laughing.moon laughing.moon

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Erica Andrews  A lover.Mother.Lover of the other. Crafter of light, spinner of words. Keeper of sacred space.A portrait to remember your face. Writer Midwifery Today

The high honor of holding your belly. Of being invited into space so sacred, families are made, born, bonded, and loved there. It is something that I am acutely aware is a once in a lifetime offer. It matters not how many have come before you or after you. You, your baby, and your story are unique, never to be repeated, grand in all your differences and similarities, I have the honor of being present for one of a kind magic and it does not move through my life without affecting my soul, without integrating into my self, into my identity. Each motherbaby, each journey into the Labyrinth, each wrinkly little head, each powerful portal of yoni magic, changes me, builds me. You are always and forever a part of my story and I want you to know that I am thankful for you. You took my breath away with your beauty, your strength, your love. I was covered in goosebumps when you reached down for your baby. I fell in love with your family all over again as you were falling in love with each other and the new life in your arms. The room went blurry as I watched through tears welling in my eyes, because your story, makes me emotional and so full of deep, deep love, every single time. I came home to my family, buzzing with love and gratitude and appreciation, for LIFE. No matter if I was with you for 36 hours, I came home full of vitality and inspiration. Your story becomes apart of my story and forever, I am holding you with deep gratitude for the high honor of holding this time and space for you. Thank you mamas, thank you. #gratitude #spaceholder

Today is the day
I’ll tell of a story that has gone untold
of a small child with locks of gold
The date was June 25, 1991
It was hot & humid. Ohio on a summer day
and the sky was filled with the sun.
What a lovely time it was you see
for it was the day
after a special birthday party
This is the tale of the day crazy was defined
a time when motherhood and schizophrenia combines
Imagine with me
a room belonging to children nine and three
Toys scattered here
puzzles unfinished there
one child squatted,
the other looking in the mirror
In walks the mother, a beautiful creature
she is the star in this feature
“Pick up these toys!”, she demands
“I’m sick of this damn mess, I’m taking a fucking stand.”
With a serious snarl she commands,
“Two hours at most, or I’ll turn your ass to toast!”
Now, with a child nine and three
cleaning is not the key
playing is what sets you free
and since this was no ordinary day you see
but one after a special birthday party
new presents added to the amount on the floor
the children couldn’t have asked for more
But as you would guess, the room stayed a mess
When two hours had passed
In walked the mother, with one harsh look you could tell
that her anger had amassed
without a word
she grabbed at the toys littered through the room
like a shopaholic on a free shopping spree
she looked manic and absurd
Now at this point here most would be inclined to think something quite normal but as I have mentioned this is a story about the day reality was smeared
When load after load had been carried away
the nine year old child could not keep her curiosity at bay
She tentatively tiptoed out of her room
to locate where her mother had zoomed
once she reached the kitchen
she heard her step father bitchin’ (Cont below.) #storytelling #healingtrauma

Humility is an aspect of my personality that I have mindfully crafted. I have done so because too often my own ego was the obstacle I found I had to hurdle. But then again, my mindset of remaining humble can also be to my detriment. Finding the balance in believing in your own self worth, loving yourself fully, and giving yourself props, pats on the back, self care days, unconditional love is hard as heck, but I am working diligently everyday to remember to look in the mirror and tell that face looking back that she is loved, that she is safe, that she is worth it and to demand some time just for my self, my sanity, and my growth. So today, today I nourish and flourish and gently remind myself that I AM and that is a beautiful thing. #selflove #tootyourhorn

Hands. Always hands. My heart comes time and time again to the power of our hands. The way they connect us to another, reaching out to ensure survival, safety, comfort. How they envelop with tenderness. Fingers clasped. Hands of lovers. Fingers like plows, moving earth to plants seeds to nurture. Hands of life. Fingertips of masterpieces, tapping out tunes, dancing across strings, playing with light, spreading thickets of paint. Hands of art. As an anthropologist I feel like I am always watching our hands. Watching they way they interact with the world around them. The way they move when they're scared, tense, cold. How they are held in places of sanctuary versus places of publicity. How a person touches their baby. The way a one assists a stranger. The way hands are always finding ways to comfort. They act as a bridge. A transference of energy. Palm to palm, energy moves and intertwines between two sentient beings. It's not just a clasp of hands, it's so much more. #poweroftouch #handsoflove

