by Brittany Sharpe McCollum
One woman’s first hand account of her beautiful experience attending a Childbirth Educator Workshop held in Cherry Hill, NJ
My South Philly backyard has become Monterrosso and this cheap glass of Chianti is now straight from the hills of Tuscany. It’s amazing what three days of love can do.
I have always been intrigued by our behavior when we walk into a room of strangers, all seated neatly in a circle. We smile, say hello, then look in our bags as if there is something important in there that we are so relieved to pull out. ‘Ah, yes, chap stick is just what I needed’ or ‘Oh, yes, just checking, uh huh, it’s still in there, no need to bring it out.'(That is my personal favorite) And to think, this was us, when three days later we were spilling tears and sharing stories as we hugged each other goodbye.
It seems impossible to give this time the credit it deserves. It was a space so different from the everyday life of work and even home. I have never before been in a group setting where I felt love from everyone. Not just existence or presence but radiated love.
It’s hard to say whether that feeling is due to the serendipity that led us each to Cherry Hill for those three hot July days or if it is that way for each group in Birth Works workshop. I am sure it stems from both the fate that brings people together and the sound philosophies of BirthWorks that led us all there.
My nature does not position me as the class clown, the center of attention, or the nerd (although sometimes I find myself leaning in that direction). By choice, I am somewhat in between these three. When I was urged to rebirth through the turtleneck exercise by a lovely woman with a longing for the mountains, I said “no,no.” Then I found myself saying “okay”. She later whispered, “I knew it was for you”.
I wriggled. I squirmed. I worked through that tight, dark, warm space like it was my life. And, in a way, it was my life. I pressed myself haphazardly against the rug. Soon I fell into rhythm, a dance. The birthing dance, perhaps, that good old pelvic rocking with which we are all so familiar. And I worked that collar down, down, down, over my hair, over my forehead, over my eyes. And I kept my eyes closed. There was no alternative. I was birthing and that is intense and focused energy. My eyes remained shut until that last piece of sweet-smelling cloth worked its way under my chin. And I could breathe. And nothing felt better than the hug I received, that initial human contact, as my eyes opened upon the room.
It just happened that that day was my birthday. Really, it was. And it just happened that I had been born by cesarean. And it just happened that that exercise occurred to the minute of my birth years earlier. I believe my re birthing has now set free generations and generations of my daughters to come. Yes, lovely woman, that was mine.
We all may not have had that sort of healing during our time together but I do believe that we all breathed a little deeper, felt a little stronger, and smiled a little truer. Imagine if 12 women from around the country, strangers days before, can pour love upon each other, enough to flush the cheeks and raise one’s head, what we can do as a world of sisters pouring love upon one another… That is birthing. That is growth. That is beauty and wisdom. Only good things can come.
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