A Woman's Dream
When I was young, I wanted to be a midwife, but in discovering that my brain is more skilled at concepts over facts, I transitioned from nursing to psychology and went the distance toward a doctorate.
The quiet dream to journey alongside a woman in birth never died, but it was certainly buried underneath the weight of more practical career moves.
And when a very beloved friend informed me of her pregnancy, the voice of teenage Lisa-Marie came from within. “Do you remember my dream?” I felt her again. And I knew that she couldn’t imagine not being an active participant in her precious friend’s journey into motherhood. So, I registered for a Doula course.
And this past week, I spent hours and hours learning about labor and delivery, practicing skills to soothe with my heart, head, and hands, and discovering options to navigate through challenging deliveries.
I enjoy education, but the most riveting moment of this experience, was a found in a woman.
On the last day, my Doula educator, Jacqueline, was asked, “If you won the PowerBall, what kind of birthing center would you create?” And, in a visible transfiguration, light began to shine out of her pores, as she described every single intentional aspect of her imagined facility. She took me on a journey of her dream, and every detail was perfect--right down to the hooks in the ceilings.
And in this passionate moment, I saw another teenage dream remembered.
To witness a woman dream is bliss. She begins with a gritty sigh from her gut. Her head rolls back, eyes to the heavens and heart center open. Her eye lashes flutter. Her vocal cords release the song that her soul wrote. And she begins to paint with her hands. A little of this here. And another splash there. She labors. She grasps for something solid to ground her as she expresses the fullness of her wild spirit. It isn’t well-formed, but it is perfect. Because it came from her womb. A dream she created in private. When she was free from all the noise, the influences of others, and the pressures of practicality.
To witness a woman dream is bliss.
For women, our desires reside in the dark parts of us. The parts we are afraid to touch—too scared to realize, but never abandoned. They are often fearsome, because they reside alongside our untamed cravings, our deviance, our unbridled passion. There is no order in this depth—only the rawness of our fantasy. Riveting chaos. And because of that, sometimes the dreams feel unsafe. We tiptoe toward them—afraid to wake the sleeping giant, unsure of what her roar will sound like and what changes she will require of us if stirred awake.
We are afraid of the labor that will be initiated when the desire rises to the surface of the dark waters after a long period of incubation.
The baby's coming.
It’s time to push.
And, now alive with her dream recalled, Jacqueline, continues to educate on the process of labor. And she softly announces, “Oh, this is just my favorite fact. It is oxytocin, the bonding chemical, that creates contractions. And those contractions are what brings our babies into our arms. But it all started with chemical connection.”
She went on to discuss that, during labor, when the fetus's head pushes against the cervix, the nerve impulses from this stimulation travel to the brain and stimulate the pituitary gland to release oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin then travels to the uterus and stimulates contractions. Oxytocin also increases production of prostaglandins, which increase the contractions further. It is this neurochemical, which is responsible for trust, attachment, and bonding, that induces and sustains enough internal force to send a new life into this world.
And, mother or childless, this is woman:
Initiated by a bond within, a woman builds a bridge from the necessary painful contractions to a dream realized.
In feminine psychology, there are seasons of emotional contractions that will initiate a painful descent into the spiritual underworld—where she will meet herself. In this underworld resides the darkness that also houses her dreams. Her desires. And her power. And the pressure, the agony, the surrendering releases the power that was always within. But it is her intuited bond to herself, as painted by her own chemical magic, that initiated the painful journey within. To birth the dream she buried.
So many of us have willingly adopted measures to stay disconnected from ourselves. The career path. The birth control. The antidepressants. The unprocessed partner. The wrong medicine. All efforts to remain unattached and avoid the initiation process. We know, within the collective unconscious, that this process is painful. We know it will require change. We know it will come with tears. We know we will have to revisit what hurts. We know that we will never be the same again.
But it is the spiritual contraction—the descent to the underworld within—that will birth a new thing. That dream. That true identity. That path of your own.
The holy transition.
To the teenager in me: In the Old Testament, midwife is meyaledet (מְיַלֶדֶת), but in the Talmud midwife is used interchangeablely with chakhamah (חכמה), which means "wise one.” A chakhamah is an educated, highly trained woman who assists a woman in the labor of her descent. You still made it, sweet girl. Just a different setting.
To the teenager in you: Your dream is perfect. You will be safe in your labor. All of heaven blesses you in your honored transition.
Here's the brave act of dreaming.