As midwives, we use many tools. Most of them are of the simple variety–fetoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes. But I have noticed the focus for me, on using a tool that is way more simple than any of those things. This tool is, however, more sensitive than anything made of steel or rubber. It is also amazing that this tool can tell me a ton of information not by what it physically detects but in the way this tool communicates with the “unspoken”. Can you guess what it is?
Our Hands. Los Manos. Les Maines. Whatever your translation is for the wonderful, perceptive tools that we all have at our disposal. Even as a mother, I realize how valuable touch is. I can use my hands to sense a fever, or even just sickness in general in my children. With practice, we can use touch to decipher someone’s emotions or energetic state. And as evident by my recent plane trip, complete with a security “pat down”, we can also use our hands to communicate our uncertainty, our doubt and even to communicate distrust or fear. Powerful, powerful tools they are–these things that “feel” beyond the sense of touch, and who are also able to communicate our own emotions and energy to those we touch.
To massage therapists, or other body workers, this concept is nothing new. As a midwife, there are clinical skills that can be taught from one midwife to the other. But, I don’t think the more intuitive use of the hands is something that can be taught easily. However, as a midwife, I feel that I discover something new that my hands can do each day, and what I learn (and keep learning) is that using MY hands is its own skill. Meaning, it would have been hard for anyone to really tell me how my hands work, or what to be looking for upon laying them on a mama’s belly. Yes, palpating for position can be learned–but feeling into what that baby may or may not be feeling energetically is a whole different matter.
That’s not to say it’s all cake when I am able to do that. I realize that this kind of touch requires a lot of trust; and some days I am still working on trusting what I feel and respecting it even when it is not what I “want”. It’s happened a few times where I’ve laid my hands on an early-pregnant mama and intuitively, instinctively, energetically known that the baby in there was no longer. I’m not perfect, and I’m sure there will be many times when my hands don’t catch something. But learning to hear that voice inside, that voice whose hands these are, and learning to continually use my hands as “energy sensors” is a skill I will continue to develop as a midwife.
Our hands can also assist us in ways we wouldn’t dream of. Literally. I had this dream a few days ago that when I laid my hands on a client’s belly, I could literally see into her uterus. Like an xray of sorts, but being a dream, I could feel that I was being shown so much more. Call me crazy, but I took this a literal sign as something that I need to pay attention to with this particular baby. Nothing bad, and I’m not making any kind of prediction. Just a little heads-up to use my hands and my heart when seeing this baby gettin’ ready for coming earthside. Maybe even just a little conversation between baby and me. But my hands told me first.
As in my security/airport example, I think it has to be said that our hands can communicate not only love and honor and respect and a true desire to intuit and learn…but, also our fear and uncertainty. Because the truth is, I can’t see with xray vision inside a womb:), and truthfully, I wouldn’t want to. But what I can do, what IS in my power upon laying my hands on this belly is this. First, I always ask the mama if I may touch her baby. Aloud, I talk to baby and ask baby how’s it going in there. I make sure to tell baby (and mean it!) that he/she is growing big and strong in there, and that all of us out here love him/her and are waiting for the day baby makes an entrance. But then also, using my hands, I have a little “soul to soul” conversation with baby, if I need to. Just touch. Just gentle touch with as little energetic interference I can muster. I don’t want to convery anything about me, personally, to this baby, necessarily. It is not about me. Although I do believe that babies choose their midwives (or doctors, and mamas, dads, etc.)….But, I am always sure to add, as my hands are there, feel free to tell me anything you want me to know, baby. I am here to serve you and welcome whatever it is you would like to say.
So, upon reflection, I suppose the old adage “heart and hands” is really what I am after. But because most midwives lead with their heart, I think we could all be reminded that our hands are just as, if not more, important to our intuitive growth as healers.