Birth by the Wheel of the Year. Some doula reflections.
With the Summer Solstice fast approaching, I am finding myself on call once more. Since stepping out onto the path of doula five years ago I often miss the events i would normally celebrate in big gatherings or go away for. Celebrating the wheel of the year has been a huge part of my life since i found Anderida Gorsedd, (a beautiful Druid group) who run an open ritual) in the early 2000s. Missed, however, for the most incredible blessings of life, supporting beautiful experiences not many people bear witness to apart from the birth of their own babies. An experience that is so often hard to find words for: Birth.
Each time a Sabbat (pagan seasonal festival) approaches when I am on call I find I can sit back and see so much deep meaning and influence into the births I am supporting through the season we are in. I see the growth and development of a new parent in perfect synchronicity with the wheel of the year, with the growth and lessons of the seasons, and it really is just incredible. I find myself often feeling each season or Sabbat a baby is born within, fits the growth of the parents so beautifully, and relates somehow to where they are in life. Even more so when i look into their natal charts. I always think to myself, what a beautiful time of the year to be born.
My fourth baby felt as though she fitted our life too in the way she was born. Her body grew inside me from Imbolc through spring and summer to Samhain, when just after the last harvest as the veil thinned for Samhain she arrived. Our perfect harvest. She bought about such huge changes in our lives, changes that without her wouldnt have happened for both of us as parents. Changes that made sense to have roots beginning at Samhain with her birth. When i think of the births of all my children it is interesting how their births can reflect so much, and the season and sabbat closest to their births. Its interesting my third was born at Imbolc, her surges began as I was walking with a dear friend after the Anderida Gorsedd open ritual. It was also the closest Imbolc to my saturn return. Imbolc plays a huge role in my life too, as does deity associated with it, Irish deity, Bridget.
Of course, i can imagine lots of peeps reading this thinking im bonkers, Im wrting it as it flows, I just felt inspired in the quiet early hours on a night shift at work (I work as a CSW on a ward too) to write my thoughts and they became this blog. Im sure you are thinking that obviously changes would have occured drastically in any season a child could have been born but each birth and Sabbat they are near truly holds incredible significance for us and my own personal growth as me, Eva, and with my youngest daughter I can see the growth and effect of a Samhain birth in my partners personal growth and shedding too. Just as i see changes in parents I support syncronise and grow with influences from the season of the wheel of the year their baby arrives.
The summer solstice or Litha is a time of growth, of abundance of life on earth. A time the earths womb is swollen over and over birthing her children...the plants, flowers, trees, mammals, fish, birth...all her children. A time we can eat well with no lack of gifts from her womb. A truly perfect time of birth for our babies too, and for new parents to be born. Born in warmth, with bird song all around.
Admittedly I can find perfect timings in any season to link with birth, and the growth of the parents through the birth within each season. I am a romantic dreamer. But with the fruits of the earths womb birthing life in abundance, how can having a baby now not be perfect?
I often wonder if each birth i support births a new doula within me too. I step outside into the world after being in a sacred place where time has stopped, a space of birth, to welcome a new soul to earth. I emerge into a new day after somewhere between 3 and 100 hours of supporting a family and the world is always different. I am always amazed at the bright new day I enter, as if time never stopped. The world of time opens up again, and not one person in the street is aware of the beautiful new life and new family that has just come into being. But in my heart I know that the earth knows, nature knows, and it feels as if she is celebrating, the sun seems brighter, the earth richer, the birds louder singing for the baby. The earth breathes and the wheel turns.
Each experience is so different and I learn so much, each parent I work with will affect and change how i work too, teaching me new ways to support, because we are all individuals. There is no set way to birth, so there cant be a set way to support birth, apart from to love and hold the space. It comes from how the parent feels and what they need.
To all doulas, parents, and non doulas and non parents reading this, if youve got this far through my jumble of thoughts, Id love to acknowledge you at this time of abundance and growth. May this time fruitful for you. May you shed ideas and skin just as the elder tree blooms and transforms into berries, or the snake sheds its skin in the heat of the sun.
If you are about to birth your baby in this solstice moon, or you are blessed with a new life in your family at this time, take a moment to feel into how precious that is, and what a new life, a birth at this time of year means to you?
Blessed be folks.
Happy Solstice blessings.
Here is a beautful Blessing by John O Donohue to leave you with.
“Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day the blueprint of your life would begin to glow on earth, illuminating all the faces and voices that would arrive to invite your soul to growth. Praised be your father and mother, who loved you before you were, and trusted to call you here with no idea who you would be. Blessed be those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be, blessed be those who have crossed your life with dark gifts of hurt and loss that have helped to school your mind in the art of disappointment. When desolation surrounded you, blessed be those who looked for you and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window in the gray wall formed around you. Blessed be the gifts you never notice, your health, eyes to behold the world, thoughts to countenance the unknown, memory to harvest vanished days, your heart to feel the world’s waves, your breath to breathe the nourishment of distance made intimate by earth. On this echoing-day of your birth, may you open the gift of solitude in order to receive your soul; enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart; know the serenity of stillness to be enfolded anew by the miracle of your being.”