When I was pregnant with my second daughter my husband came home with a chunk of unakite for me which he purchased from a funny little local stamps and rocks shop near his work. After consulting the little old men who ran the place, he discovered that unakite is known as the midwife's stone because of its association with the reproductive system and healthy pregnancies. It's thought to aid in a smooth labor and help mom to connect with her child in utero. We both carried the stones around with us to ensure a smooth pregnancy and delivery and thank goodness, I was lucky enough to enjoy both.
My experiences with birth were very different and complex in their own ways and impacted me deeply as a person. It's complicated work to grow life and bring it forth into the world with Air (Breath) and Water (Womb/birthing pools). I found it profoundly calm and empowering the second time around when I was able to breathe through it. I practiced a breathing technique a day or two before my water broke and it got me through 16 hours of natural labor (a total blessing after 48 hours with my first baby that included lots and lots of pitocin and zero of the chill factor I had hoped for.) I breathed in slowly for four counts and out super slowly for six counts - over and over and over. I remember envisioning every contraction like a big wave. You use breathe as your buoy to stay afloat so you can go all the way to the height of it and allow it to do the work of labor. You use breathe to stay on the surface of the pain so you don't drown. And that becomes a superpower you get to keep.
I'm incredibly lucky to have had a smooth pregnancy and delivery - so many women experience, well... not that. And these mothers, almost mothers and angel mothers are heavily in my thoughts when I think about labor and about parenting in general. I've designed a jewelry serieswith unakite and the powerful symbols of Air (breathe) and Water to honor Mothers in all stages of life and even loss. Through the waves and with intentional breath, we open ourselves to the new.