Essential oils, Prayer, and the Midwife Archetype
Midwives care for themselves as they care for others.
Got Any Courage?
Prayer. Changes. Everything. Praying during the holidays brings courage to your heart. Even if you feel fear for any reason, a simple prayer gives you the courage you need to overcome fear. As a nurse-midwife, I had the challenge and honor to be with women as they gave birth. Attending births during the holidays was extra special because family members and friends seemed more ready, willing, and able to help the laboring woman.
There were many remarkable experiences, but one in particular stood out. A woman who didn’t have a partner in her life brought five women with her to labor. This was her first baby so I knew the laws of nature dictated that it would take the baby an average of 24 to 48 hours to arrive. In the hospital, she was expected to give birth much more quickly than the laws of nature dictated. The mother became very tired, and her labor slowed to a crawl. The baby was doing well but was turning in the mother’s pelvis very slowly. The hospital clock ticked and I retreated from the birth room to ask for help and courage from my fellow nurse-midwife. She and I prayed for this new mother and baby throughout my break. We then went into the birth room and offered a back rub with Lavender Lavandula angustifolia and Frankincense Boswellia carterii. In our experience, we knew lavender would relax the mother’s nervous system and frankincense would help center the psyche. The wonderful blended aromas would also influence each person in the room. We used a 2% dilution in an ounce of grapeseed oil. The mother seemed to relax more between the contractions which helped the uterus work to turn the baby more effectively. We nurse midwives even felt better inhaling the light aroma from the essential oil blend.
“Touch is the most basic, the most nonconceptual form of communication that we have.” Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery.
We explained to the five women how the natural process of labor may be influenced by the synergy of the essential oils and how the oils could change perceptions. Under the influence of the midwives’ comfort measures, the mother’s contractions can be more effective in helping the baby turn. Lying on her left side during her back rub, the mother’s labor began to change. What happened next inspired us all.
We asked the women to stand around the bed and pray for their friend and her baby in the silence of their hearts. Most of them closed their eyes as they prayed, one even bowed her head. We too added our prayers for this mother and baby. After some time passed in silence, the mother started involuntary pushing. We all smiled and sighed knowing what was about to happen.
Through the courage of prayer, the power of the midwife archetype, and the physical actions of comforting the mother with an essential oil blend back rub, things changed quickly. To have the Midwife archetype is to know, trust and follow the laws of nature and birth. The labor contractions became stronger, the baby turned and the new mother pushed out her infant awash in the grace and prayers from family and friends. Prayer. Changed. Everything.
May you give birth to prayer this holiday season and experience abundant courage within your heart. May you midwife these prayers to comfort your soul during concerns, grief, and joy this holiday season. To you amazing caregivers and professional healthcare workers, connect with us and let us help you create a Your Prayer Blend as you help others at work and at home during this special and most sacred holiday season.
“Beyond monitoring the physical well being of the mother and child, my role is simply to enable the laboring woman to trust her instincts and ask for what she needs.” Elizabeth Davis, midwife.
The effect of aromatherapy with lavender essence on the severity of labor pain and duration of labor in first-time mothers. This single-blind, randomized clinical trial was conducted on 120 pregnant women in two groups. The results showed that difference in the labor pain before and after intervention in two groups was significant.
The aim of the present systematic review was to evaluate and summarize the available clinical evidence on the antianxiety effects of aromatherapy during the first stage of labor.
Tisserand, Robert, & Young, Rodney, (2014). Essential Oil Safety, 2ed edition. Churchill Livingstone: Edinburgh.
Davis, Elizabeth, & Leonard, Carol, (2012). The Women’s Wheel of Life, 4th edition. Bad Beaver Publishing: USA
Davis, Elizabeth, (2000). Women’s Sexual Passages. Alameda, California: Hunter House Publishers.
https://www.midwife.org/Our-Philosophy-of-Care Model of nurse-midwifery care.
https://midwiferytoday.com/about-us/ Midwifery a profession and a calling.
Thank you to Unsplash for pictures.