I'm not sure where to start writing. This experience is nestled inside so many others, like life's own Russian nesting dolls. Holding space as a midwife is five years new to me. November 11, 2011 was my cannon ball splash into the world of midwifing. My first birth as a space holder for another mother. That day I drove off into the dusky golden blues of early dawn and knew I had found myself. Deep within the fabric of space and time were the threads that had been woven to catch me, right here, in the space of birthing babies. So it comes as no surprise that birth works in the most amazing, serendipitous of ways. Fast forward five years to the date of my midwifery beginnings and I receive confirmation that I am right where I am suppose to be, at the seam of here and there, as a keeper of space. This year, on my midwifery anniversary, as I call it, I received the birth call for my first primary birth. As I hung up the receiver I felt the overpowering rush of adrenaline saturating my brain. This was it. This was everything the last five years had been preparing me for. This was what all those amazing families had invited me into their space for, to birth me as a community midwife and my call had come full circle.
My first primary birth shattered all textbook definitions, all expectations, and called upon everything I knew about birth and standing on the other side of this 48 hour labor and birth is a midwife. I am a midwife. This is my calling. #birthofamidwife #communitymidwife (This is a #latergram from November. The month I celebrate my Midwifery Anniversary. I am SO excited to share this birth with you. I am honored to have the trust and permission to invite you all to witness #livinglove. Coming up soon! Keep your 👀on the look out! -love Erica) 📸@alliebphoto

Sometimes holding space looks like this. Quiet, watchful, still. Blending into the fringes, holding intangible time with hearts wide open. Gatekeepers. Respecting the journey, honoring the sacred, witnessing the transformation, the waves and crests, the twists and turns, the love, the breath, the life. 📸:@alliebphoto #holdingspace #gatekeeper #amidwifeandadoula #whatateam

When I return home after Monday morning routines (mommy-daughter morning!) to find my dudes in a cuddle pile 😍#dontforgetdads #papamagic

The power of #touch. It's such an amazing gift that we are are blessed with. Did you know that your touch can boost another's #oxytocin production, creating a cascade of feel good hormones that are working to bond you to them, to ensure your survival and their survival. To ensure your dependence on each other through the undertows of deep love. Touch can ground and center us. Remind us of our path, our strength, our tenderness, or humanness. I often see the power of touch in #birth, when just a simple caress or tender palm resting against flesh brings security and calmness. The para-sympathetic nervous system gets a boost of strength from the energy exchange of a loving touch. This is why it's also important to pick your #birthteam wisely. You will absorb the energy from those in your space and those you have invited to touch you. Choose people whom you know believe in your power, those people whose touch brings you comfort, security. People you trust. This space is #sacred and it is a high honor to touch a mother as she travels into her birth labyrinth. And it is just as beautiful to witness the exchange. #humantouch #midwifery 📸: by me

"Birth can be fun!" Straight from the mouth of a mama 10 days post birth! I have had the honor of being with this mama for all three babies and this was her first time standing up to give birth & she LOVED it! It was an accident as she was only trying to go pee but upon sitting on the toilet quickly realized that more than pee was coming and hopped up telling me "the baby is coming!" As I squatted between her legs, dress and apron draping down atop my head, obscuring my sight of a quickly crowing head, I readied my hands to receive her baby. I asked for her helper to hold her dress up while her husband naturally supported her from behind. She told me today that he asked her if it "hurt more" standing up and she told him, "I can't remember, it happened so fast, I don't think it hurt." 😋 And then she proceeded to tell me how her oldest sister always told her that giving birth was fun but after her first birthing experience where she labored for 30 hours and pushed for two, she wasn't convinced and told her sister she was a liar 😂 but today, she said after this little lady's birth, she sees how birth can be fun! "I had fun, lots of fun!" And there you have it folks, from a third time mom, first time standing up, birth can be fun!! #talesfromtheyoniverse

The heart of the heart of the heart. 💗Getting to hear the wildly galloping heart of the womb fruit ripening under your own beating heart. Two hearts in one form, creating music only you two can make. This is one of my favorite parts of prenatal visits. When it's time to feel for the baby's back and zone in on the heart, the whole family pulls in. Everyone circles around the motherbaby dyad and the energy just vibrates, it's like a giant room hug. Each person who has the honor of being in the circle eagerly awaits their turn (sometimes Dopplers are nice for a quick listen when lots are in the room, but nothing compares to hearing the actual heart beating with a fetoscope!) Did you know that the normal range for a fetus' heart rate is between 110-160 beats per minute! That's compared to the average resting heart rate of 60-100 BPM in adults! Little hummingbird hearts they have! The reason behind their quick beats is due to the tiny size of their hearts, the tinier the heart, the more it has to beat to perfuse the body with oxygen rich blood. For example, a mouse's little heart beats on average 1260 BPM!! And sorry to burst any bubbles but no, you can't accurately predict the gender of your baby based on how quick or how slow their heart beats. 😜 #themoreyouknow #midwifery

3AM: "she says her pains are coming stronger now. She's ready for you." 0340: arrive

0350: mom up to pee

0402: welcome little one (as mom stands in the bathroom doorway.) 0403-0610: postpartum

0640: back home getting kids ready for school.

#likeaboss #justanotherday #butterbirth #whileyouweresleeping #writingthisstoryuprightnow

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