I wrote this article a few years back. As I study the teachings of Abraham, I am struck with the idea of our constantly being presented with contrast, and out of that we “shoot out rockets of desires”. Looking back on this experience 20 years later, I can see now how powerful these rockets can be.

During the 1980’s while I was working as a community midwife, a young woman having her second baby was visiting me for a prenatal checkup- she was due in a few weeks. I was feeling her belly to see where the baby was lying and was having a hard time determining which end was the baby’s head. We arranged a visit to her doctor, and then for an ultrasound. Imagine our horror, when it was shown that the baby’s head had not formed at all- a rare condition known as anencephaly. Our collective horror stems from the fact that these babies have been referred to as “monsters” in the medical and nursing literature.

This experience led to my writing a letter to Dr. Harry Oxorn MD, an obstetrician, and author of a standard medical text entitled “Human Labor and Birth.” I received a letter back, with his profuse apologies, saying that he would remove that offensive term from his upcoming(1986) edition.

My client had her labour induced, and spent two days waiting for things to be “ripe” to actually go into labour. What a poignant time! Imagine birthing knowing that your baby will die in the first couple days. Add to that the underpinning of having heard and read that your baby is known as an ancephalic monster. Imagine how we all felt, the medical and nursing staff, anticipating that a monster was soon to be born.

On the third day, her waters were “broken” and serious labour ensued. We had many staff during those long days and nights- some sympathetic, some fearful, some critical, “Why did you not have an early ultrasound?” Finally, late on the third day, an 8-pound baby girl was born. The mother had asked me to see her first to let her know how she looked. And, oh my, what a sweet face and rosebud lips, but the entire back of her head was missing with only a small amount of exposed brain tissue. I had brought a pink cap and blanket from home, dressed her, and handed her to her mom. With the hat on, she looked just like a “normal” baby. She died three days later in her father’s arms.

There was a funeral for the baby with many friends and relatives in attendance. Her parents returned home to spend the next few months quietly grieving her short life. I spent many hours both on the phone and visiting them in person helping them integrate this experience into their lives.

It wasn’t until a few years later, while studying with Oxorn and Foote’s “Human Labor and Birth”, that I glanced at the section on anencephaly. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I saw the picture of a baby with the back of its head missing, and read the description of an “anencephalic monster”. I couldn’t breathe and I felt such rage at the inhuman term. I picked up a pen and wrote a letter to Dr. H. Oxorn, care of his publisher.

I asked him if he had ever thought about the fact that most parents start to fall in love with their baby while he/she is still in utero. That the soon-to- be child starts to have a life, a future, and a past all at once before birth. How DARE he and all other writers of textbooks refer to these babies as “monsters”! What on earth could be gained by perpetuating that term? I posted the letter the next day feeling that I had been through a great catharsis.

Imagine my surprise when a month or so later, I received a letter from Dr. H Oxorn. In it, he apologized for not having given more thought to the offensiveness of using the word “monster”. He explained that the term had its origins in the Middle Ages, and certainly had no place in this present day and age. He was in the process of completing a new edition (1986) of his book, and would change it. I wept while reading his letter.

Since 1986, when student midwives, nurses and doctors study birth defects in “Human Labor and Birth” they are not reading about an anencephalic monster, but are reading about a baby with anencephaly. The words we use are very powerful. I encourage parents, midwives, nurse, doctors and others to correct a perceived wrong. It takes the willingness to take pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and to write from the heart. I noticed with gratitude that a baby born recently with “two” heads was not referred to as a monster, but as a baby. I felt that the mother, her baby, Dr. Oxorn, and I had played a small role in effecting that change.

For more information go to http://anencephalie-info.org

I found this little book in my library the other day- I was appreciating how amazing our cells are, noticing how they are always feeling the contrast as we do, and that, given our allowing, working to regain equilibrium. Our being in alignment- looking for better feeling thoughts- allows our bodies to do their work. My work over the years with hundreds of birthing women confirms what Ian Watson says below. My own journey to wellness confirms these thoughts. May they comfort you as well….

    When we do something fully, one hundred percent, it is finished. A fruit that is fully ripened falls to the ground by itself.

    The best midwife does nothing but catch the baby when the mother’s body is ready to release it.

    The best homeopath does nothing but create the space within which a person remembers how to heal himself.

    Ultimately, there is no such thing as cure. There is simply a self- healing process that has completed itself.- From   “The Tao of Homeopathy” by Ian Watson

    I can look back now at conflicts or difficult events that have happened in my life with a new perspective. Those events have greatly contributed to making me the person I am today. Those great contrasts caused me to send out “rockets of desire” as Abraham calls them- as I clearly saw what I did not want, I began to formulate in my mind what I DID want.

    For example, I studied many years ago to become a Registered Nurse. I loved being in the hospital and learning about the human body and helping those who were suffering. But what I really loved most was being where the babies were being born; however, when I witnessed my first few deliveries, I was appalled! What a terrible way to give birth and for the infants to come into the world- what a sterile, cold, and noisy place the “delivery rooms” were- I am talking about the early 1970’s in North America.

    Five years later I had my first child in that environment as there were almost no other options available. Even though I brought my quilt and pillows from home to cozy things up a bit, it was still an “operating room” mentality, and with nurses and doctors I barely knew. Our health care system had outlawed midwives, and had successfully “medicalized” childbirth

    So I experienced the contrast now first hand. I ended up feeling very, very unhappy about the birth experience (not about my lovely firstborn!), and I must have put out quite the rockets of desire!!

    For within the year, I was invited to teach childbirth classes. And within the next 6 months, I was invited to join a fledgling group of parents who wanted to see midwives be allowed to assist birthing families. And within 4 years, I found myself apprenticing with an amazing “underground ” midwife, and for 5 years I studied and learned myself how to be a midwife. And within 9 more years, I was able to be part of, and witness, the legalization of midwives and see them be completely integrated into our health care system.

    Now along the way, I had joy and grief: one of my clients lost her baby during the labour- out of that very difficult experience for us all, came HUGE desires to really see midwives legally practicing. So added to my desire came the desire of these amazing parents who saw the “cracks” in the system we had.

    As a result of many people-midwives, parents, doctors- women can now have their babies at home or in a hospital with experienced midwives. Those babies are now arriving into loving hands, into a cozy environment, and my desires have now been manifested. I no longer have the privilege of attending births, but I eagerly anticipate my first- born daughter (or it may be her younger sister first!) having my first grandchild…….