A Bird’s Eye View Into Pleasurable and Ecstatic Birth – Welcoming The Arrival Of Cherry Blossom

I don’t often blog about the births of my clients but when I do…

Welcome to the world, Kalesia.

On the eve of May 17, I was lucky enough to watch the wild becoming of Sasha as she went from maiden to mother. With the complete and total support of her devoted partner, Sasha danced her baby into the world with a power that left me speechless.

Kiaran, her partner, describes the experience beautifully.


A lioness, atop a crimson alter,
Wild, open, creation all about her
Carnal conduit, ethereal,
Stargate- portal, cosmic- surreal
Moving with each wave, in exaltation
Ancient gateways spring forth, soul incarnation.
In this sacred space.
Her every move, an expression of
divine grace.
Every breathe, expansion, infinitely-connected
To bring our star-seeds’ soul safe passage.

And boy, does his eloquent choice of words do the moment justice.

I have seen many truly physiological births but to see one so unhindered and so primal has given me renewed conviction in my beliefs.

A belief that each woman is uniquely incredible and amazingly capable of pushing beyond the limits imposed by our minds & the systems we have in place.

A belief that intuition and instinct are remarkable sources of wisdom should we allow them the opportunity to function in their full power.

A belief that every human being should have the right to choose the type of birth that feels right for them.

A belief that, should they desire to, every woman have the opportunity to birth without the presence of prying eyes, bright lights, interventions, stress or trauma.

I believe that women are strong; real strong. And I am kinda addicted to watching the moment they realize it for themselves.

Labor was spontaneous with a small show of mucous plug loss. A short 6 hours in length, each ounce of energy spent was used with reason; each second of pain or pleasure had purpose. I have never seen a birth so rich in ecstasy. Both hormones and love came together ferociously, binding both Sasha and her partner in a trance like state of connection.

Sasha exhibited animal like signs; self cleaning, smelling, pacing, roaring – I cried and watched in awe because in the deepest parts of me I couldn’t shake the feeling that this is exactly how nature intended birth to be and yet it was so seldom seen.

I cried because the women who wanted this type of birth couldn’t always have it.
And I cried because I was so happy that Sasha and Kiaran could experience it for themselves.

Kalesia was born between a rush of surges and smiles across her mother’s face. Deep, sultry breaths and lots of self stimulation (and coconut butter!) really helped to keep the perineum soft and stretchy.

In a few quick moments, she joined us earthside, en caul. Sasha & Kieran instinctively cleared her face and airways and held her close. Being an experienced midwife/nurse and paramedic, they felt very confident managing labor on their own should they birth at home – and they did an unbelievable job of it. When two educated, consenting adults have faith in the birth process and their bodies; it is a true sight to see.

Kalesia was born from a place of power, of knowing and of love. I could see that imprinted on her delicate skin the moment I saw her. Her eyes, looking up at mum & dad as if to say,

“We did it. We did this. Together.”

Angela Gallo
Melbourne Doula & Birth Photographer
Birth Business Coach and Teacher

Keep calm and kegel on – How BWom is changing the way I self care

Prior to having babies, I had absolutely no freaking idea just how much my body would change after childbirth.

In fact, I am currently sitting in a cafe cursing at my sacroiliac joint, lower back, coccyx and hip joints. Frustrated, I find a twisted comfort in the fact that one third (!!!) of all adult women who have been pregnant or given birth suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.

“At least I am not alone.”

If I am being honest, when it comes to my body after babies, the last few years have been interesting, to say the least.

Post-natal depression, loss of libido, pelvic floor pain, urinary incontinence; I suspect that if I knew this is what aging post baby-making felt like, I may have thought a little longer and a little harder about falling pregnant. Sure, the trade off was two freaking amazing babies but surely I couldn’t/can’t feel this way forever?

Earlier last year I wrote a blog post about my experiences with jade eggs and a nifty phone app I found called B-Wom. I saw so much improvement that arrogantly stopped using both thinking my problems were solved.

But just like those people who interrupt a course of prescribed antibiotics because they think they’ve gotten better, I realize I shouldn’t have done that.

None of us can afford to let our intimate health slide; I unfortunately had to learn this the hard way.

So when I heard B-Wom released an update with an in built coaching option, I felt it my sign from the universe to smarten up and get serious about my issues. Just like any healthy routine (food and exercise), it is necessary to stick to your habits in order to really benefit from a certain quality of life. Healthy routines relating to your pelvic floor are no exception. I know that personally, I need that accountability and kick up the butt – maybe the coaching option could be just that?

