"I have a map, not a plan"... Mama C, an artist by trade, handed the baffled nurse a beautifully illustrated map of her birthing journey. On it, any given support person would see she had artfully conjured up the Valley of IV, a village, and small shacks throughout the Land of Labor that housed tools that might help the journey go easier.
There was the looming shadow of Mnt. Cesarean on the distant horizon, the peaks of EFM laying just before it, and the shadowy plains of Epidural. There was grass, and foliage, rocks and sand; terrain that was sometimes easygoing and beautiful to behold, other times requiring muscle and dedication, a challenge. There was even a beautiful beach, with affirmations, cresting like waves upon the shore.
She hadn't outlined her route, this was a journey. There were no trails, no roads, and no markers on this map other than a small compass in the corner. The center of this compass was a beautiful silhouette of a pregnant form, one hand cradling her heart and one cradling her belly. This compass didn't give directional North, South, East, and West, but instead were marked with Inner, Outer, Above, and Below. These represented Intuition, Knowledge, Wisdom, and Circumstances.
Here and there, you could see a small shadow of a person throughout her LaborLand. These people were nondescript and had no defining features or clothing - so small that one could imagine more than see the features and clothing of the small shadow forms.
Mama C asked the nurse to chose who she was in LaborLand, and to sign her name below the form. The nurse looked Mama C in the eyes and tears rose in her own, threatening to spill over. She waited a moment, then centered in on a small figure close to the town's limits. Mama C asked who she was. Her nurse, voice trembling, said, "I'm the village grandma; her name's Aubrey. My grandma's name was Aubrey."
She then took a length of tape and taped the map to the wall of Mama C's birthing room.
If you were to look closely, you would see my name scratched beneath a small figure standing alone in the field. My imagination sees that figure picking herbs and flowers, wondering at the beauty all around her. And you would see partner's name below a figure reclining on the beach. He says he is searching for seashells, choosing the most beautiful and helpful words for his beloved. And her doctor is there as well, a figure hidden within the walls of a shack within the town. His name is scrawled hastily, and he said, when writing it during a prenatal appointment, "I'm not important in this journey - not unless I'm needed. So I will stay here at home until I'm called upon."
We are all just journeyers, offered the honor of standing for a moment in the landscape of a Woman's Labor. She forged her own path, and we were given the opportunity to share in her journey, not as guides, although sometimes we were allowed to guide her for a time, but as companions. We were given this honor because we had something she might need to draw upon at different times during her journey - experience, wisdom, love, compassion, knowledge, perspective, tools, or the like.
She traversed her land beautifully, strongly, easily, and in her own timing. It was uncharted territory in which she embraced the adventure of the unknown. She stopped, at times, to visit with us, her companions, but this was her land. Every hill, crevice, plain, flower, and grain of sand bellowed her beauty and power.
"I have a map", she said, "not a plan".