B is for Birth
Before watching a ewe give birth, you may think it's just a dumb animal that automatically follows the bum of any other.
But stay through her labour and you will see her fortitude
As she pushes with every muscle, curling her top lip up with the strain of new life;
As she heaves her heavy body up to standing position to work with the midwife of gravity;
As she repositions herself again and again trying to get comfortable;
As she sinks back to her knees in exhaustion, panting; full, woollen body rocking back and forth.
As you watch, feel your own helplessness.
Do not jump in to alleviate her pain: this pain leads to life.
Trust her: her body knows what to do.
She is the one that will get this lamb out: she is more than capable than you gave her credit for.
Don’t take control: just watch and pray.
Stand back: this is her moment.
It is her turn for admiration.
But if she does get stuck -
If twins are tangled, or feet jammed, listen to your own, human body: the midwife inside you will know what to do.
You will know when to pull, how tightly to hold, and how gently but forcefully you will need to pull those two front legs back against the suction force of the birth canal.
You will know if you need go further in, whole arm reaching into the womb that feels hot and full of the waters that have kept this lamb alive
Your hand will tell you what's inside, will untangle, heave and make right.
Either way, when that slimy bundle drops out, and little by little limbs shake into life,
Watch the exertion disappear as motherly duties begin immediately.
Within minutes, the woolly wee bairn will be standing up, eyes open, reaching up for the first meal.
You are right to be amazed.
The on switch has been pulled.
Life has begun.