I was so pleased to meet Sarah on a Berlin sidewalk one day in November. It was as if our meeting was meant to be. As I walked behind her, I felt a very strong, inexplicable pull to speak with her. I only knew why when I saw her from the side; she was in her last trimester of her first pregnancy. I stopped her and asked if she spoke English. Absolutely glowing, a huge smile came over her face as she said, “actually I am Canadian”! Big laugh from both of us. I then explained that in the case she was covered under German Public Health Insurance, she had the right under German law to 90% government subsidized, in-home postpartum support after the birth of her baby. For six days, up to eight hours a day.
She was very grateful to learn this.
As we spoke, she relayed her fear of “missing out” on her birth experience because of “…she does not know how it works in German delivery rooms”, and also because her German language skills were “not very strong”.
Still available to accompany a birth as an Exclusive Birth Companion, Sarah decided within days that she wished for me to support her preparation and birth process. During the weeks leading up to the birth, we connected in a very special way.
Already confident that she was a healthy young woman, who knows and trusts her body, she was interested in the guided imagery, breathing techniques, and positive affirmations I facilitated. Her trust in the goodness, aliveness, sensuality and wisdom of the womanly body deepened. At the same time, communication with her unborn daughter grew. I witnessed her blossoming understanding and trust of the birth process, a process which has been fine-tuned for the past 200,000 years of human evolution.
As her due date came and went, eclipsing our original commitment to be on call 10 days before and 10 days after her “due” date, I assured her, I would not leave her “hanging”. Her daughter’s birth began ten days after the estimated date of birth.
She and her husband chose to spend the first phase of birth alone together. As the call came that my presence was wished, I drove to the hospital. Very conscious of respecting their atmosphere, their space as a couple, I carefully eased myself into their presence as considerately as possible. Very quickly we acclimated to being a trio.
As the intensity of the contractions increased, I watched how Sarah’s husband lovingly comforted her with soft encouraging words. Sensing the need for Sarah to stay calm and relaxed as possible, I intuitively approached Sarah, touching her gently on her shoulder and back.
Reflecting on the time supporting the birth of Sarah’s daughter, one beautiful memory stands out; standing behind Sarah, her leaning forward on the bed, with my purple Italian silk scarf draped over her shoulders, massaging her back in-between the powerful contractions.