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Waterbirth - for the spirit

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Giving birth in water just makes sense to me.

I did my BA in religious studies, and over and over again I saw water as a reoccurring theme in religions and cultures throughout the world. For the Ancients, water was often viewed as a symbol of both chaos and fertility. Christians are not the only group that uses baptism as a rite of rebirth and cleansing. Many Jewish groups baptize as a rite of conversion and purification. Hindus find spiritual significance in bathing in the sacred Ganges. In Islam, washing is deemed necessary before entering a Holy site, and special fountains are usually situated in front of the entrance for that purpose. Nobility practiced water birth in ancient Egypt, and it was thought that a baby born in water would one day become a priest or priestess.

So how does this relate to birth in our time and context? Well, first of all, whether a person is “religious” or not, the birth of a child is a significantly spiritual event in a family. Even if people don’t realize it, becoming a parent changes a person on a spiritual level. It changes the way they think, live their lives, and view the world. Children instill a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, and give us a vested interest in the future. Childbearing and parenthood teaches people about love, giving, and sacrifice. Is this starting to sound familiar?

It makes sense then that water be used either symbolically or physically as a vessel for childbirth. My daughter was born in the water right on the cusp of the Greek zodiac signs Aquarius and Pisces – a true water baby. While I am not a follower of astrology, I can’t help but believe that she was holding out for that birthday. She was 9 days overdue, and I had been begging and pleading with her to be born for quite some time. Perhaps that day meant something to her, or just to me. I suppose I will never really know. What I do know is on that day I was reborn as a woman. I would never be the same. In my arms I held a new life – a spotless, clean slate of possibility and limitless potential. I had entered the waters of chaos, and emerged from my pool a new person – a mother (and a whole different kind of chaos)!

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  • Jill and Paul Colpitts