I've been working through what was a very emotional weekend. My housemates birth process was one of the more intense experiences of my life. Just being a witness to such an amazing event and all that went into her very special process was exhausting, I can't imagine what it must have felt like from her perspective. I can say that I have never been so proud of a person, never so in awe of someones strength and power and grace, even when the whole thing sweeps you up in such a way that you can't hold on to the tail of the tiger anymore and have to allow yourself to be flung free, hoping you'll land safely. And she did, with a beautiful baby in her arms as well, not too worse for wear.
I'm still recovering in some ways (though not as dramatically as her, of course). Still processing the whole thing. See, I have a hell of a lot of knowledge about birth and have had an abundance of resources available to me in my lifetime. The midwives I am honored to call friends, the women who work tirelessly for safer birth that I am so fortunate to have at the end of the phone when needed, the sheer volume or passionate, caring women who have helped me learn all that I could... they still couldn't prepare me to witness such an event. Even having babies of my own didn't really open my eyes to birth in America. And it frightens me a little, the sudden change in direction to which I feel called. I don't have the resources right now to follow that call, but it's sitting within me, this desire to become more of the solution rather than an innocent bystander who sits on her knowledge and doesn't use it to change things for the better.
Of course, this feeling may fade. I may look back a month from now and wonder where all this passion went. It may be that my sudden desire to change the world comes from the rush of endorphins still spiking in my body. It could be that this immediacy will fade and I will go back to working for theatres where we make pretty plays for pretty rich people. Maybe the two don't have to be mutually exclusive.
I don't know.
I just know that I am changed for what I witnessed. And I think that is a good thing. Now I just have to see where it takes me.