Our birth and our death are two of the most profound experiences unique to us as individuals.
At the time of our birth, there is the expert guidance and support of the midwife (and others when necessary). We are all familiar with the Midwife at birth, but less so with the Soul Midwife who provides companionship, practical, emotional and spiritual support to those with a life-limiting illness and their families too.
Likening the role of the soul midwife to the birth midwife is an easy way to explain what we do.
A birth midwife has an in-depth knowledge of the development of the baby, of how to nurture the expectant mother and family during the pregnancy, the process of labour and delivery, and the care of mother and baby afterwards.
In the same way, a soul midwife has an in-depth knowledge of the dying process, has skills to help the dying prepare for their death whilst continuing to live as well as possible – (achieving the things you want to do and continuing to contribute to the lives of others – still realising your potential) and supporting their families too. If requested to do so we lovingly help care for the body after death, and continue to support the family in bereavement.
How we do this
As individuals with different experience and skills, each soul midwife brings their own unique qualities to the care and support they offer.
As a retired palliative care nurse specialist with 30 years experience of supporting individuals and their families and friends through their end of life experience, I bring my passion for ensuring individuals are treated with dignity and compassion. I provide a service that is led by their needs and wishes. And the greatest gift I bring is the ability to simply be there… to really listen.
On a practical level an example of the things I help with are formulating death plans (just as an expectant mother makes a birth plan) and this helps the person make choices about such things as where they would choose to die, who they would like with them, any rituals they want performed, if they would like music playing, the TV on or silence and so much more. It may also include funeral plans and wishes.
Making memory boxes or writing letter gifts is important for some, and I happily help with this.
Therapeutically I use gentle techniques, in agreement with the individual, such as gentle soothing touch and Reiki both of which are calming, comforting and soothing and are beautiful ways of us connecting.
Music, crystals and scents in the form of oils, incense or candles are other ways in which I can help create a feeling of being held and supported.
Please get in touch
It is a very real privilege to be of help and service to those with a life limiting illness and their families, supporting in any way I can. It is also important to have a soul midwife you feel a connection with and so if this is a service you are interested in or is something you want to talk about, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Individuals supported by Soul midwives will continue to be supported by their health care workers – their GP, District Nurses, Palliative Care Teams and anyone else involved.
Meet the soul midwife
Soul midwives help take the taboo out of talking about death and dying, to make it a natural part of life. We readily talk to anyone, with or without a life-limiting illness on a 1:1 basis or in groups.
And so on the first Tuesday of each month I am at The Inspired Hub, 3 Ashley Road, Hampton TW12 2JA from 10-11.30am where you are free to drop-in to chat and find out more about what we do, to share your thoughts and experiences, questions or concerns. You can stay as long or as little as you like..
***During Covid-19 restrictions please contact me if you are interested in joining Meet the Soul Midwife on-line***
The 12 Principles of Soul Midwifery
To work as non-medical holistic companions who guide and support a dying person in order to facilitate a gentle and tranquil death
To support and recognise the individual needs of the dying person and ensure they feel loved and supported
To create and hold a sacred and healing space for the dying person (whether in a hospital, a hospice or at home)
To respect and honour a dying person’s religious/spiritual or atheist/agnostic beliefs and practices
To work as non-denominational, multi-faith practitioners who honour the dying person’s beliefs about life, death or the afterlife
To ‘serve’ our friend, not aim to ‘fix’ or ‘rescue’
To give healing, using sound, touch, colour, scented oils or other gentle techniques to alleviate pain and anxiety
To keep a loving vigil
To work holistically with the spirit and soul of our friends at all levels and stages of transition
To support families and their loved ones, giving loving care with a human touch
To provide comfort, continuous support and reassurance in helping a dying person to experience the death he or she wants
To listen, provide gentle therapeutic techniques, and ensure compassionate care at all times.
All soul midwives are trained by the School Of Soul Midwives, founded and run by Felicity Warner and her team, and to whom I am most grateful for helping me make connections I otherwise would not have made.