Holding space....in Birth and Death.....
"Birthing well and dying well is a right and responsibility of everyone. It is not a lifestyle option. It is a moral, political and spiritual obligation each person owes their ancestors and their heirs.” - Stephen Jenkins
Birth Doula, Death Doula
holding the space.....
Birth and death are so intertwined... so different and yet so much the same. Many years ago I was reading the book 'Midwifing Death, returning to the arms of the ancient Mother' by Leslene Della-Madre. I had not long before reading the book taken a course in learning to be a birth doula. As I was reading the book I realized that you could replace the words 'the dying' with the 'birthing woman' and the book would still read as it should, it would still make sense and speak truth. I was an avid protector and holder of space for birthing women, doing all I could to make sure birthing women could have the process and journey they needed and desired during birth and the days after, to feel safe and loved and supported. And now, after reading this book I realized it was the same for death.
Just as in birthing, in dying we have also lost a lot. We have lost rights, we have lost knowledge, we have lost ritual, we have lost safe space and autonomy..... and it is time we demand and bring it all back, for the sake of ourselves, our children...our humanity.
As a death doula I help the dying person during the transition from life into death. And although the body dies, I believe that the soul lives on. Even though, death and dying can be a scary and difficult journey for many people. This because we live in a society where dying is not allowed, where death is not something to be seen or wanted. And yet... we all die. And yet, dying can also be a beautiful, soft and even a blissful experience.
I help create a safe space for the dying. I hold that space for them. I hold the space for their process, I listen to their stories, their wishes, their love but also their fears and regrets. I hold the space for the told and the untold, the seen and the unseen. If wished, I bring back the old rituals that our ancestors used in death and dying, bringing peace, trust and a surrendering to the journey.
I support the dying and their loves ones and community in their grief, allowing grief to flow when and where needed, guiding towards the inevitable letting go that we all must do.