“I know the heart of life is good…”

"Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
Fear is a friend who's misunderstood
but I know the heart of life is good..."

I don't think John Mayer was thinking about birth when he wrote this song. But I played it over and over again on my drive home from a beautiful birth last night.

Why was this the song I needed to hear after such a joyous and swift birth? I just knew that this was going to be a powerful week. There was going to be sadness to balance the joy. I could feel the phone call coming...

“Is it normal if you don't feel the baby move at 17 weeks?”

And to think I bought the book about Spirit Babies just the other day. I’d been already preparing for this phone call.

Then, this morning, an email came from another wonderful, powerful woman, spilling over with loss and fear…

The Spirit Babies book was at my left hand, waiting for me to pick it up.

Later that morning, my pager vibrated as I sat having tea with another amazing woman, nursing her five-month old baby, finally shaking free of the fog of postpartum. I made a quick phone call.

A quiet voice on the phone confirmed last night’s fears. My memory flashed to images of her first birth, where she was strong, singing mystic songs in labour. She leaned over a bed, holding onto a desert herb, the kaff Maryam, or "Mary's Palm." According to Arab tradition, the Virgin Mary clutched this herb in her hand while "suffering in childbirth", its branches unfolding as her labour progressed.

On some days, when I’m working with clients, we skim the surface of life, talking about the technicalities of birth, what to expect, our biology, logistics…

But on other days, we’re almost forced to delve deep into the spiritual meaning of this thing called “birth.”

Today, I made phone calls, sent emails, and searched for meaning like someone in the desert searches for water. I need the kaff Maryam in my hand…so I can help these women through the challenges of this week.

I heart was full of Spirit Babies and sorrow only yesterday. Then the call came, and I attended a joy-filled birth overnight. There are so many contrasting challenges in this life. We are given the tools to deal with these challenges. Our hearts just need to be open enough to hear the lessons as they arrive, to make sense of it all, and to remember that “the heart of life is good.”