As the women gathered around the table there was laughter. I slid into the last open place at the head of the table, all 8 chairs full. It was unexpected how strongly I felt the warm squeeze in my chest. I had gathered together these women, on this night, in this place so I could share these words. These were the women I worked with every day. Women dedicated to serving the childbearing families of our community just like me.
It had been a year of hard work, uncomfortable conversations, and change. Stress held us hostage sometimes. Like any group of people working together we are susceptible to negativity and resentment fueled by miscommunication. We needed a reminder, a call to attention of sorts to stop and choose grace, kindness, and positivity.
We are still getting to know each other, our work relationships deepening and trust building. Each of us holds the common thread of our commitment and passion for birth, but we also each have a life at home. Lives where we are trying to balance family, physical and mental health, friendships, church and civic commitments. Lives that seem to pull us in all different directions. I wanted to say something that acknowledged that part of our lives, but also to draw us back to the heart of our passion and purpose.
I cleared my throat, “As we near a new year I’d like to take a moment to take pause and share a blessing I’ve written. As a staff we all work at serving other women, but I’ve been thinking a lot about serving each other and caring for ourselves.” I paused to make eye contact with the midwife on my left, who I know I can count on to tear up before the touching moment has even passed. She smiled.
And then I read what I had prepared,
Goshen Birth Center Blessing for 2018
When the world outside seems absurd and unpredictable…
May we see the seeds of love, hope, empowerment we sow in each new family.
When our bodies are weary and our minds buzz full of worry…
May we show ourselves the same care as we do to the women we serve
When our homes are not the refuge from stress that we seek…
May we love and support each other as sisters serving women and caring for each other.
When the future seems uncertain and overwhelming…
May we seek and find the solace and comfort in the reliable rhythm of labor
When our path takes us to new and unexpected places…
May we take each step as it comes with solid strength.
As we enter a new year with gratitude-
Bless our heads as we bend to the work of attending to others
Bless our hands as they work to comfort and bring life
Bless our lips that they speak words of kindness and respect
Bless our hearts as they open and make us vulnerable to joy and pain
Amen, I meant it- Amen. May it be so for the midwives and nurses who serve our local families as we enter a fresh new year.
This post is written by Betsy Black the Administrative Director at the birth center. Betsy lives with her husband and three kids in Millersburg. Fourteen years ago she started into birthwork as a doula, from there she worked in many of the local birth settings with a variety of providers. She is glad to work to support Goshen Birth Center as a high quality out of hospital birth option for our local families.