One of the most rewarding parts of our work in Pregnancy Support is when we are present for the moment a woman becomes a mother; the moment when she sees her baby take their first breath and a new relationship is begun. For every birth we are a part of at The Babes Project, we count ourselves blessed that we have the opportunity to observe these first moments of life and motherhood.
Our Labour Support Team is a special bunch of women. They are women who volunteer their time to ensure no woman is unsupported during childbirth. They put themselves through training, put lives on hold when on call and do all it takes to be available for massive lengeths of time. Often under the influence of bad hospital coffee! Holly is one of our Labour Support team and she wrote these words about her most recent labour experience with one of the women of The Babes Project.
In a cold hospital room bed she silently sleeps, warmed by the blankets snuggled up around her bulging pregnant belly. The only sound besides her deep slumbered breathing is the soothing galloping sound of her baby’s heartbeat, being monitored from the outside world.
I don’t know what her favourite food is, her favourite tv show, or how old she was when she got her ears pierced, but I am here, watching her sleep. I know how to fluff her pillows, make sure she’s comfortable, hold her had when she’s distressed, help her understand what the doctors are telling her, but somehow I get to be here and witness one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, I get the honour of sharing this with her, the birth of her tiny newborn baby. One of the most powerful moments she will ever experience is the moment she gives the final push before meeting her little one. What a privilege it is, not just to be an observer or bystander but to be an active supporter of her, championing her towards that final moment, the birth of her daughter, being her support person during labour and delivery.
She squeezes down hard on my hand as the contractions come, looking into my eyes with distress, and begging for it to be over. I give her some positive words about how her baby is nearly here, about how well she is doing and how strong she is.
“It’s almost time to meet your baby!”
“It’s nearly over you are doing SO well!”
“You can do it!”
To me, my words just seem like empty cheers when she is in the throws of excruciating pain, but, somehow they give her a glimmer of hope in that moment, even between the throws of her saying “I can’t do it!” she finds new strength buried within. She bears down one last time before baby is here and in one majestic movement, baby is placed on her chest and begins to make her first newborn sounds. All the pain is forgotten; washed away by that overwhelming and powerful moment, blanketed in awe and love as she stares at new life. I look at her with tears in my eyes as she cradles and kisses her little one’s head. We both know that there are not many moments like this, and amidst the anguish and struggles going on in the rest of her life, this new little miracle has bought fresh hope to her world.
Today is Mothers Day. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate mothers. Aside from some of the challenges and pain that many feel on this day we must still pause to honour Motherhood. There are so many women in our world without a hand to squeeze in their times of pain or someone to cheer “you can do it!”
Let’s be this person. Let’s be the hope bearers when her focus is lost.
For every birth we are a part of at The Babes Project, we are amazed at the courage and resilience of women. We are also acutely aware that as that moment passes and the adrenalin rush eases the real work begins. So let’s never stop cheering and supporting women in their Motherhood journey.
Happy Mother’s Day.