how i found birthwork
I was lost.
Floating with zero direction, occasionally drowning with each wave of anxiety-laden existentialism. Too many deaths in a short span of time had effectively pushed me to feel a pervading sense of impending doom. I had to make a choice soon- I couldn’t waste any more time.
But there I was, spending my weekends in the astral plane, searching for answers to questions I hadn’t even thought to ask. My only questions were superficial- what profession would bring me more money? What is the safest option?
But again and again, the mushrooms failed to give me the answers I craved. They refused to set me in a direction. Further and further I drifted away from my body, searching through space and time, losing myself among the stars.
My weekend trips began to carry into my everyday life and I was unable to see the shore any longer. Months of seeking outward had led me so far away from my body that I could literally see the disconnect from inside my head. My mind and body were two separate entities, and it had created a sense of fear.
Would I ever return to this body?
But still, I ventured onward. I knew my answers were out there.
One Saturday evening after a particularly long day in class, I returned to my cosmic expedition. We had multiple people with us that evening and as the night progressed, the energy among the crowd forced me to seek refuge outside.
I laid down a blanket on the front lawn under a tree. I could hear the music pulsating inside the house but it was still quiet enough for me to gather my thoughts.
My breath caught in my throat as I watched a single blade of grass start dancing to my heartbeat. With every thud of my ventricles, the grass grooved and stretched higher and higher.
Intrigued, I lay down beside the grass and watched intently. The dark greens began to morph into a beautiful golden honey as it grew
Until it was no longer a blade of grass, but a radiant, goddess-like oak, dripping in magic and kissed with moonlight.
I was inspired.
I soon felt an overwhelming urge to follow in the footsteps of the grass before me. As I scrambled to my feet to stretch my hands closer to the sky, I could feel every joint creak and stretch with pleasure. Taller and taller, I stretched until I could pluck my mind from the stars.
My bones had become weak and frozen after months of depression. They ached to be stretched deeper and I adhered to their every command, moving every which way my skeleton pushed. As my spontaneous session concluded, I fell to the ground in exhaustion. I stared at my feet. I wiggled my toes and laughed to myself. These were my feet and these were my legs and these were my hips, my stomach, my breasts, my arms, hands, neck, head.
This was my vessel.
An overwhelming feeling of joy filled me in my toes and continued to climb to the tip of my head. I bent over to kiss my toes and my fingers and my entire body as tears welled in my eyes and poured down my cheeks.
This was my body, my home. I was so presently aware of everything it had done for me, everything it could do for me. I found myself silently whispering praises and thank yous to an invisible self that had placed me here in this life; this beautiful life of mine. For an hour, I cried happy tears that warmed my heart with every drop from my chin. I tasted my tears as they fell, so sweet and warm. This is what happiness tasted like. This was what pure, complete joy felt like. My life was my own, to be lived through this vessel that could carry me where I needed.
I had felt miles away only moments ago, but had suddenly been plucked from space and pulled through infinity to land in a stable body that hadn’t quite felt like home in a very long time.
I was home and I had time.
Then it hit me- a vision unlike anything I had ever witnessed in my life.
An entire labor and birth played itself out in my head in milliseconds.
When the images ceased, I was left utterly star struck; I had never seen something so beautiful. The only question left in my head was:
What the fuck was that?
And so I researched. I read. I watched. I learned everything I could. I trained as a doula and reached out to every pregnant person I knew. I was addicted- I had to learn more.
Every family I talked with did the same thing- said they were interested but ultimately backed out.
I was yearning for a birth- I needed to know if this was truly where I belonged. After all, I had only seen a birth during what seemed to be a psychedelic hallucination.
And on a Thursday in April, I asked my boss for the following day off. I had nothing planned, but something was telling me I needed to be available.
I exited my job that day and turned on my phone to a message: “I’m being induced tomorrow. Do you want to come?”
This was the moment I had been waiting for. I ran home, packed my bag, and reread some chapters in my favorite birth books.
The next day, I arrived at the hospital, nervous but excited. The induction started slow and we spent the first few hours talking and laughing. The birth team took turns guessing what time the baby would make his way to the outside and I blurted out: “Around 4:20”
Thinking I was joking, the team laughed.
“You’ll see. Just watch!”
The labor progressed smoothly from there, and with every contraction, I felt more and more sure of my role in the room. It was as if I was had done it 1000 times before and I was merely falling into a routine.
Soon, Mama was roaring, yelling that she could no longer carry on and that she couldn’t do it.
“That means he’ll be here soon,” was all I could say but I had no idea how I was so sure.
Within ten minutes, he was earthside and in Mama’s arms. We turned to the clock:
As I cheered to myself in bewilderment, I turned to face mom and baby again. The nurse was helping baby latch and as I took a step back to allow room, my mouth dropped open.
I had seen this before.
I had seen all of this before.
An overwhelming feeling of déjà vu rippled through every molecule of my body and I let out a cry.
This entire event was the exact birth I had seen in the mushroom-induced hallucination two summers before.
Except it wasn’t a mere hallucination; I had been gifted a vision.
Two years of trying to find clients, months and months of research, and what seemed like thousands of ‘no’s that all had to culminate to this very moment.
I knew I needed the day off. I knew when the baby was going to be born. Despite never have been to a birth, I knew exactly what to do and when to do it. I knew immediately that I belonged in every sense of the word because it has never been, and never would have been, any other way.
This was always how it was supposed to be.
Birthkeeping is not just my passion- it is my destiny.