I know many of you are in the exact same scenario as I. This is a MASSIVE reason I consciously partnered with B-Wom. In fact, it was following the traumatic birth injuries of a mama I worked with that really prompted me to knuckle down in bringing this app to you more publicly. I downloaded the upgrade and was immediately stoked on what I found.

I wanted to give you a fair review of the application, chat about what it is about, what it does and how it has benefitted me. If it inspires one of you to improve the quality of your intimate health even just a little bit, it would make this post all the worth while.

How does the app work? Well firstly, it is available to both Android and Apple users around the world, in a number of languages. Once downloaded (for free, BTW) you are asked to create an account and answer a few questions that will help the software determine your specific needs and create a profile for you. From here, it creates an initial plan for you, for free. A set of 12 exercises that are set up so you perform one exercise a week for that specific plan. For example, one of my plans was for perineum care, another for urinary incontinence, another for strengthening my abdomen and another for bettering my sex life. Each week I was given a specific exercise for each of these. Once you complete the initial freebie plan you are offered a general subscription and/or the option to purchase the coach.

As I said before, I needed the accountability so opted for the coach this time around (on top of my regular plan). Yes, you pay extra for this but it literally costs a few dollars a month. A heck of a lot more discreet, affordable and convenient than finding an in person pro to help.

Once signed on to the coach option I was asked even more detailed questions which left me feeling really impressed. Think of it as a Siri for your vulva! I felt that with the information I provided, I was bound to get a fantastic tailor suited routine to compliment my existing plan. (It felt a lot more personal than the original plans I used). And yup, sure enough I did. The coach developed several weekly ‘good habit’ routines for me.

Week 1 – Habit -> Protect your pelvic floor
Objective -> Prevent urine leakage when you cough and strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent urine leakage
Week 2 – Habit -> Bladder training
Objective -> Stay in shape without damaging your pelvic floor and strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent urine leakage
Week 3 – Habit -> Bladder training (Repeat just stronger and with different muscles)
Objective -> Stay in shape without damaging your pelvic floor and strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent urine leakage
Week 4 – Habit -> Avoid nocturia (getting up at night to use the bathroom)
Objective -> Strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent urine leakage

Each day I was given a variety of kegel exercises that worked with the routine in question. On top of this, my coach prompted me every day with fun facts, questions and reminders to take notes in the notes section. (So good!)

To make the most of my daily exercises, it is critical to follow through with your regular plan, too.

Mine includes a brilliant mix of moves that has got my pelvic floor feeling like Mick Jagger!

Urine leakage prevention, preventing pressure in the vagina, having sex without discomfort, bettering my belly, caring for my perineal scar and more.

My favourite part? The juicy section on increasing my sexual pleasure. A separate plan that is chock a block with f*cking fabulous practices (hellllllo erotic massage) and techniques (can anyone say sexy hypopressives and sensory butterfly kegels?) This is the section that has got my full attention at the moment – totally not surprised if it gets yours, too.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, B-Wom have integrated a Blog section that I am crushing on. You get direct access on the app to articles like, ‘4 Ways To Avoid Stress and Maintain Hormonal Balance‘ and ‘Everything You Need To Know About Vaginal Prolapse‘.

These are exactly the kind of conversations we need to be having but unfortunately, many of us are too damn embarrassed or shy to get the resources and help we need. I really, truly think B-Wom is going to revolutionize self care for women in the post partum period and I am excited to see where they take this.

B-Wom was kind enough to give y’all a discount in exchange for me talk about my experience. Use code BWOMWW and that will grant you 25% off monthly subscriptions to the coach option. Seriously, just do it. Use the code and get better.

The only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.

xxx

Due Dates and The Folly of Naegele’s Rule – Why Your Due Date Shouldn’t Be a SureFire Eviction Notice

Due dates – love them or hate them, as a Doula, I just can’t seem to avoid the question that’s on (almost) every woman’s mind.

‘I’m 40 weeks. But where’s my baby?’

This question is then usually followed by a frantic,

‘My health care provider told me that my baby is going to die/my amniotic fluid will dry up/baby will turn into a dry prune/my placenta will stop working/I will be pregnant forever, and the only way to avoid all this risk, is scheduled induction or cesarean.’

But what you most probably didn’t know, is the books from which your health professional studied; everything he/she learnt about due dates, is fundamentally based on a formula created in 1812.

