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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Brielle

Transformative Healing: Embodying the Elements - Flow, Root, Uplift, and Burn

Dearest Birthworkers, Friends, & Family,

 

Every newsletter about our trips seems to sing the same tune – it's a mesmerizing experience to be among individuals with this shared passion, walking this path to improve maternal health, and absorbing the beauty of the land, its people, and their ceremonies. 


We're incredibly grateful for the surge of interest in these programs. To be transparent, we're filling trips even before I get the chance to announce new dates. We give top priority to those who have already applied, so if you're hoping to join a trip in 2024, our advice is to apply now.

 

Now, a change of tune...

 

 A trigger warning: the following text deals with various forms of loss and grief.

 

Wombs of the World’s definition of a birthworker/our tagline is:

"Called to be of Service, moved by the Miracle of Birth, humbled by the Fragility of Life, and fueled by Gratitude." I believe we have all, at some point, been deeply humbled by the fragility of life. 


Recently, I had a conversation with Martha, one of the brilliant midwives we collaborate with in Ecuador, regarding their culture's approach to death. As I've traveled and reflected, I've contemplated how our North American culture tends to treat grief as a lingering wound. Martha shared that death, similarly to birth, is an integral part of life that they celebrate—a sacred portal. She assured me that all I need to do is look to the sky with my questions, as the stars hold all the answers.

 

In Tanzania, we often witness infant loss due to limited neonatal resources in clinics. As a new birthworker, this reality initially traumatized me. Imagining the pain of mothers with empty wombs and arms caused a visceral vicarious trauma. It also compelled me to focus on supporting parents of infant loss during my graduate studies (I recently graduated with my Masters in Social Work!).

 

Even with the most advanced NICUs, stringent traffic safety regulations, medical advancements, or ample expertise, loss happens. Accidents happen. Unjust and inexplicable tragedies occur. And the grief that accompanies it feels personal and utterly unique, despite the universal truth that no one gets through life without the scars of grief.

 

To those currently navigating the profound depths of grief, take it one breath at a time. Don't resist the water—let yourself float. Remember, grief is an expression of love. Your pain may never fully dissipate, but your ability to endure and weave it into the fabric of your daily life will grow with time's transformative power.

 

During my conversations with locals in Tanzania, akin to my discussion with Martha, I learned that death is seamlessly interwoven into their reality—it is accepted. In our culture, we often struggle against death, we fight it with every tool we can. Our culture lacks a social script on how to support those engulfed by loss.

 

So, this letter is my way of extending some love to you as you mourn. I'm sorry that you can't hold your loved ones in your arms. I'm sorry that the endless possibilities of your future have shifted so drastically. I'm sorry that the world will never be the same. 


Joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. My hope is that you can celebrate your breaths, soak up the folly of life, and make the most of this one precious life we are given to live right here, right now. May your grief eventually crack, letting in rays of light, of fun, and allowing gratitude to soothe your aching heart. May you even find gratitude for your pain, for the depth of your grief mirrors the depth of your love.

 

Inspired by a moment with our group in Ecuador, I offer a prayer. My hope is that we learn from the elements and aspire to embody them. May we find strength in the wisdom of the elements as we navigate our paths through grief, loss, and healing. 

 

May we flow like water, bending and reshaping through the ebb and flow of sorrow, demonstrating resilience in the face of heartbreak.


May we embody the steadfastness of the earth, anchoring ourselves in the memories of those we've lost, finding solace in their enduring presence in our hearts.


May we uplift like the wind, carrying our pain into the expanse of the sky, transforming it into whispered stories of enduring love.


And finally, may we illuminate like fire, burning away the debris of grief, making room for new growth, new hope, a testament to the transformative power of healing. 


With Gratitude,

Charlotte



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