No woman should be lonely at her birth

I received a letter today from a long lost friend. I have not seen her in years and was not really aware of her situation now. She had been in my life when I was pregnant with my 2nd and 3rd child. She was a newly trained midwife then who arranged a belly cast for my third child, had helped me at a big exhibition, had done early morning yoga with me and had offered to come to the birth if my midwife could not make it. We lost touch when she left midwifery. Her letter has really moved and touched me.

Firstly because it was a “letter” – you know, a real one that comes in the post. Secondly, because she has written it with such raw honesty. Thirdly because I realise now how incredibly fortunate I have always been to have such a great network of support around me when I was pregnant. My friend is not so lucky. She has just moved to a remote part of France and is 8 months pregnant with her second child. She has no family there, no friends, no support network, no phone, no car, no computer and she is terribly, terribly lonely. She wrote asking that I remember her for her blessing way and that if I could send a small token for her to open or receive on that day it would make her feel connected to the “wise women” she has known in her life.

As I read the letter in my small living room surrounded by my 5 noisy boys the tears began to flow down my cheeks. Slowly one by one they stopped what they were doing and asked me what the matter was. I could not get the words out to describe how sad I felt for my friend. The pain was so deep inside me – a pain that a woman can feel for another woman who has been denied the most fundamental support when she is about to bring a new life into this world. Of course she has the support of her partner, but she is missing the loving empathetic support of other women.

I can not be with her for the birth, but I can give her some of my time. With the loving support of my husband I will fly out to spend a night with her, to cook for her, to massage her, to go for a walk, to play with her daughter and to listen to her. All women need love, care and support when she comes to the end of her pregnancy so if you know anyone who is approaching that time, take an hour or 2 to spend time with her, to cook her a meal, to write her a letter, to let her know that you thinking of her. It will mean so much to her. So thank you to my sisters, my mother and my friends who did that for me. It is something I will always treasure.


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