Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisdom From the Crone

In this quarter's California Association of Midwives newsletter there is a wonderful new section entitled, "Wisdom From the Crone". This month's featured crone was the beloved midwife, acupuncturist and woman extraordinaire, Raven Lang. She talks about how midwifery, when she was coming of age as a midwife in the 1960's and 1970's, was yet to even have a name. That women felt a strong calling to it, to be held in sisterhood with other women, a vocation that often went unpaid and unsung. They followed their passion with great energy and drive, sometimes at the cost of their personal lives, such was their commitment to serving women.

I have a well loved, dog eared, highlighted, ancient edition of Myles Textbook for Midwives. In midwifery school, I relied on this book more than any other for guidance and explanation. I would (and still do) run home after a birth to look something up or confirm an explanation floating through my brain. More than any other book, I found the British no nonsense, cut and dry approach to midwifery refreshing and without dogma. We Americans tend to be a sentimentalizing bunch, midwives included. Myles's book was just birth plain and simple.

Which is why I was so dumbfounded to read how a few years before I was born, the midwives here, did not have access to this great midwifery text. Raven talks about how this type of global midwifery knowledge was just unavailable to the midwives at that time, some of whom didn't even have a phone line! I find this incredible, and quite humbling. To actually learn from birth itself, from women and babies, what a thought!

What a great debt we owe our teachers and the phenomenal women who have come before us. They have smoothed the path for all who have benefited from midwifery, students, midwives, women, fathers, babies, etc... Here are some more choice quotes from Raven Lang in response to being questioned about what we could do to help the Earth as midwives:

  • Grow one's own garden and help others do the same
  • Eat whole foods, buying them from local sources, and to shun corporate foods and packaging.
  • To remain connected to the moon and the power and integrity of nature.
  • To stay deeply connected to the cycles and power of the earth and its place in our universe.

How's that for career advice? She also advises young midwifery students:

  • To put their family on the front burner and their profession on the back
  • To work in pairs or teams so as to avoid burnout.
  • To continue learning and never stop teaching.
  • To strive for personal balance daily.

A midwife midwife-ing midwives. Now that's a midwife!

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