The healing qualities of water are probably innumerable. A bath itself soothes the muscles and calms the spirit. I don’t give myself enough baths, though we were excited to have a large tub in our house when we bought it three years ago. There is one bath that I have taken here that I hope never to forget.
We were blessed to have a wonderful home birth for our fourth child, a baby girl. Everything went like we had hoped it would — never underestimate the power of visualization . . . and it never hurts to be specific! Our team of midwives worked swiftly and quietly, their headlamps cutting through the dark; I can’t imagine birthing with a better group of women. No one can over-emphasize the importance of a good birth team. Not only should you share your birth philosophy, you should respect and admire each other. I think that’s an element not everyone knows about, but I digress . . . We had a beautiful home birth followed by something almost as awesome. The babe and I shared an herb bath.
The midwives prepared the herbs and drew the water. They helped me into the tub, and after I got comfortable, they presented me my child. We covered her with a towel, washcloth and hat, and I poured water over her to keep her warm. It was quiet as mornings can be, except for the water moving with my motions or the soothing voices of the midwives. I whispered to our new child. I blessed her. I wondered what secrets she knew. I kissed her. I loved her. Then I held her close again against my breast.
The midwives joined me in the room, sitting around the tub like ladies in waiting, though our lady had arrived. Now we could be still and enjoy. I thanked them. One midwife noted the sun — it’s light looked like hydrangeas as it was shaped by the glass blocks behind the curtain. She had taken pictures for me of the baby’s first bath. There were also candles lit, and time seemed to be still, too, for these precious moments.
We held a conversation, the midwives and I, about community and motherhood. I can’t remember everything that was said, but I do remember that I was glad to share this time in my life with them. I’ll happily tell my daughter how blessed she was from the beginning. Our conversation grew quiet, and the water became cool. I knew then that the bath was a part of the birth, too, cleansing and healing, brief and beautiful, momentary.
It would be easy to think I had dreamt it, but it happened, in all its quiet glory and grace. I have pictures to prove it.