I followed a link from Navelgazing Midwife’s blog to this new birth blog called “Close to the Root”. It’s amazing- she’s verbalizing a lot of things I feel about birth, and defending midwifery, which I feel needs a bit of defending with the unassisted birth movement. Please don’t misunderstand, I 100% support unassisted birth, but I feel that midwifery has a vital place in birth culture, and we still need it. For more, visit Kneeling Woman’s blog, because she says it a lot better than I can. (I need to think on what I want to say more, but right now, I just want you to visit the blog!)
I particularly like her description of why she chose the term “Kneeling Woman”:
“The Kneeling Woman, for those who might be curious, is the original Scots terms for “midwife.” The Gaelic is “Bein Ghluine” and pronounced “Bean Glyan” or something very close. Because I am almost entirely of Scots descent, I decided to look up the term at a moment when I was scanning around for a better metaphor for what I do and am and there it was……Kneeling Woman. The Midwife kneels in front of the birthing woman and family; she kneels in silent prayer to the God of her understanding, and together, they birth a baby. As I continued my search, I discovered that the women who attended the midwife as assistant and student, were the “Watching Women” and what a beautiful illustration of that circle of relationship.”
I got a great visual in my head, of a woman crowning, squatting, giving birth, supported by her partner behind her, with a woman kneeling in a servant pose in front, ready to catch the baby, with three women standing in the background, watching. Just watching. I view that as my role as a doula- to watch, be a witness to this event. Of course, it’s a lot more than that, it’s a lot of hard physical work to support a woman in labor, but in the end, witnessing the event- that’s so important. At least it is for me, as a childbearing woman. I fully support unassisted birth, but I feel a need to have a circle of women around me in labor, to support me, tell me their stories- women who have gone before- to reassure me, love me, carry me through. To watch. To SEE me. See what I’m doing, see the baby. What an honored position to have, to be a Watching Woman.
Anyway, I love the term Kneeling Woman, so even though her blog name is technically “Close to the Root”, she’s Kneeling Woman to me. 🙂