The Birth Beat : stories, articles and instruction for the modern midwife
I’m honored to have been asked by my cousin Augustine Colebrook to write a blog post. This is my first blog post ever, and I can feel excitement and nervousness in me belly. My name is Moriah Melin and I’m a home birth midwife. Saying it like that sounds like I’m an AA member...and I suppose being a midwife has often felt like something I can’t stop doing...even if I wanted to... Oh the calling.
There are many topics I could write about, and you will likely hear from me again, but what I want to focus on today is the concept of co-regulation and how it relates to my experience of supporting Augustine with her recent health crash and re-discovery of self.
I too went through a major health crash around four years ago that stripped me of everything and knocked me in bed. Delivering my second baby in a house with high levels of toxic black mold, while maintaining a very busy home birth practice in central California were the final straws on top of my mounting list of autoimmune disorders. When my hair fell out, my nails fell off and my brain became mushy swiss cheese, the floor dropped out from under me and I could no longer deny my symptoms. The message was clear, either get well or get ready to leave this planet. I chose to take the deep and scary inner dive, and within weeks our family had relocated to the mountains of Colorado.
Over the next two years I cracked the code of my health. My nails and hair grew back, and my brain healed. Having been there myself I have full faith without a shadow of a doubt that our friend Augustine will also find her way back to health, and that each and every one of us struggling physically can do so...but we can’t do it alone. This is what Augustine and I have been exploring over the last several weeks.
While she’s used to being extremely capable and self-sufficient, for some reason she’s having to learn how to receive support. And among many of you out there showering her with love in various ways, I too have gotten to be close with her and support her during this time.
What blew me away the other day was realizing how the timing of her needing support perfectly overlaid with my current need for support also. Little by little over the last couple of years I’ve been dipping my toes back into my professional life. And as fate would have it, the week Augustine went down, my work exploded or up-leveled. I found myself busier than I have been in years and a bit scared and overwhelmed. I could feel the old familiar buzz in my nervous system. While my to-do list stacked and I felt myself sinking deeper under water, there was Augustine navigating her way toward a safe resting place and touching in with me at every step. Moment by moment I invited her to lean deeper into me so that she could have the felt sense experience of being held. Responding to her texts and taking time for her calls became my top priority.
I was intentionally holding a regulated energetic field within myself for her to co-regulate into. And at some point I realized that the act of slowing down to support her was an opportunity for me to also settle into the slower rhythm she was finding, to support the speeding up that was happening in my life. Kind of hard to put into words...
I’m currently on the board of directors for the BEBA family clinic (www.beba.org), and we’re close to publishing a retrospective study of the lifetime work of Ray Castellino. I was given the task of writing the glossary of terms, and wrote the following about co-regulation. Co-regulation is related to harmonic resonance and the identification of sweet spot in relationship. One example of a co-regulated field is that achieved while breastfeeding if mama is well supported and settled. Co-regulation supports the deepening of secure attachment. Co-regulation within adult relationships embodies all eight Castellino principles. Within the safe container of these principles sweet spot can be established, and harmonic resonance will blossom as a result. While developmentally co-regulation begins with adults holding a regulated space within themselves for their babies and children to settle into, the connection between parent and child also then supports the parent. Co-regulation benefits everyone involved, it is not a one-way street.
And so I say thank you Augustine. Thank you for needing support so that I too could remember what it feels like to give and receive in the web of life...
To learn more about co-regulation, the eight Castellino principles, and so much more, check out the class myself and midwife Mary Jackson are teaching through the Midwifery Wisdom Collective called Origins of Being https://midwifery-wisdom-collective.teachable.com/p/core-midwifery-origins-of-being
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