Yup, you read that right.

1812.

******

From the first moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she either fantasizes or frets about her (eventual) day of labour. Her excitement carries her to the office of her OB, or her Midwife, where they ask you a few questions. Pretty standard stuff, really. But then they get you to pee on a stick, and ask you one seemingly un-important question.

‘When was the date of your last menstrual period?’

I shit you not, that from this answer, with a few twirls of a generic EDD fancy spheric calendar, they set your baby’s expiration date/eviction notice. Just like that, set in stone.

‘Angela – your baby is due here on August 5th.’

Awesome! There’s a date. That’s when I’ll meet my baby! Cool. I’m blinded by excitement at this stage, oblivious to the impact my LMP has had.

*******

Fast forward to my dating scan. I’m sitting in a room with the grumpiest ultrasound technician I’ve ever come across. I’m just so delighted that I get to see my baby’s face, and hear his little heart, that I pay no attention to his lack of professionalism or interpersonal skills. For all I care, he can take his negativity and put it where the sun don’t shine. What I don’t know, is that he is half heartedly “measuring” my baby in a hurry, distracted with thoughts of coffee and turmoiled relationships. What I don’t know, is that he is putting those seemingly reliable measurements into a computer, that will then be put up against the averages in size/weight/growth. From there, this machine and system (that is notoriously famous for it’s inaccuracy) will apparently confirm the exact age/sex of my baby.

It is here, unbeknownst to me, that I’ve been sucked into the madness that is the due date rodeo. From a couple questions about my age & weight & the date of my last menstrual period, and a trip to the pee-stick boutique – somehow, you led me to believe that you can predict, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when my baby will arrive. And that you know better than my body’s biological clock, and my baby’s biological clock.

Humph.

**********

Fast forward to 38 weeks. I’m being booked weekly visits, sometimes two per week. I ask about the excessive appointment dates in advance. Isn’t it a bit of over-kill? I’m repeatedly told that ‘this is what’s best for you and for baby’. I shrug. It’s my first baby, I don’t know. I mean, they know what they’re doing right? Plus, I’m just so excited to meet this baby, I’m just about ready to agree and nod nicely to everything. But then it starts. At every single appointment, induction is discussed.

EVERY single one. It then starts to feel like these appointments were created just to invite me in, to schedule in an induction. I feel uncomfortable. And then I feel worried. I am made to feel scared. From the information gathered at TWO appointments, my health care professionals have decided they KNOW that baby is due now. And that waiting beyond 40 weeks, puts my baby & I infinitely more at risk. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. Why is he trying to terrify me? Where has he got this information from? At this stage, I am trying so desperately to hold onto my mama instinct, and fight for my bodily autonomy. No. It doesn’t feel right. Sorry, thanks for the recommendation but I am waiting for labour to start spontaneously. It’s now his turn to be frustrated. He tells me, ‘ Well, you can’t be pregnant forever. And anyway, we get really busy at the hospital, so we need to book you in advance to be induced. It’s a matter of resource management. We can’t have everyone having their babies at the same time.’

What the f*ck?

I go home. Feeling defeated. And even feeling guilty. Yes, he was that good with the mama manipulation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s not a bad guy – but where on earth is he getting his information from? What evidence based research? What science? How can you tell me exactly when my baby is due to be born, if you don’t know my body, when it ovulates, what my menstrual cycle is, or isn’t; nor the exact moment I fell pregnant. How can you accurately assess risk, if you aren’t painting a picture with crystal clear information, that you’ve derived from women, on a case-by-case basis?

The stress of this ‘due date’ and taunt of induction was enough for a first time mama to go mad. I then came across the folly of Naegele’s Rule. The very study on which obstetric medicine & practice is based.

********

If you are expecting a baby, mama’s, PLEASE, be kind to yourself and read the article linked above. It is incredibly important for women to understand the flawed theory behind all EDD related hospital policy & care recommendation.

I am not a medical expert, nor an expert of women’s bodies or expert on birth. But I know logic – my heart flows with an instinctual understanding of pregnancy & birth. You due date is nothing but an educated guess. Yes, sometimes right. Sometimes so very not. It creates anxieties where there should be none. It creates disconnection between mother & her body, mother & her baby. It perpetuates the belief that a woman’s body is broken, and that we need it governed by a third party. That we need our births managed, micro-managed and then some.

Everyone is so eager to tell you the risks of going ‘over due’, but has anyone recently explained the risks of wrong dates, prematurity, underdeveloped brains & lungs, underweight, unable to regulate temperature, failed inductions, dysfunctional labours, unnecessary caesareans, breastfeeding issues, physical & emotional repercussion from forced labour?

Medicine is amazing. But you know what, by nature it is flawed. Sometimes, the people we trust fuck up. Not because they are terrible people. But often because they are stuck in a learning cycle that is stuck in it’s ways. EDD is a classic example of something that needs addressing desperately, by so many medical bodies. As a first time mom, I was naive. But now I know better, so I do better. I ask questions. I do my research. I listen to my body. And so should you.

All my love,
Angela Gallo
Melbourne Doula, Birth Photographer & Birth Business Coach
www.angelagallo.com
angela@wombwarrior.com

P.S Want to work with me? Head HERE for more info!

Babies are people, too – why we need to consider the emotional well-being of just born babies in the birth space.

It seems that when it comes to modern birth culture, the general theme seems to be “All that matters is a healthy baby.” Now although for the most part this statement is filled with the best intentions from well meaning people or professionals, I have seen it used over and over again to emotionally manipulate or corner women and their families into following their care provider’s policies or agenda. And you know what, this isn’t even the part that pisses me off that most. What frustrates me is the general disregard for baby’s emotional well-being throughout the majority of pregnancy and birth. Or the general disregard for the possibly mega negative imprinting any trauma, aggression, brightness is pushed onto defenseless bubba.

“Do you think babies like being born?”
“What do you mean, like to be born?”
“Exactly what I said. Do you think children are
happy to come into this world?”
“Happy? But a newborn baby doesn’t feel anything.
So it’s neither happy nor unhappy.”
“How do you know that?”
“Well, it’s obvious. Everyone knows that.”
“That’s not much of a reason, is it?”
“I suppose you’re right. But all the same, they
don’t really see or hear properly, do they?”
“And that makes you think they don’t feel anything either?”
“Of course, they don’t.”
“Then why do they cry so bitterly?”
“Well, that’s to expand their lungs, isn’t it?”
“Expand their lungs! That hardly explains it.
My goodness, don’t tell me you’ve never heard a
newborn baby cry!”
“Yes, of course I have. But that doesn’t necessarily mean
he’s suffering.”
“Do you think he’s expressing his pleasure, his delight at
being with us?”
“I don’t think it’s either of those things. I
told you, babies don’t feel anything.”
“And what makes you so sure? If I may ask once more.
“Well, for a start, they’re so small. I mean, at
that age …
“How can an intelligent person like you say that!
As if size had anything to do with it. Small!
As for age, have you forgotten that, the younger you
are, the more intensely you feel? Young children
suffer agonies about things that seem quite trivial
to us because they feel a thousand times more than
we do. This is the blessing and at the same time
the curse of their heightened sensitivity.”
“Well, you could be right. But, all the same, it’s
still hard to understand that they can feel, I mean
there is no real consciousness at that stage, is there?”
“Consciousness? You mean they have no soul?”
“No, no. I don’t mean a soul. I don’t know anything
about the soul.”
“But, consciousness? You know about consciousness?
Wonderful! At last I have found someone who can
explain this great mystery to me. My friend, I am
on my knees. Tell me, please tell me. What is
consciousness?”
“Well . . . actually . . . well, you see,
well . . . consciousness . . .”

Confronting, isn’t it? This is an excerpt from a book that moved me very deeply when I first begun my career as a Doula. Frederik Leboyer’s ‘Birth Without Violence’. It challenged so many of the birth policies in place at the time ~ 1975 ~ and caused major controversy amongst professionals. Controversy that is still rife today.

It wouldn’t take much digging to see what childbirth has looked like in the last 60 years. Artificial hormones, distress from forced induction, forceps, vacuums, pulling, yanking, flipping a baby upside down, slapping bottoms, swinging baby around, bright lights, ice cold rooms, isolated nurseries, desperate cries, circumcision, forced feeding schedules, separated from mother and the only place it knows….actually, birth and new life as a newborn has been a very violent place, for a very long time.

Unfortunately, many of these acts continue to exist. Regardless of whether they are deemed necessary or not, regardless of it being in the context of genuine emergency, Leboyer said it well when he said it remained violence none the less.

You see, for a very long time, there has/was/is this deeply rooted (and absurd) idea that babies feel nothing. That suffering, pain, joy…neither of these can possibly be experienced by a being so small and so new. Absurd, right? An outdated thought similar to the way we look at animals as non-sentient beings only because they cannot speak our language even when their emotional and body language is undeniable.

Our culture tends to look at baby in two ways – simply that baby is dead or baby is alive. And by narrowing our perception into these two tunnels, we’ve allowed ourselves to ignore the very real possibility that our children are growing up suffering the long hard haul of a hardcore limbic imprint.

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova from Birth Into Being explains, “Limbic imprinting is the inborn capacity of the nervous system to absorb and memorize, on a cellular level, all of the information from its surrounding environment during the early formative period– the moment of conception through 9 months of gestation, birth, and the first few years of life. Every fluctuation of the mother’s hormonal, physical, emotional experiences are registered by the fetus and non-cognitively recorded in its developing nervous system. These early impressions and sensations remain with this person throughout their entire lifespan.”

One can only begin to fathom the impact from a traumatic, overwhelming or stressful birth on a newborn baby.

What can you imagine happens to baby in a system that views it as an emotionless vessel?

In his book, Leboyer went into great detail about the suffering of newborn babies. How their cries and physical cues were actually to show great distress or sadness and that approaching birth with more better (and more gentle intent) was the new way forward.

He saw babies as more than just a living being. He saw them as complex creatures, capable of feelings of all kinds, worthy of consideration. The same consideration you would bestow on any person going through such a physical, transformative, life altering journey.

I have seen truly gentle births, even in emergency situations; it is possible and it is wonderful. Ultimately I would love to see an overhaul of maternal care – one that is well and truly concerned about more than ticking the boxes for their insurance policies; a system that places the vulnerable and sensitive cores of birthing people and their babies at the forefront.

I believe babies are people. They have the right to bodily autonomy, respect and care on a greater level than just being kept alive. How about you?

Keep the conversation going with me on Instagram or Facebook!

Angela Gallo
Melbourne Doula & Birth Photographer

How Motherhood Taught Me The Agonizing Truths Of My Mortality

Growing up, I was notoriously unpopular with the Italian community I grew up in. My family was pretty hardcore Neopolitan – I learnt to play soccer before I could walk! The status quo demanded minimal risk taking, saving for your mortgage at 16, being married by 20, babies by 25. My dad was adamant I adhere to the ‘plan’, unless I became a pro soccer player then I was pretty much free to do whatever. My grandparents, bless them, just as confused at my general disinterest in living my life in a box. So when I left home to live in Hawaii, alone, at 16, they nearly had a heart attack. Unphased, I packed and off I went to explore at every chance I had.

My grandmother (who doubled as my best friend/wise woman/straight shooter/crone) and I chatted regularly throughout my travels. About everything and anything mostly, but each time we spoke she would ask the same question.

“Aren’t you scared?”

“No? Never. Not once.”, I replied.

I got lonely, I missed the people I cared about, sometimes I felt worried or overwhelmed. But never scared. I guess she hated that answer because she would immediately follow it with 3 mega Nonna accented, “But-ta how? But-ta why? But-ta why you no come-a home? Why you no a-fraid?”

Upon further reflection, her reactions made total sense.

My grandmother was so afraid of crashing her car and dying, she refused to drive one. As in, I have never seen her drive a car. A fear, of which you can imagine, was incredibly stifling.

My grandmother was so afraid to perish on an airplane, she never once returned to her home country following her arrival in Canada. Never to see her family again.

I looked at her fears, how they crippled her. It made me so sad to see her live a life that was so burdened by heavy worry. And the truth is, she always looked sad, always looked worried. Her fears actually scared me out of ever letting my own fear dictate my life’s journey. I could die at any given moment but I was more afraid of missing out on a life well lived. I tried to explain this logic to her and I could tell that although she didn’t necessarily understand my fearless nature, she enjoyed living vicariously through me.

At one stage, she stopped trying to convince me to come home. She laughed, she loved me and every inch of my wild little heart.

Years passed, things changed. My grandfather became very ill, dying only to leave my grandmother alone and heartbroken. The last time we spoke she wasn’t feeling very well and I vividly remember feeling very worried for her. This was the only time in many years of travel I felt selfish and confused. I asked if I should fly back to Montreal but she insisted I don’t and that I have fun.

One sunny day, I found myself walking down the CBD in Melbourne. Another big adventure in a new part of this big world. Excited to share my stories, I rang my Nonna only to find out she had passed in the night.

