Two years ago whilst I was driving in a state of anxiety and nervousness to have root canal treatment performed at the dentist, a haunting melody and some words floated into my consciousness. I hummed them to myself in the car, but was worried I would forget them amidst the drama of a traumatic dental experience. So I pulled over into a layby and scrawled the words down on the back of an envelope. These hastily improvised words were the start of my very first song with both the words and melody completely written by just me – ‘Birth Song’. I had written lyrics to songs before but this was the first time I had composed a melody as well.
The backstory to this unlikely method of composing a song was that my very dear friend Bella had asked me to be with her for the home birth of her second child. I felt deeply honoured to be asked. My own three children had all been born at home with no medical pain relief and I had found it hard, but exhilarating. I knew I could be with Bella and hold her hand, gently encouraging her and watching her plumb her inner depths and come up triumphant and victorious, forever changed by birth as a rite of passage. I wanted to support her partner Tim too and enable the two of them to birth their baby together. I just knew we would be a fabulous team.
The birth was beautiful and baby Iska was born by candlelight at home into Tim’s hands whilst her big brother sang songs upstairs with his grandparents. It was perfect in every way.
Months later, I sat down and did some hard work on the hastily captured lyrics. I teased them into shape, making them paint a picture of the whole journey of birth from early contractions, through to the crowning of the baby, the giddiness of first seeing the baby and then pushing a placenta out. The song culminates with the first breastfeed and experience of holding a newborn skin-to-skin. Miraculously I remembered the tune, although I did add a harmony and drumbeat. I hope that you like it and that it inspires and gives courage to women everywhere to birth their babies whilst feeling held by our ancestral grandmothers.