People think I do this work for the babies.
For the round and pudgy ones. For the ones with hair. For the ones that have wide eyes and arm rolls.
For the ones that stare into their mother’s eyes intensely and immediately.
For the ones with button noses and perfect pouty lips.
For the ones that fall into their first earthside slumber after finding their mother’s breast.
For the wee six pounders or the hefty nines.
For the curious creatures born of their mother’s flesh.
And all of that newborn stuff is simply wonderful and beautiful and sweet. But it’s not the reason I do this.
Sure, I love babies, but I love women so much more.
Because cute as babies may be, and smart as they may be, babies can’t do what mothers do.
And each time I see what it is mothers do to bring their babies into the world, I’m reminded why I’m a mother lover at heart.
Each time I see it, I’m in awe of the woman who improves over the course of her labour, and instead of faring worse she actually fares better as the contractions grow more intense, surrendering her entire mind and body to the process.
Each time I see it, I’m inspired by the mother who beats the odds and produces a baby who is just so perfectly sized that he or she can both survive this harsh world, and fit down and around her pelvic floor.
Each time I see it, I’m shocked by her ability to miss two nights of sleep, labouring for the promise of reward and relief after a journey with no real break or finite itinerary.
She is up for whatever comes. She not only survives it, but she slays. And she does it with a smile.
And after any one of these experiences my horizons are broadened, my knowledge grows and my heart beats a little stronger. Each time I am all consumed by the experience for a few days, while I try to come down off the high that is my line of work.
And because I speak proudly and passionately when I go out into the world about the amazing memories I have the honour of banking, people are surprised by just how much I love on women and mothers. They are taken back by just how much of my dialogue and my database of topic starters is such.
Because I am a proud woman lover, and maybe that takes some getting used to for some.
But the thing that gets me, is that it’s not ever just about that one particular experience that has transpired that gets me hooked on women, though each and every one is a part of it.
But it’s so much bigger than that.
It’s that every woman’s feat of childbirth is an extraordinary one, and each and every one of us stem from magnificent every day miracles.
So when I’m dousing a tightening belly in the tub with warm water, I’m not only there with her but I’m with my great grandmother, watching as her ankles twitch and toes curl and grasp for a nonexistent comfort at the tub side.
When I’m applying a cool cloth to her forehead, and taking care to push her sweaty tendrils of curly hair back from her eyes, I’m there with my aunt, feeling her heart racing as I apply the cloth to her chest for comfort.
When I’m holding her trembling body as she bears down with the uncontrollable urge that is the second stage of labour, I’m supporting not only her but my own mother, who admitted her fear and conquered it anyway, giving permission to her body to draw from ancient wisdom she never knew she had to bring a breathing babe into the world.
I’m not only with one woman in these times, but I’m with a personal friend or I’m with my own family. That’s how big this is for me. That’s how profound my love for the experience gets.
When I support a woman in birth I am reminded of my sisterhood- for a line of women whose strength, courage, knowledge and commitment to the unknown brought me to the place I am today.
And for that I am grateful.
So grateful, I am not scared to admit what so few are willing to say out loud, what so many consider to be an extraordinary statement, but what I announce so proudly; Yes, I love babies, but I love women more.
And it’s not political or extreme. For me, it’s just common sense.
I appreciate women because we all come from one.
I am proud and happy to exist in this world. And for each and every one of us who is, who is making their mark on the world in a big or small way, for each of us who struggles and thrives and learns and grows, there’s an undeniably magnificent woman to thank for that.
And that is pretty extraordinary.
So I’m a woman lover, and it’s not surprising at all.