I felt a blow to my chest that stopped me in my tracks on Bourke street. This would be the first time in my life that death would felt real to me and I suppose that this is how most young people who feel invincible are reminded that they too, have something to fear – when those they love start to die.

My naivete became abundantly clear to me in the days following her death. I closed up. Retreated within myself. Not even making my way to the funeral because I couldn’t bear to see her. I imagined her body lifeless, it broke me. I hated what I felt and I chose to hate death for robbing her from me. Should I have succumbed to the anxiety, I too would have been crippled. So I avoided it. I avoided death and that is how I coped. This is how I chose to hold on.

Life resumed, adventures continued. To Thailand. Malaysia. Singapore. London. Mexico. The Dominican Republic. To Australia, again & again. Avoiding the idea of death kept me free from the constraints most people were commanded by. And this is how I liked it. This is how I felt safe. Even when people I cared for began to die around me – I lived boldly and fearlessly in their honor.

But seeing as death is death, and there is nothing more certain than a beginning and an end for each of us, the day came where I had no choice but to meet that truth.

And so I did, in the most agonizingly beautiful of ways…

The day I became a mother was the day I could no longer escape the realities of my mortality.

The births of my children were unbelievably remarkable human experiences, transforming me from the inside out. Feeling the most alive I have ever felt, exploring realms of consciousness and physical feelings unseen to the eye. Palpable feelings of new life, I felt strong and like I had defeated my sworn enemy, you know, he who must not be named…Death.

I had a moment that looked like me being the kid in class sticking out my tongue at his teacher, shouting, ‘Na Na Na Na, I win! I beat you!’

But holy shit balls was I wrong, so fucking wrong. This great teacher had yet so much to teach me and he was going to hit me while I was down. Although happy and chuffed with my new chapter as mum, fatigue and overwhelm created the perfect breeding ground for negative thoughts. And it was my brain that became death’s playground.

Little did I know, compulsive thoughts about death (dying or losing someone you love to death) are pretty common after birth. Especially in the case of parents suffering with post-partum anxiety. A quick Google search will show you how rampant this issue is, and always more of a presence among mothers after birth.

The foreign dialogue between me, myself and death was depressing me, to say the least. I would try and explain those feelings to my husband and my best friend. I spoke to dozens of women, many I worked with personally, all going through the same thing. One week I slept a mere number of hours as I wrestled the panic of my impending death in my mind.

What would happen to my kids if I died? What would I do if my children died? How could I go on? Just 3 of 100’s of questions I asked myself daily.

A characteristically positive & strong person, I reached out to the most inner parts of my soul for strength. I went searching for my happy place. I resumed lots of physical activity, ate lots of nutrient dense foods, spent lots of time in the sun, started a business I loved, kept busy with my children, travelled…and it disappeared.

The obsessive worry, the anxiety, the fears. They dissapeared. Almost overnight, at the 6 month mark. After BOTH my babies. After two eerily similar bouts of crippling anxiety and insomnia and two very successful turn arounds using holistic healing – I came out of the fog. I felt human again.

When my second child turned 1, I flailed my middle finger in the air, glass of champagne in the other hand. We were living in Mexico at the time, I felt so complete, so whole, so unphased about my expiration date. So excited that I even managed to find a deep peace with death. I was cool, we were cool.

And then just like that, I was brought back down to earth with a hammer. A few nights ago I was in a car accident. And although minor, it shook me to the core, a tsunami of intense emotion bubbling to the surface. The what ifs paralyzing me in my bed. Already feeling fragile, my beloved pet fell very ill. Our connection was so strong, she called me to her open cage with one soft, long chirp. I knew something was wrong and I made a mad dash to meet her eyes, to let her know I heard her and I was there. She looked at me, struggling, taking her last breathe and taking a part of me with her.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurting. Because I am. But there is an unprecedented clarity, too. I am stronger from each lesson this life has taught me, from each reality check death has brought me. I can tell that acknowledging the truths of my mortality makes me a better human, one who is present and engaged, appreciating each moment in life as one to be treasured. And for that I am grateful. I am not running from the sadness, not running from my self-reflection. I want to instill equal parts values of fearlessness, and a respect for the delicate inner workings of how fear fuels us, into the hearts of my children.

I only wish I could have showed my grandmother how to make light of her fears, too.

Have you experienced something similar? Are you still struggling with it? Have you made friends with Death?

Angela Gallo
Melbourne Doula, Birth Photographer and Mother

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