of joy and positivity. Me and Blues dad, Geoff were totally competent, able and ready to be parents and we had had the birth experience that facilitated us to be so, we were in charge and we gave birth! Life is beautiful, birth is beautiful, is what this experience taught us.
Fast forward 3 and a half years and once again I’m giving birth, this time to Jake in a valley in Spain in my beautiful Renault Saviem 7 and a half ton truck! The party was brilliant, I span my fire and was supported by my ginga ninjas and Jake was born to the strains of lo-fidelity all-stars in Ibiza! ‘There’s no reason for you to cry, we’ll always be around…..’ Total joy!
Sometime after my first birth, I ended up supporting a seventeen-year-old giving birth, I was hitch-hiking and went to visit for a cup of tea! Saphora was born into her parent’s joyous arms and we skipped out of the hospital singing! By the time the second baby had settled into feeding and general life I was beginning to be asked to assist other travelling women as they gave birth. I did and there were many joyous births in trucks, caravans, buses, trees, benders, yurts and tipis. There were other women helping too, inspiring wise and wonderful, Vanessa, Sue, Tallulah, all brilliant! We started a group that met once a week to talk about pregnancy birth and all the questions people had. We called it the’ Pregnant Posse’
One day someone introduced me as ‘Lara the midwife’, granted I had been with this woman as she gave birth and had massaged her and made tea, given comforting hugs and words and had held her hand, but midwife! Suddenly I was filled with an urge to learn more! I was convinced that if I was to be seen as a midwife I would have to learn more to be worthy of the title and responsibility and respect it creates.
Vanessa had a programme for a midwife conference in Paris run by a group called ‘Midwifery Today’ – it was filled with loads of knowledge that we all wanted to know and best of all our total hero and guiding light Ina may Gaskin was going to be a speaker!” Oh, I wish I could go and meet her and learn all she wants to teach me” I said!
Fast forward again past making the money and getting there, fire spinning with a purpose had raised the cash for the flights to Germany this time, hotel and conference. I was in a room filled with midwives! I fastidiously took notes to send back to my friends so they too could learn more. I learnt so much! Not least that the way we had been assisting our fellow wild women was the traditional midwife path and was respected all over the world. Someone called me ‘the next Ina May’ when I told my ‘called to midwifery’ story and I knew that I really really had to meet her! Unfortunately, her husband was sick and even though she was supposed to be speaking she was not there. I felt the urge to write a letter to the organizer Jan Tritten, telling her my story so far, and thanking her for the brilliant experience. I wrote because I didn’t feel confident enough to speak! I was so shy, not really believing that I was on equal terms with such amazing women!
The next day Jan gathered me up in her loving arms and told me that she wanted me to come to all of the conferences. I told her I couldn’t afford another thousand pounds! She said that what she meant was that she wanted to become my midwifery mentor, assisting me to attend a total global midwifery education. She asked me to monitor at the conferences, checking badges and moving chairs, getting water and helping out, in return, I would attend the conference for free and she would make sure that the classes I attended would create a fully rounded and grounded traditional midwifery education.
Fast forward another 5 years, I have attended conferences in France, Germany, Norway and Denmark! Learning so much!
I have brought my profession and passion for fire to the conferences and have span fire shows and made many midwives fire-proof! When I was in Christiania in Copenhagen I span a fire show for many international midwives, including some Saami midwives from Finmark. When I finished the show the oldest of these women came to me and took my hand. ” I want to tell you a story. I want to give you a present” she said. I listened.
“In our religion, for a baby to be born first the father God Paderakkaa must think of the child, then he gives the thought to the mother Goddess Madderakkaa, she gives form and body to the child and carries it to the birthing woman in the birthing yurt. Her first daughter Ukksakkaa takes care of the door, her second daughter Jukksaakkaa looks after the floor, and her third daughter Saarrukaa looks after the fire and the birthing woman. YOU are Saarrukaa! ” she said gazing deeply into my ‘ naughty fire fairy’ eyes with her dark wise ones! I felt a chill fire all over me and did my best to be brave! from naughty fairy to goddess in one move! My self-belief worked hard to keep up!
In 2005 I got to see Ina May Gaskin talk about Sphincter Law and juggle with fake poo! She told us a story about ‘The mole who knew it was none of his business’ Telling us that if the world was more comfortable with its ‘pooping’ then we would all be much more able to be comfortable with giving birth! I agreed and decided to write an inspirational childbirth story for children and pregnant people. I called it ‘ The Princess and the Poo’.
The first time I actually met Ina May the first thing she said to me was ” Lovely to meet you Lara, I really love your book!” Can you imagine? That’s what I was going to say to her!
The past 7 years have been a blur of babies and birth knowledge and now I am about to commence on the manifestation of my wish. On Saturday, Jake and I are travelling to America. First we are going to Philidelphia to the Midwifery Today Conference, to learn more and to show the newly published version of ‘The Princess and the Poo’ then we are going on a road trip with Debra Pascale Bonero the woman who created the movie ‘Orgasmic Birth’ to New York then we are travelling down to Tennessee to ‘The Farm ‘ the commune created by Ina may and Steven Gaskin and their amazing friends. Here I hope to learn more about my calling to spiritual, traditional midwifery and more skills to support all the healthy wild women who know that it is their birthright to give birth supported – competently, humanely, joyously.
I have created this blog so that I will be able to share all that I learn with as many people as possible – and also as a log for myself so later on, I can write a clear, concise book detailing all I have learnt to assist the next generation to be born in gentleness joy and Love. May you enjoy reading it as much as I plan to enjoy learning it! Fairy love and kisses, Laraxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx