Through our lives, we begin and conclude many journeys, some so powerful and deep it takes years to tread the path and detangle the lessons, others a mere day or minute, a realization, an awakening, an epiphany...
My fifth child was born nearly 8 weeks ago, a Cancer boy by astrological grouping, a Tiger according to the Chinese lunar cycle. Either way, a blessing he is! A strong boy in personality, yet as the youngest, born 12 years after the first, will struggle with finding his place within the family unit.
Since I delivered via midwife, it is expected that I write a birth narrative to share with other mothers, and also as a sense of closure to the pregnancy/genesis of the mothering of this tiny little soul.
Let me rewind just for a quick moment and give some background information, so that the profoundness of Charlie's birth story will be better understood.
I collect Elephants; I have for a few years now. Until last summer, I was relatively unsure of why I was drawn to these magnificent creatures, but just knew that I was fascinated by them and what they represent.
Elephants represent strength of the Feminine; the Child, the Woman, the Matriarchal Head of Family. Also the importance of Family and Fertility. The Elephant is a symbol of the Highest True Self; its symbolism is ancient.
Elephants live in separate social groups of females and male. The female herd cares for and protect the young elephants. The older, wiser elephants use their experience and wisdom to assist the young mothers of the herd with their calves. Elephants, within their herd, depict how close supportive relationships can be maintained between the generations of feminine members of the family, unlike most of human society.
Last summer, during the intensity of what I was experiencing, I began to see Elephants here and there. Items of course, but I felt they were there to direct me, to help lead me, to reassure me, to offer peace and Love during the most difficult time in my life. Whatever the item was, I would purchase it, take it home, place it within my environment and draw from it spiritually. As the months went by, I could feel my soul beginning to calm down, my spirit no longer screamed with every breath the pain and heartache. I began to emerge from the haze of fright and panic that I had bestowed upon myself.
The Elephants were guiding me, which of course were just tangible objects representing Love, God, whatever you wish to call the Higher Power that is there in each one of us. Through tribulation we are never alone, as the poem "Footprints" reads...if we choose to look, to listen, to be still, the answers to our prayers, our questions, are already there.
As the months wore on and I longed to have the chance to have another baby, I found that I was becoming discouraged with each passing cycle, I was feeling defeated and depressed.
One day I came across a little pink Elephant. It was in a bag of stuffed animals I dumped out on a table at the flea market to sell. I had never seen it before, had no idea where it came from. For a few minutes, I left it sit there, people walked by, some picked it up, asked its price...but no one bought it. For some reason I felt so compelled to pick that Elephant up and keep it, so finally I did. I took it home that evening and placed it at my bedside, beside the Laughing Buddha on my table. Since it was pink, I researched the color pink and found that Pink is the color of sweetness – babies, it also can mean highest or best degree of something, the color of Universal Love…stand for beauty, grace and goodness….
I took this to mean that the Universe was beside me, loving me …that the greatest good will be done and, since it is on the elephant, I related that to fertility and family – meaning to me that I would soon have the baby I longed for, so once again I felt wrapped in peace and felt restored.
The following weekend, while on a weekend vacation with my then-fiancé, we happened upon a store that sold collectibles of all shapes, sizes and nature. I found a section of Elephants, and immediately was drawn to a larger statue of a Mother elephant with two babies on her back, her trunk held high. I simply could not walk out of the store without that statue; I could feel the emotion of the mother as she carried her babies. It was that weekend that I conceived my 5th child..one baby on the elephant back represented him, the other is Clay, my angel baby..he will always be with me and that was God's way of bringing it all together.
Fast-forward nine months, to delivery day for baby Charlie - July 6, 2010. The day is progressing without incident, I am feeling good, and things are going smoothly. I am noticing that for some reason the pain isn't bad at all, in fact they have to urge me to go ahead and begin epidural, telling me that my contractions are getting stronger and I should be wanting it soon. At one point, the midwife who was training under my midwife comes into the room and starts talking about this particular labor and delivery room. It has a certain nickname and is the most requested room in the unit when a member of the hospital staff has a baby, not just because of its beautiful view of the mountains. Would you like to know the nickname for this room?
The Elephant Room.
As she explained to me the reason for the nickname, the fact that the mountains look like a mother and baby elephant facing one another, I sat there in total shock at the way God can intercept a moment and flood it with meaning and emotion, somehow bringing together all that has been misunderstood. It all came through me at that point with such clarity, the past year, my journey to this point in my life, what elephants mean to me and how much a part of the journey they have been..It all just came together with a resounding sense of completion. I felt waves of peace and joy wash over me and I realized how profound this really was, a defining moment in my life.
Three hours later my son entered the world, effortlessly, smoothly, like an angel singing a lullaby.
One journey ends. A new one begins.