The events of the day held a myriad of emotions for me. A sick little b and a soaked cell phone greeted me when I woke, sending me a clear message to slow things down a bit. I listened. I held little b all morning long, in the sling he hasn't requested in months. We read books, we played, we nursed. We went to pick up Big B from school, full of gratitude for these moments in our day. The three of us continued the slow pace, enjoying simply coexisting the afternoon away. I was grateful to be a mother, and grateful to be with my children.
And then the mail came. I never thought I'd see this return address in my mailbox:...this is a home on The Farm, the home of Ina May Gaskin, the home of one of the true heroes of my life. The package contained a quilt top with eighteen squares from her Safe Motherhood Quilt Project. When I took the neatly folded 15'x3' panel from the envelope, this was the square on top. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Jennifer Wollheim was a midwife in Gainesville, Florida. When she died giving birth to baby Lila, the midwifery community rallied, helping her husband Neal with their new baby in whatever way they could. This included donations of pumped breastmilk for Lila. My dear friend was able to give to Lila in this way, finding the strength within her own tragedy to provide much-needed help for a suffering family.
These are just a few other squares on the quilt panel I received, each commemorating a mother who has died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in the U.S. since 1982.Now I will select a backing and finish and bind the quilt, and return it to The Farm to join several others already completed. Papa and I laid out the panel in the driveway, and within moments our neighbors walked over, curious. I could watch Ina May's intention at work as a bit of visual realization crept onto the faces of our friends. I'm thankful that things were slowed this morning, and proud that we all felt happy just to be in each other's presence. I was reminded today of the importance of each moment, in a very real way.